Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
January 8, 1999

ISU to help create dietetics program for Pakistan

by Kevin Brown

Iowa State is helping a Pakistan university address the need for dietetic training in that country's medical field. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences has entered into a cooperative agreement with Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan, that will lead to a graduate program in dietetics at Punjab University.

Carol Meeks, dean of the college, and Tahira Hira, professor in human development and family studies, recently set up the cooperative agreement.

As part of the agreement, Mary Jane Oakland, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, will work with students and faculty at Punjab University for six weeks next fall.

Oakland said preliminary curriculum discussions began earlier this year. Currently, there is no medical-based dietary training in Pakistan, where hospitalized people traditionally are fed by their families. The Pakistani medical profession has noted a need for controlled nutritional programs in hospitals. This will be the first effort in that direction.

"It's exciting to help devise a program in which you have a blank slate to build from," Oakland said. "We are responding to their needs -- this is the training that they have identified."

She said the curriculum focuses on introducing the program as an integrated part of Pakistan's health care system, tailoring it to make the program culturally appropriate, and stressing the contributions that nutrition plays in modern medicine.

The first 10 students for the three-month course will be accepted this month, Oakland said.

Matina Xia, vice principal of the College of Home Economics in Lahore, visited ISU for six weeks earlier this year.

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