Education Research

We conduct research into the preparation of the current and future nutrition and dietetics workforce.  We have a particular focus on the development and assessment of professionalism, new delivery methods of clinical education, and competency-based assessment systems. Our research is leading the evidence base that is changing and strengthening education practice and outcomes. We also collaborate with other health professions including the Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Education (MCSHE) and our international dietetics partners to produce quality research outcomes with impact.

Goals

Our research is changing the way nutrition and dietitian professionals are prepared to practice, to deal with the complex nutrition problems our communities face.   Some of our current nutrition challenges include the double burden of malnutrition, the safety and security of our food supply in the face of climate change, and our focus on collaborative person-centred care.

Impact and outcomes

Since 2015, our team has led the review of the national competency standards for dietitians in Australia, ensuring dietitians are prepared for future workforce challenges.  Our work in this area has resulted in a change to accreditation systems for the profession.

A major project we’ve recently completed is a systematic review of clinical educators’ skills and qualities in allied health.  In a world-first, we’ve identified and synthesised the skills and qualities needed for effective clinical education and its impact on students.

Another outcome of our research is challenging our profession to embrace programmatic assessment of competence in dietetics.   Rather than focusing on individual assessment tasks, assessors should see the judgement of competence as a whole.  This is a paradigm shift to truly ensure the efficacy of the dietetics workforce into the future.

This research theme is led by Associate Professor Claire Palermo who has an established national profile in dietetics education research. Associate Professor Palermo has been recognised through a national teaching citation (2016), a teaching excellence award (2017), and a national office for learning and teaching fellowship (2014). She is currently an academic member of the Australian Dietetics Council and an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) of the Dietitians Association of Australia with over 20 years’ experience as a dietitian.

Current research projects