The Institute Of Human Nutrition

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Medical Nutrition Program for Health Professionals


The one-year certification component of this blended online/on-ground program will consist of monthly weekend courses (September thru July, for a total of eleven weekends) as well as online components which can be completed at anytime during the month.  It includes an applied, comprehensive focus on nutrition biochemistry, growth, development and aging, medical nutrition therapy, clinical nutrition, and counseling techniques.  The courses combine didactic lectures, research discussions, and counseling exercises to enable the effective and immediate application of evidence-based nutrition guidelines, as well as an opportunity to collaborate with peers in the learning process. A total of 6 graduate-level classes will be completed to obtain the certification.  There will be opportunity for participants to tailor some of the material to their area of interest, and elective courses will be offered. All courses will be graded as pass/fail and may be applied to the masters program for those who wish to continue for the graduate degree.

Weekend Schedule for 2014-2015

On-ground courses will take place on the Columbia University Medical Center campus on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 5pm.  The weekend classes will take place on the weekends of 9/20-9/21, 10/18-10/19, 11/15-11/16, 12/13-12/14, 1/10-1/11, 2/7-2/8, 3/7-3/8, 4/4-4/5, 5/2-5/3, 6/6-6/7, 7/11-7/12.


FALL 2014

9/20-9/21, 10/18-10/19, 11/15-11/16, 12/13-12/14


1/10-1/11, 2/7-2/8, 3/7-3/8, 4/4-4/5


5/2-5/3, 6/6-6/7, 7/11-7/12


Course Format and Assignments

Weekends will start with lectures, followed by guided discussions and a related "hot topics" discussion that includes an evaluation of the literature. There will also be workshops on ways to apply the information in practice, including counseling concepts and techniques to promote behavior change, specifically motivational interviewing, harm reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamics, and health literacy.  We also include hands-on cooking and exercise workshops to help enhance self-efficacy.  The supplemental online materials will include readings, podcasts and preparation for on-ground workshops.  You will be asked to prepare cases from your clinical experience for the on-ground workshops to enhance the application of concepts.



The health professional program also offers the option to continue past the certification to complete a masters of science degree in nutrition. The masters track entails an additional fifteen credits, including a tailored and guided thesis project on a topic of your choice. Completion of the masters will take an additional two years as a part-time student after completion of the one-year certification program, for a total of three years.  Courses can be taken online with some on-ground work. The schedule for the continuation for a masters is as follows:

Masters Year 1:
Fall:  Epi for Nutrition (3)
Spring: Obesity or CU 3 credit elective
Summer: 2 credit tutorial: research and survey design (blended)

Masters Year 2:
Fall: Special Studies (2)
Spring: Special Studies (2)
Summer: MS Thesis (3)


Core Courses:

Human Nutrition M6240   Essentials of Nutrition Counseling and Medical Nutrition Therapy (3 credits)

This course is designed to increase empathy and enhance knowledge of nutrition practices that are important for professionals who work in clinical and public health settings.   It covers the basic tenets of health literacy, psychodynamics, and cognitive behavioral and motivational interviewing, and the application of these to nutrition-related conditions. The evidence base for therapeutic recommendations and the psycho-social implications for the person and family subject to those recommendations are considered together so that students can develop an integrated approach to development of a dietary regimen. 

Human Nutrition M8205  Biochemical and Physiological Bases of Nutrition,  Part I (Fall semester) (3 credits)

This course covers the aspects of carbohydrate, lipid, protein, and energy metabolism that are relevant to the understanding of human nutrition at a cellular, organ and system level. Emphasis is on understanding the integration of metabolic pathways and the principles of metabolic regulation. This course helps the student understand digestion, absorption, transport and metabolic functions of the macronutrients in human metabolism.

Human Nutrition M8205  Biochemical and Physiological Bases of Nutrition Part II (Spring semester) (3 credits)

(Prerequisite M8205 Part I - unless otherwise approved in writing by course director)

This course covers the roles of vitamins (fat and water-soluble) and minerals in human nutrition. The emphasis is on the understanding of vitamins and minerals in relation to human health. The course will help the student understand the sources, biochemistry and functions of vitamins and minerals, and the nutritional standards and guidelines for vitamin and mineral intake.

Human Nutrition M8200   Growth and Development (3 credits)
This course focuses on how nutrition affects (and is affected by) growth and development throughout the lifecycle, from conception to the elderly.  Attention is given to the special nutrient and metabolic needs of each developmental stage, as well as to the cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental factors that influence nutrient intake.

Human Nutrition M8207   Clinical Nutrition (3 credits)

This course covers the physiological aspects of clinical disorders, including symptoms, risk factors, biological pathology, and clinical management, as well as the role of nutrition in their prevention and treatment.

Human Nutrition M8201   Readings in Human Nutrition (Fall semester) (3 credits)

This course focuses on examining the current literature with an emphasis on topics not covered in other courses. The purpose is to develop in the student a critical approach to scientific information, using student presentations and discussion.


Masters/Elective Courses:

Human Nutrition M6120    Introduction To Epidemiology For Nutritionists (3 credits)
Epidemiology is used to study the distribution and determinants of disease in human populations. Many of these determinants are nutritional. This course will introduce the students to the theory, methodology and terminology used in epidemiology, using examples related to nutrition and disease from the current scientific literature.

Human Nutrition M8202   Readings in Human Nutrition: Obesity (Spring semester) (3 credits)

This course examines current knowledge and controversies related to the regulation of body weight and  energy balance. It deals with the interactions between genes and the environment, psychosocial aspects of obesity, and the clinical implications of our current knowledge.

Human Nutrition M8220    U.S. and International Nutrition Policy and Programs (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to nutrition-related public health programs and policies in the U.S. and internationally. The effects of food, nutrition and nutritional diseases on the health of various societies, and programs and policies that have been developed to improve global public health, will be discussed.

Human Nutrition M9210   Special Studies (2 credits)

This course is designed to assist students in the development of the personal skills needed to become a professional nutrition scientist. It provides students with information needed to successfully select a research setting and Master’s Thesis project.  Students are assisted in evaluating different research opportunities to optimize the fit of the student to the Thesis project and mentor.  There is also a strong emphasis on enhancing the student’s professional development and  scientific presentation skills, both written and oral.



Core IHN Faculty

Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D.
(Chair) Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition, Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Epidemiology,
Director, Institute of Human Nutrition

Sharon R. Akabas, Ph.D.
Associate Clinical Professor of Nutrition in Pediatrics
Associate Director of Educational Initiative, Institute of Human Nutrition
Director, MS in Nutrition Program, Institute of Human Nutrition
Director, Medical Nutrition Program, Institute of Human Nutrition

Mary DiGiorgi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition in Surgery
Associate Director, Medical Nutrition Program, Institute of Human Nutrition
Director of Clinical Research, Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery, Columbia University

Jessica Fanzo, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition in Pediatrics

Kim Hekimian, Ph.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition (in Pediatrics and in the Institute of Human Nutrition)

R. Ariel Igal, M.D., Ph.D.
Special Lecturer, Institute of Human Nutrition

Sally Ann Lederman, Ph.D.
Special Lecturer, Institute of Human Nutrition and Mailman School of Public Health

Jeri Wanzor Nieves, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Rajasekhar Ramakrishnan, Eng.Sc.D.
Director, Biomathematics Division, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D.
Research Associate, New York Obesity Research Center


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Contact Us

630 West 168th Street, PH1512
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY 10032
212 305-4808