New Publication by David Wiss in the High Impact Public Health Nutrition Journal


Objective: While organizational change in substance use disorder treatment has been extensively studied, there is no research describing facility-wide changes related to nutrition interventions. This study evaluates staff-perceived barriers to change before and after a wellness initiative.

Design: A pre-intervention questionnaire was administered to participating staff prior to facility-wide changes (n=40). The questions were designed to assess barriers across five domains: 1) provision of nutrition-related treatment; 2) implementation of nutrition education; 3) screening, detecting, monitoring (nutrition behaviors); 4) facility-wide collaboration; and 5) menu changes and client satisfaction. A 5-point Likert-scale was used to indicate the extent to which staff anticipate difficulty or ease in implementing facility-wide nutrition changes, perceived as organizational barriers. Follow-up questionnaires were identical to the pretest except that it examined barriers experienced, rather than anticipated (n=50).

Setting: A multisite substance use disorder treatment center in Northern California which began implementing nutrition programming changes in order to improve care.

Participants: Staff members who consented to participate.

Results: From pre to post, we observed significant decreases in perceived barriers related to the provision of nutrition-related treatment (p=0.019), facility-wide collaboration (p=0.036), menu changes and client satisfaction (p=0.024). Implementation of nutrition education and the domain of screening, detecting, monitoring did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: Our results show that staff training, food service changes, the use of targeted curriculum for nutrition groups, and the encouragement of discussing self-care in individual counseling sessions, can lead to positive shifts about nutrition-related organizational change among staff.

David Wiss, MS, RDN is the founder of Nutrition in Recovery, which specializes in: Addictions, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, Body Image, and General Wellness. Mr. Wiss works closely with individuals to help them revolutionize their relationship with food and has shared his expertise with numerous eating disorder and addiction facilities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. David is a nationally recognized expert in nutrition for addiction and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Public Health from UCLA.

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