Stephen Devries, MD: Training Physicians About Nutrition
JAMA. Published online April 11, 2018. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1070
Heading an outpatient cardiology clinic early in his career, Stephen Devries, MD, realized that his training did not equip him to adequately respond to his patients’ questions about healthful eating. The preventive cardiologist faced the same dilemma as a weekly heart-health columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Often, he was stumped by the questions readers sent in about nutrition.
As his career progressed, he knew his cardiac patients would be better served if life-saving high-tech interventions were coupled with evidence-based dietary advice. However, despite having gotten otherwise top-notch medical training, Devries felt he hadn’t had the nutrition education he needed to provide his patients with solid advice about food. So he decided to educate himself, reading books and studies on nutrition, attending nutrition conferences, and completing a fellowship in integrative medicine that included training in nutrition.
“I was amazed to see that there was a wealth of information that just never was part of my training,” Devries said.
He knew the dearth of nutrition training in medical schools was a problem that went far beyond his experience. Five years ago, he left his university-based cardiology practice in Chicago to launch the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology in Deerfield, Illinois, a nonprofit that aims to improve nutrition and lifestyle education for health care professionals./.../