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Medical Student Education

Nutrition

Research has shown that nutrition is a modifiable risk factor for major chronic diseases, elevating its importance as an essential component of patient care.

The integration of nutrition into the curricula of medical schools has increased nationwide in an effort to prepare physicians who effectively incorporate nutrition assessment, nutrition education and medical nutrition therapy into comprehensive treatment plans. At the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, nutrition is integrated throughout the curriculum.

Nutrition Years 1 & 2:

In Year 1, nutrition topics are addressed in a variety of ways (i.e. lectures, case studies, assignments) throughout the curriculum, such as:

  • Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine
    • Absorption and metabolism of vitamins and minerals
    • Contemporary nutrition topics, such as current dietary guidelines and dietary supplements
  • GI/Endocrine/Reproduction
    • Nutritional needs throughout the lifecycle (from the prenatal period through older adulthood)
    • Nutrition support for critically ill patients
    • Medical nutrition therapy for common diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal-Integumentary
    • Essential nutrients for the development and maintenance of healthy bones

In Year 2, the role of medical nutrition therapy in the treatment of disease continues to be highlighted throughout the curriculum. Appropriate nutrition therapy for patients with a variety of medical conditions (e.g. nutritional anemias, cancer, renal failure, hypertension) are addressed in lectures and cases.

In Years 1 and 2, longitudinal courses also offer opportunities for students to learn more about the impact of nutrition on the health of our patients and community.

  • In Physician and Society, students become aware of nutrition-related issues, such as food insecurity, and agencies that offer essential services to enhance the nutritional status of the community.
  • In Clinical Skills, students apply nutrition-related knowledge and skills for the clinical assessment of patients with specific diseases, such as Celiac disease and nutritional anemias.
  • In the Interprofessional Experience, students spend time with registered dietitians in clinical settings. Through this experience, students gain an understanding and appreciation for the contribution of registered dietitians to the health care team and the role of nutrition in patient care.

Nutrition Years 3 and 4

In Year 3, the clerkships offer learning opportunities that emphasize the importance of nutrition in health care settings. The nutrition-related opportunities vary among the clerkships and may include lectures, case discussions, papers/presentations, or interactive online case studies. The clerkships address nutrition topics that are relevant to their patient population, such as infant feeding issues in the Pediatric clerkship and dietary and herbal supplements in the Family Medicine clerkship. Students critically analyze and apply nutrition information to enhance their decision-making skills for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease.

In Year 4, a Clinical Nutrition Elective is offered in the Spring. This two-week elective introduces students to the application of nutrition principles for the prevention and treatment of disease. Students learn and practice nutrition-related skills that will be essential in their upcoming residencies. The course includes presentations by experts in the field, case studies, clinical placements with registered dietitians, and assignments related to nutrition counseling and healthy cooking.

Additional Nutrition-Related Learning Opportunities

Medical Student Scholars Program (MSSP) – Nutrition Pathway

The Medical Student Scholars Program – Nutrition Pathway allows students to explore the role of nutrition in patient care throughout their four years in medical school. Students accepted into the Nutrition MSSP are engaged in preceptor-supervised experiences that provide an in-depth understanding of nutrition in specific areas of interest.

For more information, visit the Nutrition MSSP webpage at https://www.med.uc.edu/ome/MSSP

MD/MS in Nutrition Dual Degree

The College of Medicine andthe Department of Nutritional Sciences at the College of Allied Health Sciences have developed a MD/MS in Nutrition dual degree program. The student completes the one-year MS program coursework on a full-time basis between the 3rd and 4th years of medical school. Thesis work can be completed during the 4th year of medical school. For more information, visit the Dual Degree Program webpage at https://www.med.uc.edu/MDnutrition