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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 Bachelors 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.

Center for Nutrition & Performance (CNP)
Drexel’s Center for Nutrition & Performance provides students a hands-on learning experience through the development and implementation of nutrition education programs for members of the Drexel community.


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



Congratulations to all our College of Nursing and Health Professions graduates! The achievements of all of our graduates is a testament to their hard work and dedication to compassionate care as well as the outstanding preparation and guidance our esteemed faculty provided. I recall something Kimberly Allen, one of our commencement student speakers, said in her address. She believes that choosing to stop and be present in the moment with clients and peers far better conveys the empathy and kindness that are the hallmark of quality healthcare and teamwork. I would add that it also a hallmark of a College of Nursing and Health Professions education. 
It is our privilege to have mentored and worked with you. And it is to the benefit of all that we have learned from you as well. We are looking forward to celebrating all your future successes and, please know, that you always have a home here.
I would also like to share that the College of Nursing and Health Professions has gained oversight of a new Center — the Center for Food and Hospitality Management. The Center will house the BS programs in Culinary Arts and Science and Hospitality and the MS programs in Food Science and Culinary Arts and Science along with associated minors. Our nutrition sciences program already has a wonderful relationship with the Center and through this realignment, we are looking forward to deeper collaboration and enhancements to all of our programs.

Susan Smith, PhD
Interim Dean


Producing a commencement ceremony honoring all our graduates is a huge undertaking, months in the making and includes many, many volunteers, but it pales in comparison to the work the College of Nursing and Health Professions graduates did to earn their seat at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on June 12, 2017. Drexel University Provost Brian Blake, PhD welcomed our graduates and all who taught, nurtured and supported them along the way including their family and friends who made up their greatest support network. He commented about CNHP graduates having a higher level of capacity for knowledge, innovation and most importantly, for service to others. That theme, so deeply embedded in the curriculum of all the programs in the College, was highlighted in the speeches given by student speaker Kimberly Allen and Sueann Navarez-Brown and David Baiada, who delivered the commencement address.
Allen stated how humbling it is to be part of a person’s most difficult and vulnerable moments and how important it is to empower patients or clients to make the choices that matter the most to them. “Drexel’s programs have educated us to promote social justice and healthcare equality as we serve our clients in the various wellness/health pathways,” she articulated. She acknowledged that it is necessary to be skilled to be able to perform, but that it is far more important to choose to be present in each and every moment while with clients, to choose to be in service of others. 
Navarez-Brown, in her speech, noted that both faculty and classmates assisted each other in becoming the best they each could be by providing outstanding support and encouragement. However, sometimes it did require a gentle and loving push. Benefitting from the confidence professors and fellow students had in each other, she concluded that they are skilled and determined, able to learn from failure and equipped with a sense of service and success.
Nowhere is service to others better explained than in the keynote speech delivered by David Baiada. Baiada is the incoming CEO of BAYADA Home HealthCare, a company that brings vital services into homes across 23 states, India, Germany, South Korea and Ireland. Their staff of 50,000 nurses, home health aides, therapists, medical social workers and other healthcare professionals live the mission, vision and beliefs — the BAYADA Way — while caring for their patients. They put their clients first. They value their employees and they believe in building relationships based on trust, compassion, honesty and service. Baiada told a story of a client he called Mr. Jones who he visited in his West Philadelphia apartment.
Mr. Jones is an elderly man who, because of cerebral palsy, relies on his electric wheelchair as his lifeline to the outside world. When Baiada arrived for a visit, Mr. Jones took a while to answer the door as his wheelchair was inoperable and he was forced to drag himself with the use of his walker. Baiada carried him back into his apartment and helped him get situated all the while Mr. Jones, clearly agitated, ranted about his frustration. In order for him to safely stay independent and in his home, he uses BAYADA for his Medicaid-funded home health services. When his aide Mary arrived, who is completely in tune with his needs and anxieties, Mr. Jones was finally able to calm down. Mr. Jones is someone who represents so many of the BAYADA clients who struggle day-to-day living because of disease or illness and Mary represents the thousands of people who bring their clients comfort and compassion and facilitate a better quality of life for them.
The collaboration and coordination of care people have come to expect from BAYADA is most successfully achieved through interprofessional work. And Baiada noted that that kind of practice is purposely taught and demonstrated at CNHP because it is what is needed when dedicated to serving others. He learned many lessons over his career at kitchen tables in apartments like Mr. Jones’, but Baiada chose three to share with graduates.
  1. Listen closely, show empathy and respond to the needs of others. Helping others starts with a willingness to listen, connect, and tune in.  Your perception of their goals and needs might be biased or distorted by your own preferences, Making the most meaningful impact is dependent on your willingness to take the time to sit at the proverbial kitchen table and listen. 
  2. Set specific goals and work hard and efficiently to achieve them.There is no more powerful force than a clear goal.  You all are here because you set a goal to get your degree, and now as you look ahead, what will your next goal be?  I challenge you to think big, write it down, think about it often.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once you put it out there. 
  3. Be creative, flexible and determined. Reaching your goals will not come easy.  Like the patients and clients we care for, ups and downs are inevitable.  But I always find that those that are willing to think differently, adapt to change with an unrelenting determination will inevitably overcome almost any obstacle. 
Compassion, excellence and reliability are elements of The BAYADA Way and they are also what so many have learned as students in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Provost Blake, before introducing Susan Smith, PhD, interim dean, affirmed that the world needs those who received their diplomas that day citing that the long-term health and prosperity as a society depends on how graduates use their education.

