Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine



The Nutrition Division, Department of Preventive Medicine (DPM), plays a major role in providing medical nutrition education and research activities. The Nutrition Division is responsible for teaching within the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) curriculum, conducting nutrition research in clinical trials and epidemiological studies and supporting other investigators and collaborators who wish to include a nutrition focus. The Nutrition Division has contributed to many local, national and international studies, nutrition guidelines and policy development and other projects that have had a lasting impact on public health and primary care services.

Educational Mission and Goals:

  • Contribute to the medical nutrition education effort within the NUFSM curriculum, specifically as part of the Health & Society thread, also within Medical Decision Making (MDM), Areas of Special Concentration (AOSC), and other aspects of the FSM educational effort

  • Contribute to the MPH/MSEB Program as needed regarding nutritional epidemiology education and training; also  recruit relevant nutrition speakers for local seminar series

  • Provide graduate (GME) level and CME nutrition education lectures and training, for MDs, RDs, and multi-disciplinary professionals within the T32

  • Provide community nutrition education service

Innovative Directions in Medical Nutrition Education:

  • Clinical Nutrition Medical Student Training Program: Through generous funding from the JR Albert Foundation, the Department of Preventive Medicine has developed a unique clinical nutrition education training program for NUFSM medical students. This project addresses dual objectives not typically included in most medical school curricula. Following online education in maternal-fetal nutrition, students are trained in providing nutritional assessment and diet counseling. The clinical nutrition training program provides nutritional assessment and intervention to underprivileged pregnant patients attending the Prentice Ambulatory Care (PAC) clinic. Under the supervision of a specially trained dietitian/preceptor, third year medical students are provided “hands-on” training in nutrition counseling by interacting with these patients. Healthy, pregnant, underserved patients are thus provided with nutrition education that would normally be unavailable to most of them, while simultaneously serving as a training ground for future physicians. The dietitian as the preceptor assures the overall quality and continuity of the program. Both students and patients have responded very favorably to this approach. Data are currently being collected to determine patient perception of the program and feasibility for applications for NIH funding.

  • Participate in the Keep Your Heart Healthy Project; teaching medical students the relevant nutrition and hypertension related background, diet assessment methods and diet counseling techniques needed to effectively interact with outpatients in the outpatient community setting

Nutrition Research Activity:

Clinical Trials

Maternal-Offspring Metabolics Family Intervention Trial (MOMFIT); funded by NHLBI/NIDDK as part of the LIFE Moms Consortium of 7 centers collaborating on the prevention of excessive gestational weight gain in overweight/obese pregnant mothers. Moms and babies (n=300) will be followed for 12 months postpartum.

Epidemiologic Nutrition Research

Continuing analyses regarding existing cohorts, CARDIA, WHI, MESA: HCHS:SOL; SOL-Youth include diet quality and calibration studies combining diet assessment methodology with biomarker measures.  Details follow:

  • Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Follow-up Study: ongoing research involving all of the post-menopausal women enrolled in the WHI.           
  • Diet Intervention Study in Children (DISC) follow-up studies on this multi-center collaborative trial on adolescents who had elevated LDL-cholesterol levels and were randomized to a fat-modified diet and followed for ten years.
  • Coronary Risk Reduction in Young Adults (CARDIA) follow-up analyses in this cohort now in its 30th year of follow up
  • International Study of Macro-micro-nutrients and Blood Pressure  (INTERMAP) ongoing nutrient analyses within this cohort of middle-aged adults from China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Inclusion of biomarkers and metabolomics measures is ongoing.
  • Hispanic Community Health Study: Study of Latinos (HCHS: SOL)  Multi-center, observational study  among Hispanic populations in San Diego, Chicago, the Bronx and Miami ; studying diet and lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors in this population
  • SOL-Youth is an ancillary study to the above HCHS: SOL study, funded by NHLBI. We are screening the offspring, children ages 8-15, of the HCHS-SOL participants. Lifestyle, including diet and physical activity as well as clinical measures, to help determine the risk factor development in this population and how parental influence, acculturation and other sociodemographic factors may influence cardiovascular risk in the children and their parents.

Program Director

Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD

We foster excellence in medical nutrition research and education aimed at reducing risk for chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

This page last updated Mar 12, 2014

Department of Preventive Medicine
680 N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312/908-7914
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