For those of us on the ADA Nutrition Informatics Committee (or its predecessor, the Nutrition Informatics Work Group), responding to the question, “What is informatics?” is a regular occurrence. My December 2008 President’s Page in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association addressed this question and emphasized the importance and relevance of informatics for everyone who practices nutrition and dietetics.
Since we still get asked the question, though, the need for an “elevator speech” was apparent. If any of you have ever worked with the media, you know that “short & sweet” is always preferred, and more likely to be remembered by the listener.
That being said, the Nutrition Informatics Committee last weekend approved a new “simple definition” for nutrition informatics proposed by Committee member, Dr. Nancy Collins:
The intersection of information, nutrition, and technology
… just a few words that go a long way in terms of explaining what nutrition informatics is all about. The Committee also refined the formal definition to make it more concise: “The effective retrieval, organization, storage and optimum use of information, data and knowledge for food and nutrition related problem solving and decision making. Informatics is supported by the use of information standards, processes and technology.”
It’s OK if you can’t remember the formal definition, and yes, it really is more concise than the original – but let’s all commit the new simple definition to memory, so we’re all ready to respond when asked!