Scientists in basic research and epidemiology deliver messages to policy makers. Effective population based strategies then require people trained and competent in the discipline of Public Health Nutrition (PHN). Since 1997, a European Master's Programme in PHN has been undergoing planning and implementation with the aid of funding from the European Commission (DGV). PHN is used as a broad term covering Nutrition and Physical Activity as well as Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
The partners in this project are academic departments from 17 countries. The students will undertake core modules and electives for a year and a half, followed by a research project for six months. In order to set up formalised procedures for the evaluation of the quality assurance of individual modules from across Europe, a quality assurance system has been set up.
The academic year 1999–2000 will allow an opportunity for Universities and Institutes to start new modules, to develop other modules, assess the movement of students between modules, tackle funding issues and allow further marketing of the programme. Future activities include strengthening of the European Network for Public Health Nutrition (ENPHN), the establishment of a consortium with universities, the co-ordination of programme activities with other European Master's Programmes in Public Health, and the incorporation of new Member States from Eastern Europe.
We can look forward to a new brand of professionals, who are truly European in their training, but who also have an integrated view of nutrition and physical activity, health promotion and disease prevention and who are prepared for policy making, action planning, implementation and evaluation.