Nourishing Minds and Bodies Within LAU’s Nutrition Program
Nutrition students at LAU experience hands-on learning to gain insight into breastfeeding and optimal health.
As a means of fostering student-centered education, a workshop focusing on lactation was held for LAU nutrition and dietetics students on March 17, 2023. It aimed to provide students with practical insights into breastfeeding and its vital significance in promoting overall health in infants, children, mothers and families.
For these students, majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Program (CP) gave them the opportunity to be exposed to and involved in educational and professional opportunities along the way. As such, this workshop came about as part of the Nutrition in the Life Cycle course offered in the program which is designed to bridge theoretical knowledge with real-world application.
In pursuit of tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – namely SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) – participants got to take part in promoting sustainable nutrition practices by exploring ways to support breastfeeding mothers and emphasizing the nutritional value of breast milk, its role in building immunity and its positive impact on maternal and offspring health.
Under the tutelage of Nursing Program Director Bahia Abdallah, students gathered at LAU’s Clinical Simulation Center – a specialized medical training facility that caters to healthcare students and professionals across disciplines – where they engaged in hands-on activities and delved into the physical and emotional intricacies of breastfeeding and its impact on all genders.
Given the workshop’s benefit in enriching the program’s curriculum, the students were taken out of their role as mere spectators and pushed to become participants in a process that equips them with skills and knowledge beyond the academic realm.
“The beauty of this workshop being part of their overall education at LAU,” said Assistant Professor of Nutrition Rana Rizk, “lies in how it immerses our students in experiences that enrich their understanding, broaden their perspectives and equip them with skills that are relevant in the field of nutrition.”
The lactation workshop is just one facet of this holistic approach, acting as another shining example of how LAU nurtures well-rounded professionals to make effective contributions in their domains.
“As nutritionists and dietitians, part of their role is to promote, support and protect breastfeeding, among other things,” noted Dr. Abdallah. “The more they know about it, the more they can advance it and be advocates for mothers, families, and communities. It’s important to highlight the sub-specialties in nutrition because there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.”
The distinguishing factor of this workshop and others similar to it at LAU is the inclusion of experiential learning, added Dr. Rizk. “Offering empirical practice while studying for the profession itself easily opens up plenty of doors for our students. This way, they’ll go into their jobs having already acquired the skills needed for excellence.”
The hope at the end of the day, be it through workshops, programs or activities as reflected by both Dr. Abdallah and Dr. Rizk, is to pave the way for a future generation of experts poised to shape healthier, more informed communities worldwide.