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Nutrition Science Department

Discover Your Passion

Our exciting programs offer more than just the basics – we train highly competent registered dieticians and leaders in nutrition research that will change the diet and nutrition landscape. Let us show you how.

Nutrition Sciences Department

The Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University is paving the way for future researchers and registered dietitians. Our Bacehelors of Science, Masters and PhD programs prepare students to work in a variety of careers that span the gamut from community work and clinical practice to cutting edge research.

This is a particularly exciting time for nutritionists since so many individuals are taking responsibility for maintaining and enhancing their health. We are committed to the discovery of new information about the relationships between diet, physical activity, health and disease and the application of such knowledge to individuals, communities and entire populations.

In September 2011, the Department of Nutrition Sciences, Drexel Recreation Center and University Wellness collaboratively formed the Drexel Center for Integrated Nutrition & Performance (CINP), with the mission of providing evidence-based nutrition advice to the Drexel Community and the greater Philadelphia area. The Center offers year-long internships for selected undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Nutrition Sciences. This provides exceptional hands-on experience that prepares students for application to practice programs, employment opportunities and graduate programs.


The following programs are offered through the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Please contact us or plan to visit us if we can provide further information about opportunities in this important discipline that bridges the basic and applied sciences.

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods
An important component of healthcare, dietetics involves helping people meet their nutritional needs through diet counseling and nutrition support.

Master of Science in Human Nutrition
If you have a desire to promote optimal wellness for people of all ages through better nutrition and become a registered dietitian, this may be of interest to you.

PhD in Nutrition Sciences
An innovative PhD program that positions graduates as unique PhD-educated nutritionists.

Minor in Nutrition and Foods

Human Lactation Consultant Program
The Drexel University Nutrition Sciences Human Lactation Consultant Program is designed to provide an opportunity for individuals to prepare to become Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).

The Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP)
An ACEND approved program allowing students who have graduated from a DPD program to complete the 1,200 hours of supervised practice necessary to complete the path to registration.

Nutrition Sciences Faculty

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News & Events



Though many gym-goers have a tendency to pass it by on their way to its more popular counterparts, the treadmill and the elliptical, the rowing machine (or the ergometer) is steadily gaining popularity. With the undeniable fitness benefits, including its ability to deliver a full body workout, it’s about time this effective cardio fitness tool reclaimed its place in the spotlight.

“It provides a cardiovascular benefit, but it also increases core strength as well as strength to the latissimus dorsi muscles,” said Stella Volpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences. “Since rowing uses the legs more than the arms, it is excellent for leg strength, too.” Although resistance training will increase muscle strength and mass the most, the rowing ergometer provides opportunities for users to increase the resistance and reap comparable benefits.

Convinced you should give it a try? Keep your form in check to maximize the impact. “A lot of people get on the erg and think that it is just for their arms, so they barely move on the seat. To get the most benefit from the rowing machine, people need to get trained on how to use it first,” said Volpe. To make training interesting and impactful, learn how to use the computer attached to the erg, as well. “It is a great device to use for timed or distance intervals. It can show your 500 meter split times, your watts, calories burned, et cetera,” Volpe added.

Drexel’s Recreation Center not only has several rowing ergometers, but fitness floor staff are trained teach proper use of the equipment, from form to functions. 


By: Rachel Ewing, Office of University Communications

When it comes to healthy nutrition and low-income communities, you’ve probably heard these nuggets of conventional wisdom:

  • Processed foods are unhealthy. The healthiest diets are composed of whole, unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and veggies, healthy protein sources and natural whole grains.
  • Fresh produce is often out of reach for low-income families because it’s more expensive than processed foods, is more prone to spoiling before it can be used and is less likely to be sold in markets in low-income communities.

These things are true. Yet Drexel nutrition professor Jennifer Quinlan is hard at work this spring developing a plan to sell more processed foods in low-income communities. She hasn’t overturned the evidence on that conventional wisdom or lost her mind; instead, she’s seeking a new, sustainable path toward healthy food access.

“Over the years, I’ve seen efforts over and over again to get fresh food into low-income communities and food deserts, and many have failed,” Quinlan said. “Some succeeded, but many of them were highly supported by grants, so the funding source wasn’t sustainable.”

Quinlan aims to demonstrate a sustainable way forward during her upcoming sabbatical year with a small business venture that aims to sell healthy foods in low-income communities. She hopes to show that there is enough of a market for healthy food to turn a workable profit and keep a business going.

