Nutrition Toolkit



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.


Essential Nutrition Concepts for All PAs

If you’d like to offer more in-depth nutritional counseling to your patients, start with this free, AAPA-approved curriculum developed in partnership with The France Foundation and supported by Abbott Nutrition. Learn evidence-based guidance from PAs with nutrition expertise on topics like assessing a patient’s nutritional status, offering nutritional counseling, and developing a nutrition plan.

The Essential Nutrition Concepts for All PAs curriculum consists of three short animated videos, two interactive modules, and one presentation. Earn up to 3.25 credits of AAPA Category 1 CME for completing this curriculum in Learning Central. Begin building your knowledge base in nutrition today with this free curriculum!

Animated Videos

Nutritional Health Animated Videos logo

Watch How PAs Discuss Management of Nutritional Health

(.25 credits of AAPA Category 1 CME total)

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.

Image of first video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 1
Image of second video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 2
Image of third video in Discussing Nutritional Health series
Part 3

Interactive Modules

Interactive Modules Assessment of Nutritional Status logo

Assessment of Nutritional Status

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Darrin Cottle, PA-C, RD discusses the role of PAs in managing nutritional health, how to incorporate nutritional screening into routine patient care, and how to use appropriate tests to analyze nutritional deficiencies.

Developing a Nutrition Plan image

Nutritional Counseling and Developing a Nutrition Plan

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Ellen D. Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C, RDN, CDE discusses the nutritional needs of special patient populations, the role of nutritional supplements, and different approaches to nutritional counseling.


A Call to Action Presentation image

A Call to Action: Raising Awareness About Nutritional Health

(1 credit of AAPA Category 1 CME)

Ellen D. Mandel, DMH, MPA, MS, PA-C, RDN, CDE explains the role of PAs in nutritional health and gives a high-level overview of basic concepts in nutritional health as well as incorporating nutrition screening and treatment in patient encounters.

Nutrition & Immune Health

Nutrition Supports Immune Health

Quality nutrition is critical to support a healthy immune system. There is a strong relationship between poor nutritional status and compromised immunity. Patients who are at the highest risk for compromised immune health are those who do not get adequate amounts of food in their diets, do not have access to foods with key nutrients, are malnourished, or have certain health conditions that may require additional nutrition support.

Abbott, a trusted nutrition partner of AAPA, provides resources and science-based nutrition products with nutrients to help support patients’ immune health. Oral nutrition supplementation provides protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system.

According to Abbott Nutrition, there are 6 key nutrients to support immune health:

  • Protein is needed for the building of antibodies and immune system cells. In addition, some of the amino acids that make up proteins are important fuels for cells in the immune system.
  • Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect the body by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy.
  • Vitamin C helps the body build healthy skin and connective tissue, which help to block the entry of foreign microbes. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells (e.g., cells of the immune system) from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Vitamin D helps to activate immune cells and properly regulate function.
  • Zinc is needed for wound healing and for cellular production, which is important in the synthesis of new immune system cells.
  • Fluids and Electrolytes: Consuming adequate fluids (water) and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride help regulate the body’s temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that sick people need to drink extra fluids to keep from dehydrating.

Available Resources



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.

Nutrition Outreach Fellowship PA Foundation banner

PA Foundation Announces Nutrition Outreach Fellows

The PA Foundation recently selected 40 PAs from across the country to be a part of the new Nutrition Outreach Fellowship. Through the fellowship, PAs will 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.

Darrin Cottle

Optimize Nutrition to Support a Healthy Immune System

Although primary care PA Darrin Cottle, PA-C, RD, is not actively treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19, he spends lots of time counseling patients about the virus when he sees them in his clinical practice. They discuss testing, how long to quarantine, use of masks, and how to support a healthy immune system.

Two people talking

Asking Patients About Nutrition Can be as Sensitive as Asking About Sexual History

Healthcare providers know that good health starts with good nutrition. Nutritionist and diabetes educator Ellen Mandel, PA-C, DMH, MPA, MS, RDN, CDE, offers suggestions to PAs and PA students about how to talk to patients about nutrition.

Grocery store

PAs Ask the Experts Their Most Pressing Nutrition Questions

Nutrition experts Ellen Mandel and Corri Wolf took to Huddle to answer questions from fellow PAs. They covered a variety of topics, from how to talk nutrition with a patient in ten minutes to eating well on a budget.

Patient Education Resources

Patient Education Resources

Approaches to Optimize Nutrition

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.

Fast Facts About Popular Eating Plans

Fast Facts About Popular Eating Plans

From Ketogenic to DASH to Paleo, help your patients understand the benefits and considerations about popular eating plans and what studies are saying about their effectiveness. Provides an in-depth analysis of each plan.

The Power of Proper Nutrition

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.



Food for Thought: Reframing Nutrition With Patients

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

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.



How We Eat: The Current State Of Nutrition In America

Identifying and Helping Patients Make Small Shifts in Food Choices

Developed as a part of AAPA and Abbott Nutrition’s national collaborative, this free webinar will equip you to incorporate nutrition counseling into your everyday practice and educate your patients about improving their nutritional decision-making.

For practicing clinicians only.



2020 Clinical Education Series: Nutrition

Mark your calendar for these CME sessions at AAPA Conference and state PA chapter events across the country that will equip you to counsel your patients on nutrition. As part of AAPA’s Clinical Education Series on Nutrition, we’ve partnered with state PA constituent organizations to facilitate 1-hour nutrition sessions at their annual conferences.


Check out our list of confirmed sessions and add one to your conference schedule!

Location Link Time
Myrtle Beach, SC NCAPA Conference Session Date: Session Date TBD
Conference: Aug. 16 – 21, 2020
Albuquerque, NM NMAPA Conference Session Date: Session Date TBD
Conference: Sept. 10 – 12, 2020
Prescott, AZ ASAPA Conference Session Date: Sept. 26 at 10:15 a.m.
Conference: Sept. 23 – 26, 2020
Rye Brook, NY NYSSPA Conference Session Date: Session Date TBD
Conference: Oct. 15 – 18, 2020
Erie, PA PSPA Conference Session Date: Session Date TBD
Conference: Oct. 21 – 24, 2020


Tentative Agenda

  • The state of nutritional health and the role of the PA (10 minutes)
  • Test and diagnosis (5 minutes)
  • How to incorporate screening into routine patient visits: communication strategies (15 minutes)
  • Nutrition 101: What you didn’t learn in your PA program at school (15 minutes)
  • Treatment and supplements (10 minutes)
  • Q-&-A (5 minutes)

Supported by an educational grant from Abbott Nutrition.