Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
My organization is a nonprofit professional business league for holistically trained nutrition professionals, the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (www.nanp.org). We carefully monitor the quality of the education our student and professional members obtain by requiring strict adherence to our educational standards. We offer Board Certification in Holistic Nutrition, and our process closely mirrors that used by similar nutrition and dietetic associations, including the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND). While the AND requires a formal education in nutrition, the passing of their Board Exam, and the completion of the registration process, our organization follows a similar process. In order for a member to become, "Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition" he/she must: - meet our professional member requirements, which includes graduation from an approved nutrition education program, a license in an allied health profession, or graduation from an accredited college/university in a nutrition-related field of study; - pass our Board Exam; - successfully complete our credentialing process, which includes consulting the National Practitioner Data Bank for reports of misconduct, malpractice, etc. Additionally, our members' Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics (which they must agree to and sign prior to joining our association) can be found at http://nanp.org/code-of-ethics. For several years now, the AND has deliberately targeted the nutrition industry (they have identified the NANP as representing a direct threat in the marketplace) in an attempt to own titles related to the word, "nutrition." This is evidenced in the change of the association's name from the American Dietetic Association to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics a few years ago, as well as encouraging their members to now refer to themselves as, "dietitian nutritionists." Similar to the NANP, the AND is a membership association. They offer a private credential of "Registered Dietitian," for which the association is attempting to obtain broad scale and governmental recognition as the ONLY credible credential for the provision of nutrition services to the American public. At the state level, this association has worked diligently to establish licensing bills that not only preclude other qualified professionals from the practice of nutrition, but that also make the practice criminal, with the inclusion of heavy fines and even jail time. While licensure is not in itself a bad idea, the parameters should not be focused on the eligibility of only one credential. There are many valid and highly effective methods of nutritional intervention. The thought that only one approach - which is a one-size-fits-all perspective -- is the singular method nutrition professionals should be allowed to utilize is not only naïve, it is dangerous and misleading to the public. The health of the American population is worse than it has ever been. Now is not the time to limit access to nutrition professionals to just one segment of this profession. Now is the time to open access to all qualified nutrition professionals, so that our nation's health issues can be addressed using a multifaceted approach.