Developmental Neuroscience and Stunting Conference
US Science Envoy Program
March 16-18, 2016
Luang Prabang, Laos

Nutrition Education Summary & Goals

Group Members (Organization, Country Representation)

  • Sally Sakulku, IUNFPA, Lao PDR
  • Nguyen Duc Hinh, Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam
  • Khamseng Philavong, Center of Nutrition, Ministry of Health, Lao PDR
  • Pham Van Phu, Dept Nutrition & Food Safety, Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam
  • Khin Thant Zin, Consultant Pediatrician, Myanmar
  • May Khin Than, National Nutrition Center, Myanmar
  • Lwin Mar Hlaing, National Nutrition Center, Myanmar
  • Diane Stadler, Oregon Health & Science University, Lao-American Nutrition Institute
  • Michael Toole, Deputy Director, Burnet Institute, Australia


During two breakout sessions representatives from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV) discussed nutrition education training programs currently available and gaps in these programs that need to be addressed to build capacity within each country and to reduce malnutrition and stunting and optimize growth and brain and cognitive development.

Interest and consensus centered on a need to develop a “CLMV International Nutrition Diploma Program.” The group envisioned a comprehensive, innovative didactic curriculum paired with a practical nutritional health related skills development program.

The ideal program would be 3 to 6 months in duration, have a centralized, modular didactic nutrition curriculum, followed by country-specific clinical/community based nutrition internships, and be supported by optional booster sessions and advanced training opportunities.  The foundational didactic curriculum would be offered in English, 3 times per year, and would accommodate 15 to 30 students in each session.  Each cohort would be comprised of 3 to 5 students from Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, and Vietnam.   Ideally, the first course would be offered 1 year from now, in March 2017, at Hanoi Medical University.

Key program characteristics included: delivery by experienced content experts, broad use of expert panels, on-line and in-class modular components, weekend-evening courses and small group discussion sessions possibly modeled after “Executive MBA” programs, broad-reaching recruitment of students, and scholarship and funding opportunities.

The ideal candidate for this International Nutrition Diploma Program would understand and speak English at an advanced level and have at least 1-2 years of health-related experience at a community or hospital-based level.

To move forward with the development of this educational program the following action items were identified:  

  1. Decide on and develop the didactic curriculum for the “CLMV International Nutrition Diploma Program”:
    1. Conduct Teaching Needs Assessment
    2. Identify target groups to develop capacity for community programs/interventions:
      1. Basic Health Staff include: Midwives; Nurses; Physicians; Pharmacists; Nutritionists (BS-level)
      2. Government Health Staff include: Volunteer Nutrition Workers; Public Health Nurses; Center for Information & Health Staff (CIH)
      3. Village Level staff include: Skilled Birth Attendants; Village Health Committee; Village Health Workers/Assistants
    3. Identify and prioritize curriculum content:
      1. Foundations of Nutrition
      2. Nutritional needs throughout the life cycle but with focus on:
        1. Focus on 1st 1000 days
        2. Infant and Young Child Feeding
        3. Brain and Cognitive Development
        4. Determinants of Malnutrition (WASH)
        5. Diarrhea, Infectious Disease and appropriate use of Antibiotics
      3. Clinical Assessment:
        1. Nutrient-related Deficiency Syndromes/Nutrition Focused Physical Exam
          1. Macronutrient
          2. Micronutrient
        2. Growth/Anthropometric Assessment (Weight, Height/Length, MUAC, HC)
          1. Growth Curves
          2. Stunting, Wasting
        3. Biochemical Assessment:
          1. Anemias: Hemoglobin (Point of Care)
          2. Diabetes: Urinalysis (glucose and protein—dipstick method)
        4. Dietary Assessment:
          1. Content/Adequacy
          2. Quality/Diversity
          3. Food Security Assessment
          4. Fortification/supplementation
        5. Nutritional recommendations to prevent and treat chronic diseases
          1. Double burden of malnutrition
          2. Obesity
          3. Hypertension
          4. Diabetes
          5. Cardiovascular Disease
        6. Communication and Counseling Skills
        7. Behavior Modification and Motivational Interviewing Skills
  1.  Develop Community/Clinical Skills Development Program emphasizing skills needed to be successful:
    1. Nutrition Assessment
    2. Point of Care Intervention
    3. Counseling Skills
    4. Group Education
    5. Longitudinal monitoring and record keeping
    6. Food Safety
    7. Sustainable food resources (home gardens, small livestock—chickens)
    8. Promotion of locally available nutrient rich foods/dietary diversity


  1.  Evaluation/Assessment of Readiness to Practice
    1. Certification of Competency of Health Workers and Health/Nutrition Volunteers



  1. Conduct Teaching Needs Assessment
  2. Develop Curriculum
  3. Submit Curriculum to the Department on Training Certification
  4. Identify and Train Curriculum Instructors (International/Central Level)
  5. Identify and Train Skill Development Trainers (Country-specific Community Level)
  6. Create Website with Nutrition Education Modules