Consensus development on the essential competencies for Iranian public health nutritionists
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© 2014 The Authors. Objective To assess key experts' opinion regarding essential competencies required for effective public health nutrition practice within the health-care system of Iran. Design Qualitative study using the modified Delphi technique through an email-delivered questionnaire. Setting Iran. Subjects Fifty-five experts were contacted through email. The inclusion criterion for the study panel was being in a relevant senior-level position in nutrition science or public health nutrition in Iran. Results In the first round, forty-two out of fifty-five experts responded to the questionnaire (response rate=76 %). A sixty-five-item questionnaire was designed with nine competency areas, including 'nutrition science', 'planning and implementing nutritional interventions', 'health and nutrition services', 'advocacy and communication', 'assessment and analysis', 'evaluation', 'cultural, social and political aspects', 'using technology' and 'leadership and management'. All experts who had participated in the first round completed a modified version of the questionnaire with seventy-seven items in the second round. The experts scored 'nutrition science' as the most essential competency area, while more applied areas such as 'management and leadership' were less emphasized. In both rounds, the mean difference between the opinions of the necessity of each area was 5·6 %. Conclusions The Iranian experts had general agreement on most of the core competency areas of public health nutritionists. The results indicated the need for capacity building and revisions to educational curricula for public health nutritionist programmes, with more emphasis on skill-based competency development.