National Health Priority Toolkit:


Nutrition is one of four National Health Priorities targeted as part of a national movement for healthier bodies and minds.

The Growing Issue of Poor Nutrition

Proper nutrition promotes health and has a role in preventing and managing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Just as nutritional needs change over the lifespan, patients with chronic diseases need nutrition tailored to their specific medical conditions.

This toolkit seeks to equip PAs across all specialties and settings with the knowledge and skills to effectively address nutrition-related issues in their practice in order to promote optimal health for their patients. Use the resources here to earn relevant CME, improve patient care, advise patients and caregivers, and advocate for change.

Online CME

Addressing Obesity: A Community of Practice: Nutrition

Part of a series of activities on Addressing Obesity: A Community of Practice, this interactive real-world experience patient scenario will focus on how to interact with a patient about obesity when discussing eating patterns, preferences, family dynamics around eating, and food security.

Nutritional Needs in Older Adults

Malnutrition syndromes are being encountered with increased frequency in PA clinical practice across a wide range of medical specialties. This activity focuses specifically on the unique nutritional needs of older adults. Participants will learn how to assess macronutrient and micronutrient requirements.

Orthopedics and Nutrition: Moving from Strangers to Synergistic Partners

Nutrition is integral to overall patient health and well-being. Orthopedics has not traditionally placed an emphasis on nutritional intake and its effects on pre- and post-operative patients; however, research shows the importance of its role in the speed of recovery and as well as decreased complication rates. By implementing best nutritional practices into the flow of orthopedic practice, we can both enable overweight patients to obtain transformational surgeries while optimizing recovery and the ability to return to physical activities.

Chronic Disease and Nutrition: Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Patients With Cardiovascular Disease

Part of a series of activities on Chronic Disease and Nutrition, in this highly interactive, self-directed activity, expert faculty review the latest in nutrition for patients with cardiovascular disease. Topics covered include assessing nutritional health, heart and vascular healthy diets, and collaborating with patients.

Chronic Disease and Nutrition: Nutrition and Cultural Competence: Embracing Cultural Humility Enduring Evaluation

Part of a series of activities on Chronic Disease and Nutrition, in this highly interactive, self-directed activity, expert faculty review how culture effects nutritional health, including insights on collaborating with patients and case examples for review.

Programs & Events

Longwood Nutrition Seminars

The nutritionists and physicians from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital meet monthly to consider case discussions, cutting edge research, and practical clinical didactic topics of importance in the care of pediatric and adult patients.

Annual Harvard Nutrition Obesity Symposium

Each year the Division of Nutrition and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard (NORCH) select a ‘cutting edge’ topic in nutritional research to present. Authorities on this topic from North America and elsewhere are invited to present.

PA Foundation Nutrition Outreach Fellowship

The PA Foundation’s Nutrition Outreach Fellowship provides a way for PAs, especially those with an interest in community leadership, to receive special training and resources on nutrition to both enhance their clinical practice and to give back to their healthcare peers and the community at large.

FNCE 2023: October 7 – 10, 2023

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts to address key issues affecting the health of all Americans.

International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine: August 10 – 12, 2023

Improve your patient care with the latest nutrition research and practical tips, provided by 25 of the top global nutrition experts.

AAPA Annual Conference: May 18 – 22, 2024

The world’s largest PA (physician associate/physician assistant) and PA student conference and expo.

Tools & Resources

Nutrición para una Salud Óptima

The Gaples Institute has created this free web-based interactive nutrition learning program in Spanish for patient education. It consists of 5 learning modules, each approximately 15 minutes.

Nutrition for Optimal Health

The Gaples Institute has created this free web-based interactive nutrition learning program for patient education. It consists of 5 learning modules, each approximately 15 minutes.

Find A Nutrition Expert

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has created a searchable database of credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners by location, specialty, language or insurance and payment options.

Empathy and Patient Engagement

What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this animated 3 minute short, Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Healthy People 2030 Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Healthy People 2030 is our Nation’s 10-year plan to for addressing our most critical public health priorities and challenges. The nutrition and healthy eating goal is to improve health by promoting healthy eating and making nutritious foods available.

Watch How PAs Discuss Management of Nutritional Health

This 3-part animated video series led by Corri Wolf PA-C, MS, RDN, uses a patient case to explain the role a PA plays in nutrition, nutritional counseling, and treatment.

Nutrition Supports Immune Health

Abbott, a trusted nutrition partner of AAPA, provides resources and science-based nutrition products with nutrients to help support patients’ immune health.

5 Tips for Better Patient Nutrition Counseling

PAs are in a unique position to be leaders in nutrition management on behalf of their patients. Addressing nutrition in sensitive ways can have a significant impact on patients’ health. Here are five tips for PAs as they counsel patients on nutrition.

Holiday Eating Tips? You’ve Got This!

Holidays can be challenging for those who want to maintain their weight. Don’t let available holiday treats detract from overall healthy eating goals – yours or your patients! AAPA asked the PA Foundation’s Nutrition Outreach Fellows to share their best tips and tactics.

Take the Guesswork Out: Meal Replacement Study Results Can Help PAs Advise Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Meal planning is critical for patients with type 2 diabetes and PAs can be challenged to provide recommendations to help patients to manage blood sugar levels. A new study provides evidence to help PAs advise patients about sensible options for diabetes-specific meal and snack replacement.

Unlocking the Value of Nutrition in Your Practice

Abbott Nutrition recently cited PAs’ important role in nutrition care and in supporting healthcare metrics and key performance indicators that are critical for patient health. Matthew Wright, MS, PA-C, RD, commented on the research, nutrition care upon hospitalization and discharge, and calls to action for PAs.

Approaches to Optimize Nutrition

This brochure provides an overview of the benefits and considerations of 3 nutrition approaches: Macronutrient-based, Pattern-based, and Calorie-restricted, along with examples of popular diets that fall under each.

The Power of Proper Nutrition

Help your patients learn the basics of building a healthy diet, including how much of each food group to include in their daily diet. This two-page brochure also provides tips for making healthy substitutions for snacks that may be sabotaging their weight loss journey.

CDC’s Nutrition Data, Guidelines, and Resources

Educate yourself on dietary guidelines, state-specific nutrition data, and more, in order to inform your conversations with patients.

Practical Nutrition for Health and Wellness

Check out these videos from the PA Foundation that aim to enhance patient-provider conversations about nutrition and its role in overall health and wellness. Test your knowledge!

USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025)

This comprehensive publication includes four overarching science-based dietary guidelines as well as key recommendations for each stage of life.

Food for Thought: Reframing Nutrition With Patients

In this Vital Minds episode, PA Ellen Mandel, who began her career as registered dietitian, explains how to include nutrition conversations in your patient visits, keeping in mind issues like food access and cultural considerations.

Diet Dialogue: Approaching Patient Conversations Using National Nutrition Data

In this Vital Minds episode, PA Ashlyn Smith and Chris Taylor, PhD in Nutritional Sciences, explore some key findings from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Learn how you can use some talking points from the survey to make your nutrition conversations with patients more productive.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

Together, We Are Building a Movement

While our nation faces big challenges, they are not insurmountable. We all have a role to play.
Here’s how you can help.

Program Sponsors


Reach out about sponsorship, research, speaking, or programming opportunities.
Become a Partner


Let’s have a conversation about how PAs are addressing the behavioral and mental health crisis.
Contact Us