Smith thanked graduates for the privilege of learning from them, mentoring them and working alongside them for as long as they had been at Drexel. She acknowledged University administrators and Stephen Sheller, a prominent Philadelphia attorney and Drexel University trustee. Smith thanked both Sheller and his wife Sandra, a creative arts therapies and couple and family therapy alumna, for their support of the College and the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University before presenting him with a gift for his service as a trustee.
Honoring accomplishment and excellence continued as exceptional academic achievement was recognized. Students designated Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude, as well as Pennoni Honors College students and the recipient of the Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award where acknowledged before the specific award winners were announced.
  • Harold W. Pote “Behind Every Graduate” Award – Donald Little of Pennsbury High School
  • College-level Outstanding Promise Award – Kendra Ray, PhD (Creative Arts Therapies) and Anniliese Marie Kummerle, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Teaching Assistant Excellence Award and Outstanding Civic Engagement – Leah Tsui, MS in Human Nutrition and Jessica Liu, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Outstanding Civic Engagement – Corinne L. Ellis, MS in Human Nutrition
  • Dean’s Award – Anne E. Woolley, BSN
  • Achievement Award – John Ghee, MHS
  • Community Service Award – Kevin Carrasquillo, BS in Nutrition and Foods
  • Clinical Service Award – Nahidah R. Rahman, BS in Health Sciences
  • Social Justice Research Award – Mariya Kesselman, MA in Art Therapy and Counseling
Graduates names were announced by Yasmine Awais, Beth Leonberg, Virginia Wilson, and Drs. Theresa Campo, Nancy Gerber, Stella Lucia Volpe and Linda Wilson with Dr. Michael Bruneau and Lauren Karch assisted with distribution of the scrolls.
Doctoral graduates earning degrees in Couple and Family Therapy, Creative Arts Therapies, Nursing, Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences were hooded by their supervising professors first. Then graduates earning Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling, Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling, Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Counseling, Master of Family Therapy, Master of Health Administration, Master of Health Science (Physician Assistant), Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Master of Science in Nursing (Advance Practice and Nurse Practitioner) were escorted to the stage. They were followed by the graduates who earned Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods. Once all graduated has been announced, an alumna for the classes of `90, `92 and `99 greeted the newest alumni — a long-standing tradition – to the more than 25,000 CNHP alumni.
To conclude a week of celebrations, CNHP participated in the University-wide commencement ceremony at Citizens Bank Park in the evening of June 13. All schools and colleges had the opportunity to hear the inspiring words of John Maeda — the global head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic, the parent company of Jetpack, WooCommerce, Longreads, and more. The night was capped off by a exciting display of fireworks sending Drexel’s newest alumni out in to the world to leave their marks for the betterment of society.