And for that purpose, processed foods are the key—healthy processed foods, that is.

“We started processing food for a reason, and that was to get the nutrients needed to the people who need them,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan points out that fresh foods are typically the healthiest choice, but in real life, most people eat a combination of some fresh foods and some processed ones. “In my family, and among my colleagues and friends, we try to pick out healthy processed food products,” she said.

Examples of healthy processed foods include packaged squeezable fruit products made with 100 percent fruit, veggie chips, and shelf-stable fruit cups without added sugar. These products appeal to consumers and are also low-risk for retailers because they are less perishable than fresh foods.

With her small business, launching with funds provided by a new USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant, Quinlan will pilot a new retail model to test the idea that such healthy processed foods would appeal to families in lower-income neighborhoods if they were available and affordable.

Her plan is to work in USDA-recognized food deserts in the region, potentially including the cities of Trenton and Camden, New Jersey, in addition to Philadelphia. She will hire Drexel students to assist in areas including market research and marketing, nutrition sciences and other areas to determine how the small business can best meet the needs of the communities it serves, all while offering healthy food at prices low enough to be affordable, but high enough to make the business profitable and sustainable. She has consulted with colleagues in Drexel’s Close School for Entrepreneurship for advice on launching her small business. She also hopes to hire employees from within the neighborhoods her business will serve.

Aiming to keep overhead costs low, Quinlan expects the final result will be some form of mobile retail, such as a food cart, that can bring products to the places in communities where they are most in-demand.

Quinlan said her business aims to address several of the major issues affecting low-income populations when it comes to health and food access, including:

  • Health issues related to obesity and excess consumption of unhealthy processed foods
  • Food insecurity and hunger among families that struggle to afford healthy food (processed or not)
  • Food sanitation and safety

Quinlan’s unique research focus on food safety in low-income communities has documented that corner stores in these communities are highly likely to have poor storage conditions for fresh food, resulting in a high risk of food-borne illness. But healthy processed foods can be much safer, while still providing nutritional value.

Quinlan said she envisions her small business, and others like it, as only part of the solution among many other efforts to address these challenges. Hers will complement efforts to include nutrition education in schools and communities, support urban farming initiatives and get fresh foods into markets.

Most importantly, Quinlan said, her entrepreneurial approach has real potential to support sustainable improvements in community health.

“Anything that’s really going to bring long-term change in people’s diets and nutrient status has to be market-driven,” she said. “Giving people free food will never be a long-term solution because funding sources for that food eventually dry up.”


A Drexel nutritionist is doing her part to help put an end to food insecurity in the Mantua and Powelton Village neighborhoods surrounding Drexel University’s campus.  Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, worked with Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, director of culinary arts and food science in the Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, and Catherine Murray, director of community partnerships, to submit a grant proposal to the Aetna Foundation to bring food sovereignty to the Drexel University Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.  The grant would provide funding for seeds, labor and the sustainable project pieces needed for the garden, and would allow them to hire a co-op student.  The funding would sustain the project for two years.

Food sovereignty is a term typically used in reference to large food systems in an agricultural model, but Milliron uses it in terms of neighborhood nutrition, food access and food justice programming.  “Health and food is a human right.  I used the part of the definition that is the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food that is produced in an ecologically sound way,” said Milliron. 

Perhaps the most important piece of this project is to grow seasonal, culturally appropriate foods that are also affordable and can be purchased with SNAP benefits.  These foods should be calorically dense so they can be made into a center-of-the-plate meal.  

If given the grant, Milliron plans to recruit members of the Mantua and Powelton Village neighborhoods who are involved with Dornsife, and who have already adopted healthy lifestyle behaviors, to be neighborhood nutrition advocates.  These advocates will be trained to deliver nutrition education programming that is focused on cooking.  The nutrition advocates can then teach neighborhood residents healthy ways to cook these foods.  “I’m from North Carolina.  In the south, people eat a lot of collard greens, which are typically fried in bacon fat.  We can’t tell people not to use fat, that’s not culturally appropriate.  We need to modify preparation methods for these foods,” said Milliron. 

 “One thing that they already do at Dornsife is monthly community dinners.  There is a class through the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, there are 8 students who work side by side, and cook for the community.  So everyone shares a meal together.  The food that they harvest from the garden goes toward that meal,” said Milliron.   

The project is slated to start in October.  If successful, Milliron hopes to pilot test it in other neighborhoods that surround the Dornsife Center in the future.    

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