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Interdisciplinary Specialist Certification in Obesity and Weight Management History and Timeline

February 2013

Representatives of the Weight Management (WM) and Diabetes Care and Education (DCE) Dietetics Practice Groups (DPGs) submitted a petition for the development of a new obesity and weight management specialist certification for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to the Academy’s Council on Future Practice (CFP), the organization unit charged with the evaluation of new specialist certification petitions.

June 2013

CDR received the request from the CFP to implement this new specialist certification. CDR agreed to move forward with this specialist certification at its July 2013 meeting.

August/September 2013

CDR received a request from representatives of the WM DPG and The Obesity Society (TOS) to consider offering this new specialist certification as an interdisciplinary certification. Letters of support for this request were received from the Executive Committees of both the WM and DCE DPGs. CDR met with representatives of TOS, and the WM and DCE DPGs during FNCE 2013.

In response to this request, CDR appointed a Task Force, including representatives from the Academy Board of Directors, Council on Future Practice, Weight Management and Diabetes Care and Education DPGs to consider all facets of this recommendation. CDR established a mailbox for receipt of comments from Academy members regarding this interdisciplinary certification proposal. Comments received were split evenly between those supportive of this interdisciplinary specialist certification and those who were not. After careful consideration of this input, the Task Force and CDR concurred on the decision to move forward with development of an interdisciplinary Board Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management certification program. The credential designation for this certification is Board Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM).

As the first step in the development process, The Task Force reviewed the licensure/certification qualifications of several allied health professions and recommended that the following allied health professions be invited to participate in the practice audit process: nurse practitioners, physician assistants, licensed clinical psychologists, clinical exercise physiologists, and licensed clinical social workers.

August 2014

CDR extended invitations to the professional organizations for the allied health professions listed above to participate in the practice audit/analysis process.

January 2015

The Task Force met for the first time to begin drafting the practice analysis survey instrument. During this meeting a recommendation was made to expand the Task Force to include additional representatives from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), its Health Fitness Specialist, and Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), its Licensed Professional Counselor, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. This recommendation was made based on Task Force member input regarding practitioners involved in obesity and weight management treatment.

February 2015

CDR concurred with the aforementioned recommendation.

Spring 2015

The practice audit survey instrument will be distributed to Academy leadership for review and input.

Summer 2015

Following update based on this input, the survey will be distributed to a representative sample of obesity and weight management practitioners in each of the identified disciplines. The results of the audit will determine the professions to be included as eligible for the certification.

Fall 2016

The first examination administration is targeted for fall 2016.


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