If there’s one thing that can be said about nutrition sciences Assistant Professor Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, it is that she is passionate about helping people. Her path to where she is today is an interesting and full of big experiences and a solid connection to nature. Milliron didn’t study nutrition at the University of Colorado at Boulder — her undergraduate degree is in environmental, population and organismic biology. Even though she worked in health clinics and had an interest in humans, she was drawn to the complexity, biodiversity and sustainability of the eusocial ant. By watching these social insects’ behaviors and understanding generational overlap, adult nest-building and brood care, she gained a unique perspective of human behavior, something that clearly influences her work today — especially her research around cancer diagnosis and healthy survivorship. 
In high school Milliron thought a lot about global health and how she would take her desire to save the world to developing countries and open health clinics. She found herself doing exactly that — helping out in clinics in Kathmandu and the mountainous Annapurna region. At one point she observed nurse-led community education workshops delivered to women from the area. “It was funny. We were in the basement of a hospital and they were teaching these women how to plant herbs and vegetables on their rooftops,” shared Milliron. “And I thought, ‘Oh, I should study nutrition!’ Everyone has to eat and it’s a way we can reconnect with nature and a way to wellness. It’s holistic,” she added. So back to the United States she went to register for classes and ended up with a master’s degree in human nutrition.
This route took her, not down the registered dietician path, but the corporate wellness and health education one. The corporate world gave her an opportunity to work in the community instead of the clinic, a place in which she had little interest working, but she felt that she was missing something. As it had served Milliron well in the past as a compass of sorts, when she feels that way, she travels. “I just saved up, went to Mexico, studied Spanish and reconnected with what it is I wanted to do,” she confessed. While there, Milliron volunteered with NGOs working to educate farmers in planting alternatives to corn, and in this case, amaranth. It was more than teaching them how to plant this 6,000 year old domesticated grain, it was showing women how to create recipes using it instead of corn, and importantly, why they would benefit despite amaranth being more expensive and less drought-resistant. Being part of this excited her — she wanted to do more to help, but Milliron didn’t know how to write grants nor did she have a PhD. “I went back to the States a got a PhD at the same school with the same advisor (who I still love), but the program was physical activity, nutrition and wellness,” she acknowledged. She strengthened her foundation in assessment, intervention, development of physical activity, sleep and other wellness behaviors, and despite her background and wanting to study malnutrition, agricultural issues and global health, she focused on obesity management and prevention specifically on the impact of the built environment and social factors. “I understood that health is so much more than biology, so I used this protected time to explore that,” Milliron explained. “And this work positioned me to pursue a postdoc that focused on cancer survivorship, healthy survivorship and nutrition,” she added. Working at Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center, she was able to expand her focus to incorporate the health of caregivers and its impact on survivorship. She is continuing that work here at Drexel. While she teaches both Community Nutrition and Global Nutrition — her favorite areas — her research includes garden-based education with kids, global health and exploring the role of nutrition and wellness and healing behaviors of healthy cancer survivorship. 
The opportunities Drexel has afforded her has allowed her to not only expand that area of interest to include how food-related beliefs, physical activity and preventive behaviors are affected in college-age children of parents with cancer diagnoses, but to also expand her approach to research. “Since I’ve been at Drexel, I’ve been able to start to understand mixed-methods approaches and hear people’s stories,” Milliron commented. “One of the studies that just started recruitment is at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. There’s a magical thing that happens with social support and connection. There’s a special bonding when they come together and share a meal and we have an opportunity to talk to caregivers and patients and collect data. We are trying to better understand beliefs that surround food, nutrition and discollectivity with the hope of developing interventions.”  While her work isn’t specifically nutrient-focused, she scrutinizes dietary quality and diversity which she finds a much more balance approach and at the core of a healthy lifestyle. 
To achieve that balance, it seems that much work has to be done to dispel myths around diets and to reacquaint people, especially in this country, with nature. Milliron, to that end, is partnering with organizations in a collaboration to deliver farm-based and cooking community education. The conversation doesn’t include nor is the goal weight loss. “This is about lifestyle and about learning to cook, to garden and interacting with nature,” she insisted. “We’re having to expose people to things like nature to make them less biophobic. This goes beyond living in an urban versus rural setting. It’s people who literally have never had access to green things and they are horrified of them,” Milliron pointed out. She loves garden-based education for this reason — because using nature and growing and even just playing or pruning is a way to reconnect with our environments and impact how we feed ourselves. 
When asked about some of the biggest issues we face now in nutrition, she singles out fad diets. “Once we start latching on to extreme behaviors that are limiting in some way, our balance and maintenance of dietary quality and diversity goes out the door,” she noted. The general principles for a well-balanced meal seem simple: keep it primarily vegetable based and be selective of the meats and processed foods we are taking in. However, when it comes to lifestyle as part of healthy behaviors, there is much more to it than food selection. There is a whole social connection. “I hope the value is put back into food being part of something we share together,” she stressed. “I think it’s important to remember that growing and sharing our food is such a sacred thing and people are starting to explore how to restore that sacredness.”
What are Milliron’s plans for the future? A continuation of her current work here at Drexel and an ability to focus more energy on nature-based healing would be chief among them. “I want to be able to assess and evaluate the use of a variety of methods like brain imaging and other methods I haven’t even identified yet,” she stated. Regardless of it being used as an intervention tool for respite with cancer caregivers, as an opportunity for learning about nutrition and foods with kids or environmental stewardship Brandy-Joe Milliron’s contributions to nutrition sciences will be recognized as a deep connection to nature. Maybe she will produce and effectively communicate irrefutable evidence that if the choices we make regarding nature, food and social behavior favor cooperative care, society as a whole will be healthier and better equipped to navigate the complexities of life much like Milliron’s eusocial ants.

By Roberta S. Perry

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