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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



Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, associate professor and assistant dean of academic integration and evaluation of community programs in the Doctoral Nursing Department, was chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) Distinguished Nurse of the Year Award. The award recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated leadership characteristics and rendered distinguished service to the profession. 
The Physician Assistant Program was granted accreditation – continued status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The ARC-PA noted zero areas of noncompliance with the Standards.
Lisa Schmidt, PhD, associate director and associate clinical professor in the Behavioral Health Counseling Department, and Veronica Carey, PhD, assistant clinical professor and associate director of the Saturday Scholars Program in the Behavioral Health Counseling Department, have been selected to present a 90-minute workshop on “Community Based Learning – How Students and Community Partners Learn from One Another” at the 12th Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) being held in Seoul, Korea from November 2-5, 2015.  
Julie Kinzel, MEd, PA-C, assistant clinical professor in the Physician Assistant Department, was named the recipient of the Physician Assistant Educator of the Year Award, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA). 
Megan Schneider, MAMS, MSPH, clinical instructor in the Physician Assistant Department, was nominated for the Rising Star Award, Physician Assistant Education Association, which recognizes a program faculty member who has made noteworthy contributions to PA education. 
Linda Dayer-Berenson, PhD, associate clinical professor in the Division of Undergraduate Nursing, was recently interviewed by NPR Latino USA regarding pain management of Hispanic men and its associated cultural implications. The story was pre-recorded to air at a later date, yet to be determined.
Stephanie Brooks, PhD, associate clinical professor in the Department of Couple and Family Therapy, was appointed as the new director of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), part of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). 
Rose Ann DiMaria–Ghalili, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Graduate Nursing and the Department of Nutrition Sciences, was appointed to a four-year term on the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board for the Rehabilitation Engineering and Prosthetics/Orthotics Subcommittee. Additionally, a paper that DiMaria-Ghalili co-authored, entitled “Addressing Disease Related Malnutrition in Hospitalized Patients: A Call for a Natioanl Goal”, was published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. She also presented at the October meeting of the Institute of Medicine on meeting the dietary needs of older adults. 
Elizabeth Jane McCarthy, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, CAPT (RET), NC, PHS, adjunct faculty member, was awarded the “2015 USU Graduate School of Medicine Award” from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Alumni Association for outstanding contributions to education, research and advocacy.


The Philadelphia Union professional soccer organization has a new recruit – Drexel’s Nutrition Sciences Services. Nyree Dardarian, director of the Center for Integrated Nutrition & Performance, recently met with the organization about providing comprehensive nutrition services for the students at the Philadelphia Union Academy, and eventually for the professional team.

The Academy is a training center for student players who are anywhere from 8-18 years old.  “The facility is state-of-the-art, and they meet the requirements of the athletes as if they are professional sports players.  It’s really remarkable the lengths they go to ensure that they’re going to be healthy, successful, athletes and students,” said Dardarian.  “They have sports psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, but there is a clear need for nutrition.”

The students come from all over the world, and those who aren’t local are placed in houses not far from the school.  They live with house parents who are dedicated to supervising them at home, providing their transportation to and from training, as well as regular parents’ responsibilities like taking them places to have fun, and making sure they keep up with their school work. 

One of their major roles is to ensure their meal intakes. “The issue here is that it’s a little bit more complicated than your normal family because these kids are going to school, but they’re also on the field training up to 6 hours a day. The double whammy is that they’re adolescents, so they’re also growing.  They need a lot of calories and nutrients to meet the demands of training and adolescence in order to reduce the risk of injury and maintain adequate growth patterns,” said Dardarian. Dardarian and her team put together an educational piece for the house parents so that they understand what the athletes’ needs are and why they’re so important. 

