The new degree prepares students to influence healthy changes in the U.S. population.
Bastyr University California is launching a Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness program that prepares students to serve as leaders in nutrition education.
In an era when obesity and related chronic diseases such as diabetes are on the rise, the need for professionals who can motivate groups to make positive lifestyle changes has never been greater.
Emphasizing a whole-food approach, Bastyr’s accredited program will begin in fall 2015 and train students to lead the wellness programs that have risen in popularity at workplaces, health care organizations, governmental programs, schools and senior centers.
“We wanted to come at nutrition in a new way,” says Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair of Bastyr’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science. “It’s about training people at a graduate level to understand the science behind nutrition. That prepares them to share about whole foods in a way that has integrity and accuracy.”
Students in the program will be preparing for a changing career landscape, with the Affordable Care Act placing an increased emphasis on preventive health. At the same time, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics predicts a potential shortfall of 18,000 dietetic professionals by 2020. All of this adds up to an increasing demand for qualified nutrition educators who can focus on teaching groups in a variety of settings and media.
"We launched the nutrition for wellness program because it prepares students to work at a key intersection," says Timothy C. Callahan, PhD, senior vice president and provost of Bastyr University. "Health care trends are increasingly moving toward preventive wellness, especially through nutrition. And Bastyr's strength has always been the prevention-oriented focus of natural health. Graduates of this program will have a lot to offer."
Future graduates of the program can go on to develop nutrition programs for grocery store chains, direct workplace wellness programs, produce cooking demonstrations or lead grant-funded public health projects. They will also be prepared to become entrepreneurs, using video, writing, blogging and consulting to bring nutrition information to others.
The common thread will be an ability to translate ever-changing scientific research into accessible information that can change peoples' lives.
The two-year graduate program becomes the second degree offered at Bastyr University California in San Diego, which opened in 2012 with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program whose enrollment has exceeded expectations. The campus added a spacious and modern teaching kitchen in 2013, along with newly expanded study spaces, classrooms, and library and laboratory facilities. Learn more about the campus.
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