Background of the Professional Development Portfolio Project

What Prompted the Creation of the PDP?

  • Dietetics professionals at the Academy and CDR-sponsored Futures Conference also addressed competency issues (1). In 1994, the Futures Conference was held to create a vision for the future of dietetics education, practice, and credentialing. This group identified professional accountability for continuing competence as a top priority. They recommended periodic reassessment of competence.
  • Accrediting agencies are concerned about competency. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, for example, has standards that require the competence of all hospital staff members be assessed and maintained. And documentation of certification through continuing education is not enough (2).
  • The public is concerned about competency. In 1995, the Pew Health Professions Commission sent a strong message to state legislators demanding that changes in health care regulation be made and that the professions be more accountable to the publics they serve. They criticized that, continuing education requirements alone do not guarantee continuing competence (3). In a follow-up to the 1995 report, the Pew Health Professions Commission commended professional organizations for proactively addressing competency issues and recommended, as a measure to strengthen continuing education, a needs assessment and evaluation of learning outcomes (4).
  • Another message has come from Mark Frankel, an ethicist and Director with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Frankel has said, "No longer does any profession enjoy the luxury of uncritical admiration or implicit trust from what is now an increasingly restive public(5)." He captures in this statement the public's increasing demand for proof of competency.
  • The health professions are concerned about competency. In 1997, 18 of the major health professions, including dietetics, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and others, convened a Continuing Competency Summit. The purpose of this summit was to critically analyze issues related to continued competence of health professionals. The basic tenet was that the professions must change the way they address the continuing competence of professionals.

Finally, CDR's mission was a driving force in developing a new system. CDR's mission is to establish and enforce certification and recertification standards in order to protect the nutritional health and well-being of the public.

Background Reading
  1. Challenging the Future of Dietetic Education and Credentialing. Chicago IL: The American Dietetic Association and the Commission on Dietetic Registration; 1994.
  2. Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals: The Official Handbook. Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations; 1997: HR1-30.
  3. Reforming Health Care Workforce Regulation: Policy Considerations for the 21st Century. San Francisco, CA: Pew Health Professions Commission; 1995.
  4. Strengthening Consumer Protection: Priorities for Health Care Workforce Regulation. San Francisco, CA: Pew Health Professions Commission; 1998.
  5. Frankel MS. Taking ethics seriously. Building a professional community. Journal of Dental Hygiene 1992;66(9):386-392.