Education for Health

: 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 109--110

An online nutrition in medicine module: An important resource for medical students and physicians

P Ravi Shankar 
 Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Xavier University, Oranjestad, Aruba, Kingdom of the Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
P Ravi Shankar
Xavier University School of Medicine, #23, Santa Helenastraat, Oranjestad, Aruba
Kingdom of the Netherlands

How to cite this article:
Shankar P R. An online nutrition in medicine module: An important resource for medical students and physicians.Educ Health 2015;28:109-110

How to cite this URL:
Shankar P R. An online nutrition in medicine module: An important resource for medical students and physicians. Educ Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Sep 16 ];28:109-110
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Concern has been raised that the medical school curriculum does not provide adequate knowledge and skills related to nutrition for medical students, including the capability to counsel patients regarding proper nutrition. [1] In the United States (US), many medical schools offer clinical nutrition modules to students but it has been reported that students' perceptions of the importance of clinical nutrition can decrease during medical school. [2] A study conducted at Ben-Gurion University, Israel showed that both medical students and physicians agreed that nutrition education is important and should be introduced into medical school curricula. [3] The online nutrition module developed by the University of North Carolina has been adopted by many US medical schools. [4] Though certain aspects of the online module are specific to the US context, the module can be suitable for use in developing countries (with supplementation by faculty and use of other resources in certain topics) and can equip students and practicing clinicians with knowledge of nutrition and its importance in patient care. This knowledge also help physicians and their families adopt healthier nutrition and lifestyle practices.

The online module offers nutrition education for practicing physicians (NEPP) and an online nutrition in medicine (NIM) module for medical schools. At the Xavier University School of Medicine we have offered the online module to four cohorts of students as part of the Nutrition system (second semester students). The online module covers various topics ranging from nutritional anemia, nutrition to prevent cancer, eating healthy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, nutrition in diabetes, nutrition during various stages of life, obesity, pediatric obesity, sports nutrition, starvation, dietary supplements and a review of micronutrients. There are also short presentations on behavior change counseling, cachexia, dietary supplements, lifestyle management, dietary supplement interview, referral to a dietician among others. The site also provides desktop tools like pocket notes, nutrient recommendations and 'You Tube' videos.

Instructors can contact the faculty involved with the online module to tailor courses for their students. Students can then register and log in using their created user name and password. The instructor provides students with an access code to view the courses. The Table of Contents helps with easy navigation and each course also mentions the date when it was created and revised. The Help section provides the viewer with detailed instructions on using the course. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provides answers to common questions about the course. There are case studies and questions and each course in the module has an evaluation at the end. The module provides a list of important reading materials. The clean, non-cluttered design of the site makes for easy navigation.

Informal student feedback in our institution about the module was positive. Students were of the opinion that the sessions were well-designed and the module addressed important aspects of nutrition. We plan to obtain formal feedback during the next semester. The online module is free for practicing physicians, medical students and students of osteopathic medicine. The module can be accessed from


The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Ms. Adams Kelly, University of North Carolina with the online module.


1Dimaria-Ghalili RA, Edwards M, Friedman G, Jaferi A, Kohlmeier M, Kris-Etherton P, et al. Capacity building in nutrition science: Revisiting the curricula for medical professionals. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2013;1306:21-40.
2Frantz DJ, Munroe C, McClave SA, Martindale R. Current perception of nutrition education in U.S. medical schools. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2011;13:376-9.
3Shai I, Shahar D, Fraser D. Attitudes of physicians and medical students toward nutrition's place in patient care and education at Ben-Gurion University. Educ Health (Abingdon) 2001;14:405-15.
4Cooksey K, Kohlmeier M, Plaisted C, Adams K, Zeisel SH. Getting nutrition education into medical schools: A computer-based approach. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72 3 Suppl: 868S-76S.