The Institute for Functional Medicine introduces its new program focusing on functional nutrition for chronic disease prevention and management.

The Institute for Functional Medicine announces an exciting new program!

Applying Functional Nutrition for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management: Bridging Nutrition and Functional Medicine in 21st Century Health Care 

The program will address several complementary needs:

  • The primary causes of the chronic disease epidemic are unhealthy diet and lifestyle patterns; thus, we must develop effective dietary and lifestyle solutions.
  •   Improving both management and prevention for chronic disease patients requires better tools and intervention strategies, and   serious collaborative efforts between physicians and nutrition professionals.

Food is intimately connected to life, to health, and to disease/dysfunction. Surely there can be few things more important to patients than integrating the practice of nutrition into clinical care models. Physicians alone cannot provide the detailed knowledge, planning, support, and counseling for changing eating behaviors to maximize health and minimize disease. And nutritionists cannot provide optimum services to patients without effective cooperation from well-informed physicians. Neither can do the best possible job without the other.

Functional medicine provides not only the scientific and structural groundwork for improving how we prevent and manage chronic disease, but also the principles, language, and clinical applications that underlie competent integrated healthcare teams. It is not surprising, therefore, that IFM should lead the way in training physicians and nutritionists to collaborate effectively for the benefit of their patients.

Applying Functional Nutrition will benefit nutrition professionals who plan to incorporate a functional approach into their practices and primary care providers with functional medicine experience who wish to integrate nutrition into their practices (or deepen expertise they already have). Practitioners who are encouraged to attend include MDs, DOs, NDs, DCs, DOMs, RDs, CCNs, CNSs, RNs, nurse practitioners, PAs, pharmacists, medical school and residency program faculty, and nutrition faculty. Recognizing that attendees will have diverse healthcare backgrounds, IFM will offer supplemental materials at no additional charge to participants. Suggested readings, supplementary webinars, and extra workshop sessions are planned, including a 2-hour session the evening before the course begins in which the fundamentals of functional medicine and the role of functional nutrition in chronic care will be reviewed to assist those who may need additional preparation.

The course will be practical and interactive; a combination of lectures, case studies, and how-to demonstrations will be offered. The content focus will be on using an assessment of the patient’s nutritional status to form a functional nutrition diagnosis and to develop effective interventions for the chronic diseases and conditions most often encountered in primary care practice. The steps in the process are nutrition-related assessment, diagnosis, and intervention, followed by monitoring and evaluation of outcomes. Food, dietary supplements as appropriate, and other lifestyle approaches will be the major tools used to restore health. Nutritional genomics and the use of genetic testing will be part of the nutrition assessment.

Among the many specific topics included in the curriculum are a functional nutritional approach to weight loss and weight management, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, food allergies, and fatigue. The intent of the course is to provide a science-based framework for applying nutrition in a way that promotes health, and to provide attendees with useful resources, from handouts to menus and recipes.

Desired Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, attendees will be able to:
  Conduct a nutrition assessment using the Nutrition Care Process
  Arrive at a functional nutrition diagnosis based on the nutrition assessment
  Develop an effective intervention appropriate to the diagnosis
  Monitor the efficacy of the intervention
  Evaluate and make necessary adjustments to increase the efficacy of the intervention
  Map the nutrition status information back to the functional medicine matrix
  Develop a plan for integrating functional nutrition into their practices
  Function as valuable members of chronic care teams that include both physicians and nutrition professionals

A dynamic, experienced, multidisciplinary faculty team has developed and will present this course:

Ruth DeBusk, PhD, RD is an experienced functional nutrition clinical dietitian and former genetics and molecular biology researcher and university professor. Her varied clinical and research experiences have focused on nutrition, genetics, and nutritional genomics. She is an author, speaker, and developer of academic curricula in those areas.

Kristi Hughes, ND is medical director for the Dynamic Healing Center in Alexandria, MN, an integrative clinic offering naturopathic and lifestyle medicine through a functional medicine paradigm. Dr. Hughes lectures internationally on strategies for managing chronic disease through therapeutic lifestyle change. She is Associate Director of Medical Education at The Institute for Functional Medicine. 

Elizabeth Boham, MD, RD, MS practices functional medicine at The Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox, MA. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition and practiced as a registered dietitian before attending medical school. She brings 20 years’ experience working in the field of nutrition, creating a unique perspective on integrating nutrition into a successful medical practice. 

Michael Stone, MD, MS is a board-certified family physician practicing functional medicine in Ashland, OR. His undergraduate and graduate degrees are in human nutrition. He has been a member of the core faculty at The Institute for Functional Medicine for several years, and has many nutrition-related interests.

Mary Willis, RD, CDE is Director of the Nutrition and Wellness Department for a large, multi-site family practice clinic in the Kansas City metro area. She co-directs a functional medicine clinic with a physician/dietitian/physical therapist team within this practice.

Join IFM December 10-12, 2010 at the Westin Diplomat (Hollywood, FL) for an innovative and creative approach to integrating nutrition into your clinical practice and to building effective physician-nutritionist clinical teams. For registration and more information, go to or call IFM at 800-228-0622.