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Building a healthier future

Students in Masters of NSD pose for picture with Janet King

Students in the Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics program pose for a photo with Janet King (center) and former and current faculty during the dietetics program’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Photo by Mathew Burciaga.

Rausser College of Natural Resources celebrated the 50th anniversary of its accredited dietetics programs last November, recognizing the faculty, staff, and alums who have shaped nutritional research, policy, and practice at UC Berkeley and beyond. Launched in 1971 as a Coordinated Program in Dietetics by the Department of Nutritional Sciences and continued today as the Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics (MNSD), these programs build on the legacies of faculty like Agnes Fay Morgan, Doris Calloway, and Sheldon Margen to teach students how to promote health and wellness by applying nutritional and dietetic research in clinical and community settings.

Professor Emerit Janet King, PhD ’72 Nutritional Science, served as the Coordinated Program’s inaugural director and helped develop its curriculum, which provided graduates with both theoretical and experiential training. She also established partnerships with local hospitals—relationships the department retains to this day—that provided students with opportunities for clinical rotations and eliminated the need for a separate postgraduate dietetic internship. “We became the national model for establishing similar coordinated programs at other universities,” she said. Faculty including Pat Booth, Nancy Hudson, Susan Oace, and Allison Yates helped manage the program as it grew.

A Didactic Program in Dietetics replaced the Coordinated Program in 1991. Students in the new program were able to complete the dietetics curriculum but had to independently apply for a dietetic internship after graduating. An Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway, which serves as an alternative to a traditional internship, was added in 2017 to help students complete their final credentialing steps.

Nutritional science faculty circa in 1973

The Nutritional Sciences faculty circa 1973. Standing, from left: George Briggs, Sheldon Margen, Robert Stokstad, Janet King, George Chang. Sitting, from left: Doris Calloway, Maynard Joslyn, Barbara Kennedy, Richard Lyman.

Image Courtesy of Dept. of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology.

This year, Rausser College welcomed the first cohort of students enrolled in the MNSD program. Developed to satisfy new graduate-level requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the MNSD merges the department’s focus on biological sciences and metabolic biology with the training that students need to become clinicians capable of applying concepts relating to the metabolic regulation of health and disease. “Graduates of our dietetics programs are highly trained in the foundational sciences by leading experts in the field, which sets them down the path to be strong science-minded and evidence-informed dietitians,” said Assistant Adjunct Professor Mikelle McCoin, who directed the Didactic Program for 12 years and now leads the MNSD.

These graduates of the last five decades have used their comprehensive education and hands-on training to excel as dietitians in hospitals, public schools, community health centers, and other settings; pursue advanced degrees; or conduct nutrition-related policy and advocacy work. “Our nutrition and dietetics program is an important part of the College’s mission to serve the people of California, the nation, and the world,” said Rausser College Dean David Ackerly. “We are incredibly proud of our faculty and alums for making a difference in the lives and communities of the populations they serve.”

Read a longer history of the program on the Rausser College website. 

Beginning this fall, UC Berkeley will offer two dietetics programs: the clinically-focused MNSD, and a new MPH program developed by the School of Public Health that focuses on public health nutrition, policy, and food systems and includes a Dietetic Internship.