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Keywords:

  • Caribbean dietetics;
  • dietetics diversity;
  • dietetics transformation

Abstract

Aim:  Because of its small size, the case study of the Caribbean region could be instructive in how a diversified profession would strengthen professional growth. This paper aims to describe the historical trends and efforts at restructuring the profession of nutrition and dietetics in the Caribbean to illustrate the processes followed and the progression of training.

Methods:  Data were collected from members of the Caribbean Association of Nutritionists and Dietitians by two sets of emailed questionnaires. This was followed by a face-to-face workshop consultation one year later, and with subsequent small group discussions to achieve consensus.

Results:  Initial responses revealed 17 pathways to qualification depending on country where trained and the main focus of the curricula. Responses to the second questionnaire detailed post-didactic training expressed as internship, practicum, supervised practice and/or research. These responses were rationalised in subsequent discussions and consensus reached on relevant professional titles and qualifications.

Conclusion:  Professional advancement in the future will come from promoting greater diversity of the nutrition and dietetics profession. Graduates with diverse backgrounds are better able in a limited job market, to create niches for themselves in various sectors in addition to health and government. Of necessity is to create a clear image of our unique identity and to minimise confusion with varied professional titles and qualifications. Developing generic training programmes allowed for more effective positioning of our capabilities to potential users of our services and to facilitate free movement of professionals throughout the region.