Medical Knowledge

Students must demonstrate a clear knowledge of medical nutrition, as well as the skills and attitudes necessary to use this knowledge effectively as a physician. Our students will know:

  1. the importance of nutrition in health and disease as revealed by epidemiologic studies.
  2. the basic principles of Nutritional Biochemistry.
  3. how to assess nutritional status.
  4. how under- and over-nutrition predispose an individual to various disease states.
  5. how physical activity interacts with nutritional status to provide optimal health.
  6. how nutrition can be used as a supportive therapy for patient care.
  7. how nutritional needs change across the lifespan.
  8. how behavioral principles and cultural context affect eating behavior and institution of nutritional treatment plans.
  9. how nutritional status affects community, population and world health.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Students must demonstrate knowledge of the principles of communication as well as the skills and attitudes necessary for effective interactions with patients, families, healthcare workers, and others who affect the well being of the patients. Students will know:
  1. how to effectively elicit, record and present a nutritional lifestyle patient history.
  2. how to effectively communicate the nutritionally-based treatment plan to the patient as well as effectively educating family members as part of the nutritionally-based treatment of the patient.
  3. how to effectively work as part of a team of professionals to treat nutritionally-related diseases.

Professionalism, Moral Reasoning, and Ethical Judgement

Students must demonstrate a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior that will allow them to interact respectfully and effectively with the patient, the patient's family and other members of the healthcare team as they care for the nutritional needs of the individual patient. They must also demonstrate these same skill sets on the larger horizon of community health. Our students will be able to:

  1. recognize the importance of patient autonomy and shared decision making in the nutritional management of patients.
  2. display behaviors that foster patient trust in the physician such as nonjudgmental assessment of a patient's nutritional status.
  3. recognize the importance of using a multi-disciplinary team approach in nutritional health care.
  4. encourage physicians to serve as positive role model for patients regarding nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
  5. encourage physicians to be involved in public health initiatives that promote community health regarding nutrition and physical activity.
  6. demonstrate sensitivity towards psychological and social attitudes that may prohibit the patient from adopting needed nutritional lifestyle changes.

Clinical Skills and Patient Care

Students must demonstrate knowledge of the principles of communication as well as the skills and attitudes necessary for effective interactions with patients, families, healthcare workers, and others who affect the well being of the patients. Students will know:
  1. how to take an appropriate patient medical history, including family, social, nutritional/dietary, physical activity, and weight histories; use of prescription medicines, over-the counter medicines, dietary and herbal supplements; and consumption of alcohol and other recreational drugs.
  2. how to conduct an appropriate physical examination, including anthropometrics, evaluation of growth and development and signs of nutritional deficiency or excess.
  3. how to select and interpret the results of screening measures, laboratory tests, and diagnostic procedures appropriate to assess and manage a patient's nutrition.
  4. how to evaluate a patient's diet and current nutritional status based on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
  5. how to identify individuals who require medical nutritional therapy and lifestyle modification.
  6. how to integrate nutritional assessment information into an individualized nutritional management and physical activity plan for optimal health, risk factor reduction and common medical problems.
  7. effectively counsel patients to make informed nutritional decisions consistent with adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and with establishing appropriate dietary, exercise and behavioral goals.
  8. effectively communicate with patients in a culturally, religiously or lifestyle competent manner to provide accurate nutritional information and dispel misinformation.
  9. employ effective counseling techniques matched to the patient's level of motivation and readiness for change, encouraging the use of goal setting, identification of barriers, problem solving, self-monitoring, self-reinforcement, and stimulus control.
  10. consult with or refer to a registered dietitian or other credentialed healthcare professionals and refer to community nutrition resources as appropriate.

Lifelong Learning, Problem-Solving, and Personal Growth

Students should demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to gather knowledge necessary to analyze clinical situations and develop effective treatment plans. Further, they should be able to use appropriate evidence gathering tools to evaluate their methods of practice and understand concepts of quality in health care and quality improvement for patient and their families in regards to a nutritionally healthy lifestyle. Students should be able to:

  1. recognize that nutrition, physical activity, and health lifestyle behaviors can have direct, substantial, and long-term effects on growth and development, health maintenance, and disease prevention and treatment.
  2. search, evaluate and critically review scientific evidence appropriate to the individualized care of patients with specific nutritional needs.
  3. search, evaluate and critically review scientific evidence on diet fads, including dietary regimes, dietary supplements and over-the-counter preparations to provide
  4. demonstrate an awareness of informational resources available for both patient and physician education on a healthy nutritional lifestyle and the dangers of nutritionally-associated disease.
  5. plan and prepare a balanced diet for themselves.
  6. demonstrate a willingness to provide a healthy, nutritionally fit lifestyle, recognizing their positions as role models to the community.

Social and Community Context of Healthcare

Students must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to function within the larger healthcare and medical education system. Students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a commitment to interact with patients in a culturally competent manner that appropriately acknowledges the unique characteristics and nutritional needs of each individual.
  2. recognize how personal, environmental, and social factors interact and impact on eating behaviors and overall nutrition.
  3. appreciate the importance of access to education and proper food as factors influencing health and disease.
  4. have an awareness of global healthcare issues as they relate to nutritional deficiencies.


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  Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. All rights reserved.
Please send questions or comments to: Susan O. McGuire, Ph.D.
Updated: 10/05/07 .. Created: 10/05/07