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Authors

  1. Skipper, Annalynn PhD, RD, FADA
  2. Lewis, Nancy PhD, RD, FADA

Abstract

Some experienced dietitians are recognized by their colleagues as advanced medical nutrition therapy practitioners. However, a formal career pathway to advanced practice in dietetics has not been clearly defined. To assist in describing characteristics of advanced medical nutrition therapy practice, a model "Using Initiative to Achieve Autonomy" has been developed. Based on the model, a list of graduate medical nutrition therapy courses was developed. Almost 1,000 dietitians, their employers, and nutrition program directors were surveyed to assess interest in doctoral education in advanced medical nutrition therapy practice. This article reviews the results of the study which formed the basis of the model, then provides a perspective on interest of potential students, their employers, and selected faculty in a nutrition practice doctorate. The authors discuss demand for additional skill in medical nutrition therapy. They also acknowledge barriers to developing advanced practice doctorate degrees and suggest that advanced practice doctorates in clinical nutrition be located within academic medical centers to share resources with other health professions.