Areas of Interest
The Geriatric Nutrition emphasis consists of elective specialty courses in geriatric nutrition, independent study in geriatrics, a clinical practicum and a thesis or special project in geriatric nutrition under the direction of researchers and clinicians in the Department of Geriatrics, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS). Among the first funded of the 22 GRECC units in the nation, the CAVHS unit in Little Rock has achieved national recognition for excellence in its research, clinical, and educational programs. The Donald W. Reynolds Institute was established to house the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics. This program has become one of the most recognized geriatric centers in the nation. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the Department of Geriatrics as one of the top ten academic programs in Geriatric Medicine.
The Pediatric Nutrition emphasis consists of elective specialty courses in nutrition, independent study in pediatric nutrition, and research projects. Research projects by registered dietitian graduate student investigators may be conducted at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the sixth largest pediatric hospital in the United States. This hospital serves as the primary pediatric teaching facility for the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and for the College of Health Related Professions. The Department of Clinical Nutrition hospital staff provides nutrition education for health care professionals who complete training at UAMS. Clinical care is provided in a wide range of medical specialties, ranging from developmental pediatrics and general pediatrics to gastroenterology, surgery, organ transplant, neonatology, endocrinology, and metabolic disorders. Outpatient clinics serve over 200,000 children per year in various specialty clinics. The staff works closely with KIDS FIRST, a joint venture of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pediatrics. The KIDS FIRST program provides intensive, medically directed, early intervention for children 6 months to 4 years of age. Other state agencies, such as the Arkansas Department of Health Children’s Medical Services and the WIC program, provide opportunities for community pediatric care and research.
Nutrition and Health Promotion Wellness Emphasis
The Health Promotion and Wellness emphasis consists of elective specialty courses in health, wellness and sports; independent study in health promotion, nutrition counseling, and sports; a clinical practicum in wellness or health promotion setting and a research thesis or project involving counseling or education in health promotion, especially aimed at meeting the nutritional needs of Arkansans. Clinical practicum may be done in a variety of settings including ambulatory clinics, Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), State Health Department clinics, various hospitals, fitness centers or other public health settings. Additional opportunities for community-based education and research exist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and the Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. The Arkansas Rural Hospital Interactive Compressed Video Network provides technology for the delivery of nutrition counseling and continuing education.
Community nutrition is an evolving process, continually faced with new challenges. Students will learn different aspects of community nutrition by understanding (1) the way individuals learn (2) how they are motivated to change their behaviors and (3) the interaction of nutrition with lifestyle, environment, and health care. By understanding and addressing the needs of populations of various cultures, ages and educational levels, in different types of settings, the nutritionist will be able to develop successful programs and services.