Healthy living starts with nutrition

Liala Helal | August 25, 2015

Learn how Applied Clinical Nutrition can benefit your patients and clients.

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Northwestern Health Sciences University’s strong community of healthcare professionals has built a foundation for students to pursue a Northwestern graduate education. This fall, classes begin for Northwestern’s newly launched Applied Clinical Nutrition Program, offering graduate-level certificates and a Master of Health Science (MHS) in Applied Clinical Nutrition.

Designed for current and future healthcare and wellness professionals, the advanced training in applied clinical nutrition prepares students and current professionals for a health career with expertise in the significant role that diet and good nutrition play in maintaining health.

“Nutrition plays a significant role in keeping us healthy as well as in the prevention, treatment and management of many chronic diseases,” said Dr. Maria Boosalis, Standard Process Nutrition Endowed Chair for Northwestern Health Sciences University. “Through these new, unique programs, we are providing clinically relevant, evidence-based applied clinical nutrition information for health care and wellness professionals to incorporate within their scope of practice with the ultimate goal of keeping their patients and clientele healthy”.

Today, health care professionals outside the field of nutrition and diet need to be prepared to address the nutritional needs and concerns of their clients and patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diseases and conditions that are more chronic in nature such as arthritis, cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are very common, costly as well as the most preventable of all health problems.

A 2010 report from the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators identifies dietary risk factors as responsible for 26% of deaths and 14% of disability-adjusted life-years (estimated as the sum of years lived with disability and life lost to premature mortality).  These dietary risk factors included diets low in fruits, low in nuts and seeds, high in sodium, high in processed meats, low in vegetables, and high in trans fats - often a typical American diet.

The program offers two graduate certificates in different focus areas of nutrition.  One of the certificate focuses on Nutrition Intervention in Health and Disease, in which students will acquire expert knowledge in the nutritional management of various disease states including hypertension, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The other certificate focuses on Health, Wellness, and Human Performance, in which students can become skilled in the areas of maintaining and improving health and well-being, including sports nutrition.

“I believe our health is our wealth, so one of our roles as healthcare and wellness professionals is to help individuals maximize and optimize theirs,” Dr. Boosalis said. “Keeping up with the new nutrition-related information that emerges daily can be challenging. One of my goals for our educational program in applied clinical nutrition is to provide you, as practicing and future healthcare and wellness professionals, the information and skills necessary to optimize the nutritional health of your patients and clients within your discipline’s scope of practice.”

Students can apply the credits toward a Master of Health Science (MHS) in Applied Clinical Nutrition.

All graduate programs in this series offer part-time enrollment with convenient online and on-campus courses. Each graduate certificate is comprised of seven courses for a total of 16 credits. Completion of both certificates is a total of 10 courses, which total 22 credits. The 22 credits earned upon completion of both certificates can be applied toward the 30-credit master’s degree, which requires three additional classes to earn eight additional credits.

“Our program aims to give students a strong foundation in applied clinical nutrition to know the evidence-based science and research and decipher it from the fad and fiction and then apply this evidence-based information for the optimal care and well-being of their patients and clientele” Dr. Boosalis said. “The program is tailor-made with the practicing and future healthcare and wellness professional in mind, with information they can readily apply within their discipline’s scope of practice.  It’s exciting, convenient and relevant to the health and well-being of all individuals.”

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