skip to navigation | skip to content
The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

Applications Are Now Being Accepted

June 4–7, 2013
National Institutes of Health
Natcher Conference Center, Building 45
(on NIH Main Campus in Bethesda, MD)


The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a 4-day educational opportunity to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements to faculty, students, and practitioners with a serious interest in this subject. This intensive practicum will provide a thorough overview and grounding about issues, concepts, unknowns, and controversies about dietary supplements and supplement ingredients. It will also emphasize the importance of scientific investigations to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and value of these products for health promotion and disease prevention as well as how to carry out this type of research.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • supplement use in the United States and reasons for use;
  • the regulatory framework governing supplements;
  • differences in bringing foods, drugs, and supplements to market;
  • supplement quality;
  • assessing the health effects of foods and supplements; and
  • developing policies and advice about supplement use based on science.

Participants will also meet with various stakeholders—the dietary supplement industry, consumer advocacy groups, and media—who study, advocate, regulate, or educate about dietary supplements. Participants will also have the option to take a guided tour of the NIH.


This practicum is open to selected faculty, students, and practitioners in health-related disciplines such as nutrition, food science, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, exercise/kinetics, medicine, dentistry, nursing, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Primary candidates are full-time academic faculty, doctoral students, postdocs, and fellows. Applications will also be accepted from health care providers and scientists with a masters degree or higher whose work involves dietary supplements, masters-level students, and students in schools of medicine and dentistry and nursing.

The practicum is limited to approximately 80 attendees so that we may provide a stellar environment for learning and interaction. We expect more than 80 applicants, so criteria have been developed for admission.


The faculty consists of experts from NIH, academic institutions, federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and practicing stakeholders.


There is no cost to attend the practicum itself. However, room, board, and transportation expenses are the responsibility of each participant. Students may also apply for a travel award to attend.