The first step in counseling the athletes will be to do information sessions with the house parents to discuss how to pack a lunch and snacks for the day, and what a good breakfast and a healthy dinner should look like.  The parents and counselors will also keep in mind that the athletes are young.  “We don’t want them to feel like they have to be eating kale chips because we’re dietitians telling them to do this.  You can’t just push what is perceived as healthy foods, we try to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% what we consider healthy and 20% what we consider fun food,” said Dardarian. “One of the questions we were asked was ‘Is Captain Crunch okay?’ and they giggled, thinking I’d say absolutely not.  But the truth is, Captain Crunch is okay as long as you couple it skim milk and add fruit.”

The next step will be one-on-one interviews with the house parents and also with the athletes to see what their likes and dislikes are.  Because the athletes come from all over the world, they each eat different foods and their meals will need to be culturally appropriate.  From there, the counselors will work on menu development and provide the house parents with recipes and grocery shopping lists so that they not only have an easy reference for preparing meals, but so they also have some sort of standardization among the houses.

The organization hopes to eventually provide nutrition counseling services to the professional team.  They will first target their travel menus to ensure the team can find the right foods while travelling between time zones and on long road trips.  They also plan to incorporate one-on-one nutrition counseling for anyone in the organization.

A Drexel co-op is credited with making the connection.  “One of our students is a co-op at the Philadelphia Union, and she was in my Nutrition 101 class.  She made the connection between myself and the Director of Exercise Science at the Union.  We are very grateful to her for pulling this all together and being so resourceful, really integrating our entire community with theirs,” said Dardarian.


The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University operates as a patient-centered, integrated and trauma-informed model of care. Integrative health care creates a seamless engagement for patients, most of whom represent a vulnerable population and are residents of public housing and caregivers in the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventive and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the lifespan. The center is a nationally-recognized model of nurse-managed, community-based care for the education of health professions students and for faculty practice.

A new wing, which added 17,000 square feet of space to the practice, opened to patients on June 29, 2015. The new addition accommodates the expansion of primary care services, and includes space for nursing, nutrition sciences, couple and family therapy, creative arts therapies and a new fitness center.

John Kirby is the director of community health and wellness at Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, responsible for overseeing the fitness center, providing exercise coaching and fitness classes and working to inform, learn from and collaborate with the community in order to create a culture of health.

Describe the new fitness center. What are some new features?

Our new 1,500+ square foot fitness center has moved from the original building to the second floor of the new building addition. The new space has windows spanning two sides of the gym, allowing members to get great natural sunlight and a beautiful view of the city while getting fit. We have 11 pieces of cardiovascular training equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, an arm ergometer and a recumbent stepper. We also have plenty of resistance training equipment, from free weight to cable machines, for gaining strength and getting lean.

Has the new wing allowed you to add any additional patient services? What seems to be most appreciated by patients?

Yes, with the new space we are now able to expand our class offerings. With dedicated studios for music therapy, art therapy and dance movement, we can hold group fitness classes like boot camp, dance classes, BLT (butt, legs and thighs), toning and more in the yoga/fitness studio. We can also hold more yoga and mindfulness classes for people of various ages and abilities. Our new space has more storage room, so we can get the equipment necessary to make our classes even more fun and challenging.  We can now hold classes simultaneously that would have needed to happen in succession before. Patients seem to appreciate our new dedicated spaces and the possibilities that come with it.

What is the patient response to the new fitness center?

Patients are loving the new space! Many of them have been excited to see the new facility since the moment they heard it was being built. They say the extra room makes the space feel more airy and fresh, and they have also expressed that sunlight and views the sprawling windows provide allow them to enjoy their workouts just a little bit more.

How is the new wing improving the experience for staff and patients, alike?

Both patients and staff seem happier with the space. While they appreciated what we had before, our new space allows for more possibilities. Because the fitness center is larger, physical therapy has more room for patient treatment to proceed, while fitness center members are also enjoying their workouts. Our new office and breakout consult room will allow patients and staff more privacy when discussing their health history and goals with our fitness and physical therapy providers.

Photo credit: Halkin/Mason Photography
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