NUI Galway Launches New Obesity Masters Programme

Tuesday, 19 May, 2020: NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences has launched Ireland’s first Masters in Obesity programme. Given the growing prevalence and resulting impact on health care resources and on affected individuals, there is an urgent need to develop specialist expertise across a broad range of obesity-related disciplines. Obesity is a major health problem, both for patients and for society, and the programme will combine theory and clinical practice and is suitable for those interested in policy-making or in the provision of healthcare.

NUI Galway developed the new Masters in Obesity to inform better, evidence-based, compassionate and dignified care to patients affected by obesity and related disorders, and to develop better population-based strategies and policies to mitigate the obesity epidemic.

Students will develop in-depth knowledge of various therapeutic strategies available to patients and will understand the factors underlying variations in the development of complications from obesity. The course will explore the potential benefits and harms of various population level strategies that can be formulated to address the obesity crisis, and the societal, political and legislative problems faced in implementing these.

Speaking about the programme Professor Francis Finucane, a consultant endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals and Programme Director, said:  “NUI Galway is uniquely well placed to deliver this programme, which forms part of an integrated suite of leading postgraduate programmes in Preventive Medicine and Cardiovascular Health, including Preventive Cardiology and Diabetes. It will be delivered by clinical academic staff attached to the regional bariatric service, providing multidisciplinary medical, nursing, surgical, dietetic and psychological care to patients with severe and complicated obesity. Expert clinicians and specialists from the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC) together with lecturers from other bariatric centres and from other disciplines such as marketing and health economics will also participate in programme delivery.”

For doctors this programme will be an adjunct to specialist training. The appeal will be broad and include general practice, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, public health and occupational health. Similarly, psychology, dietetic, occupational therapy and physiotherapy graduates who will ultimately deliver obesity multidisciplinary care will benefit from this advanced training in obesity. Managers within the health service, hospital groups, policy makers and industry stakeholders will also enhance their understanding of obesity and further their career prospects through completion of this programme.

For nurses, there is also an option to complete a dedicated MHSc in Obesity, delivered through the School of Nursing at NUI Galway, which integrates the same obesity core modules with others that are more relevant to advanced nursing theory and practice.

Speaking at the launch of the new programme, Director of Health and Wellbeing at An Roinn Sláinte, Department of Health, Kate O’Flaherty welcomed the initiative, saying: “The new MSc Obesity at NUI Galway is an interesting and welcome development, given the growing recognition of the scale of the problem of obesity in Ireland and internationally, of the associated health, economic and social consequences and burdens, and of the extent to which it is a risk factor of many other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and mental ill-health.”

For more information on the new Masters in Obesity visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/obesity-msc.html, or nurses interested in the MHSc in Obesity can get more information from https://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/obesity-mhsc-pdip.html.

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