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New Massey degree targets dietary health

September 5, 2011

New Massey degree targets dietary health

Growing concern at the rise in preventable illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, is key to Massey University introducing a new Masters in Dietetics aimed at boosting the number of clinically trained experts able to advise on nutrition and health in the community.

Course coordinator and senior lecturer Dr Rozanne Kruger hopes to see strong interest from Māori and Pasifika applicants in the first intake for the two-year programme available at the Albany campus from 2012.

“One of the driving forces for an Auckland-based dietetics programme is the critical need to build capability in the Māori and Pasifika dietetic workforce, especially in Northland and Auckland,” says Dr Kruger, based at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health.

She says non-Pakeha can be more comfortable accepting dietary and nutrition advice from people from their own communities who understand and appreciate specific cultural aspects of heath and diet.

The study of dietetics offers clinical training in the therapeutic role of diet and nutrition in preventing, treating, managing and recovering from disease, both in traditional hospital settings as well as in a wide variety of public health and private organisations, including for elite sports teams.

The masters also provides students with the opportunity to do their own research, and Dr Kruger says she hopes to see publishable work that will expand evidence-based nutrition knowledge relevant to New Zealand health issues. Students will also work in close partnership with district health boards, says Dr Kruger.

Job opportunities for dietitians include consultancy for food companies, food service management and health agencies such as the Ministry of Health, research and education, nutritional and health media, as well as in hospitals. The programme will be the first in New Zealand approved to provide graduating dietitians with a masterate level degree that will meet the registration competency requirements of the New Zealand Dietitians Board.

“This programme will help our graduates develop the attributes, qualities and skills considered essential for gaining employment as a New Zealand health professional,” she says. “They will be eligible to apply for registration to practice as a dietitian in New Zealand, with mutual recognition in Australia, and the ability to apply for registration in the United Kingdom.”

Entry into the new programme will be restricted to graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition or equivalent. Two scholarships of $6000 for Māori and Pasifika applicants will be available for the first intake Applications close in mid-October. More information can be found on the Massey website: www.massey.ac.nz.

ENDS

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