The largest study ever funded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and led by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (Academy) Nutrition Research Network: The Malnutrition Clinical Characteristics Validation and Staffing Optimization Study has an exciting study update.

Recently, the study protocol was published in JAND (available here: JAND). During the process of publishing the study protocol, the study team decided to retire the name Malnutrition Clinical Characteristics (“MCC”), and to adopt a new name – the Academy and ASPEN Indicators to diagnose Malnutrition or “AAIM” – for a few reasons. A review of other small research studies validating the adult indicators revealed that the indicators were referred to by many different names across studies. Often, the Academy and ASPEN were not recognized in these names as the organizations that developed the indicators through a consensus process. The study team wanted to emphasize the Academy and ASPEN as a trusted source of the indicators. Additionally, “MCC” is commonly used as an acronym for ‘Major Complications and Comorbidities’ in the ICD-10 definitions manual, and this could lead to confusion when using or documenting the indicators in clinical practice. A distinct acronym will improve name recognition of the indicators in clinical practice and in the medical literature. “Changing the name to AAIM will more clearly demonstrate that these will now be validated [diagnostic] indicators for malnutrition,“ explained Barbara Isaacs Jordan, MS, RDN, CDN , Clinical Nutrition Management DPG Research Committee Co-chair.

The AAIM Study (previously known as the MCC Study) continues to recruit hospital sites – especially pediatric hospital sites.

It is important for the dietetics profession that the study be successfully completed, so please consider whether your hospital can participate. “This study will achieve what we had identified as the needed next step, after our inpatient staffing study was completed by the Clinical Nutrition Management Dietetic Practice Group and the Academy’s Dietetic Practice Based Research Network in 2015. We realized that to develop a gold standard for an inpatient staffing model, we needed to provide evidence on the relationship of dietitian staffing to patient outcomes. Tying the validation of the ASPEN/Academy’s malnutrition clinical characteristics to dietitian staffing will be a great accomplishment for the Academy.” noted Isaacs Jordan. If you are interested in learning more about the study or if you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to the study team: aaim@eatright.org. This study was funded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group, the Clinical Nutrition Management Dietetic Practice Group, and the Renal Dietitians Practice Group. Seca provided in-kind staff support and equipment for the bioelectrical impedance portion of the study.

Acknowledgements: The author appreciates the input from Academy staff members Beth Labrador, Development Director for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Erin Lamers-Johnson, MS, RDN, Nutrition Researcher, Nutrition Research Network, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Julie Long, MS, MPH, RDN, CLC, Study Consultant; Alison Steiber, PhD, RDN, Chief Science Officer, Research, International and Scientific Affairs, at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.