Faculty from across UGA and other universities throughout the Southeast this week made initial steps toward a the goal of developing graduate interdisciplinary instruction in obesity and weight management. Over 60 people attended the UGA state-of-the-art conference to define the knowledge and skills a multidisciplinary workforce needs to address the nationwide obesity epidemic, and identify best practices in graduate education in obesity.
Keynote speaker Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, who leads the Illinois Trans-disciplinary Obesity Prevention Program at U of Illinois, challenged the group to think not just about how to make such a program multi-displinary, or even inter-disciplinary, but to cross boundaries by making it trans-disciplinary. Obesity, she noted, is multi-factorial, and thus requires putting knowledge into practice “from cell to community” and “innovation to intervention.”
In closing the conference, Ron Cervero, UGA associate vice president for instruction, acknowledged that solutions to real-world problems do not fit neatly into university structures, and that there can be so many barriers “it can feel like crossing a crowded intersection with your eyes closed.” Yet, he said, the mission of land-grant university — research, instruction and outreach — is what a trans-disciplinary obesity program is all about.
Presentations from the conference will be posted here.