GDip Integrative Functional Nutrition

Integrative Functional Nutrition intro

  • Find out more about the Graduate Diploma in Integrative Functional Nutrition and credit bearing / CPD short course options
     

    A unique opportunity for healthcare practitioners: integrate personalised nutrition in your practice 

    As healthcare professionals increasingly face the challenges of lifestyle-related diseases, many have called for greater training in lifestyle interventions. In 2016, a group of prominent doctors wrote to the medical schools council stating that medical students and practising doctors should receive mandatory training in evidence based lifestyle interventions. Later, in 2018, it was reported in the national press that medical students said they learnt “almost nothing” about the way diet and lifestyle affected health. In one survey that looked at nutrition teaching and practice among medical students and doctors, most respondents felt that their nutrition training was inadequate, with more than 70% reporting less than two hours.(1) Only 26% of doctors were confident in their nutrition knowledge and 74% gave nutritional advice less than once a month, citing lack of knowledge, time and confidence as the main barriers.  

    Yet following a recent government review, commissioned in 2018 and published in 2021,(2) it was reported that doctors would be urged to recommend more non-pharmacological treatments, with at least 10% of prescriptions being pointless or possibly harmful.   

    This is where an understanding of integrative functional nutrition can play an important role.

     

     
    What is integrative functional nutrition?

    Integrative functional nutrition is an approach that can help healthcare professionals move their practice beyond a ‘one-size-fits-all’ perspective. Based on a whole-body approach, it focuses on addressing the underlying root cause of symptoms, with personalised diet, nutraceutical and lifestyle interventions being key.   

    Increasingly, research is finding that responses to food after eating vary widely, depending upon our individual unique biology.(3) Functional tests may also inform recommendations based on each person’s unique biology; such as genetic predispositions to nutrient deficiencies, gut microbiota profile, food allergies, hormone imbalances, and the impacts of stress, life stage, or environment — including exposure to toxins such as mould.  


    ION’s pioneering Graduate Diploma in Integrative Functional Nutrition, says ION Dean, Heather Rosa, DipION, FHEA, “is to meet the growing needs of doctors and other healthcare professionals who have been looking to bring personalised nutrition into their practices.”  


    Current student and general surgeon Dr Mayoni Gooneratne applied after seeing the course advertised and thinking it would be interesting. “It’s been fascinating. It is a lot of work, probably more than I had anticipated, but maybe that’s because of the disparity between my baseline knowledge and what I had to learn.” 


    She says that studying the course has already changed how she practises. “I’m having to relearn how to consult with my patients. That’s huge. But I wouldn’t go back. For my [female patients] who come to me wanting to talk about their hormones, I know it needs to be a 360 degree conversation. I know we will end up having to talk about their gut health, their sleep and their stress, because they will all have an impact.  “There is so much power in what we do, and it doesn’t have to be medicine led at all.” 

     
    The defining principles of integrative medicine 
    (4)

      •  Patients/clients and practitioners are partners in the healing process.  
      •  Factors including diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environment are explored.  
      •  Integrative medicine may use conventional and alternative methods, where appropriate.  
      •  Where effective, natural and less invasive interventions should be used whenever possible.  
      •  Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.  
      •  Good medicine is based on good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.  
      •  Broader concepts of health promotion and prevention of illness are paramount.  
      •  Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and be committed to self-exploration and self-development. 


    Why study with ION?

    CPD short course option 

    All modules taught on the Graduate Diploma are available as credit bearing and non-credit bearing short courses, for those with specific areas of interest. This means that applicants can also take one module/short course to determine their pace of study. In addition, by studying with us you can: 

      •  Receive high-quality, Level 6 training, tailored to doctors, allied healthcare and CAM practitioners, validated by the University of Portsmouth. 
      •  Learn to integrate the principles of evidence-informed nutrition and lifestyle approaches into your professional practice.  
      •  Expand your practice options. 
      •  Identify future practice development opportunities.  
      •  Use validated tools to enhance behaviour change.  
      •  Understand clients’ test results from a functional perspective.  
      •  Hone your clinical practice skills under expert supervision with our optional Clinical Practice credit bearing short course.  
      •  Study online with access to study skills resources and student support. 


    Download the prospectus to discover more about this unique qualification path.
     

    References: 

    1. Doi.org//10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000049 
    2. National overprescribing review report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
    3. Doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab132 
    4. Extracted from What is Integrative Medicine?: Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine (arizona.edu)

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  • Key facts

    Course codes
    C0502FTD (full-time) 
    C0502PTD (part-time)

    Award 
    Graduate Diploma

    Credits 
    120

    Duration
     

    1 year full-time
    2 years part-time


    Study time

    20 hours per week full-time
    10 hours per week part-time

    Entry dates
     
    February

    Tuition fees*

    £6,990 full-time
    £3,495 part-time

    * For 2021/22 academic year. Fees for subsequent years may increase in line with inflation