We examined the influence of a brief, small group teaching intervention, which used current patients as examples, on the detection of malnutrition by medical housestaff. We reviewed 100 consecutive patient admissions before and 61 admissions 1 month after the intervention for any mention of malnutrition in admitting, progress, or discharge notes and compared the result with the number of patients diagnosed as malnourished by dietitians. Before the intervention, interns correctly identified 4 (14%) of 28 malnourished patients. After the intervention, the same interns correctly identified 15 (94%) of 16 malnourished patients (p = .0004). We conclude that this brief teaching intervention was effective in increasing the awareness and detection of malnutrition by interns.