Resources for Medical Students

The Physicians Committee

Legislative Focus

Resources for Medical Students


Dr. Mark Hyman talks to Georgetown Medical School’s Dr. Matt Levy and a student at the ENRICH briefing on Capitol Hill.

Does your school integrate nutrition into the core curricula? If you're not sure, click here for a list of  U.S. medical schools that offer nutrition and physical activity education for students.

Don't see your school? Write to your dean today. You can use this template to get started:

Letter for Doctors and Medical School Students:

[dean’s name]
Dear [dean’s name],
As an [alumnus/alumna/student] of [program Y], I’m writing to encourage the further integration of nutrition and physical activity into [school]’s curricula. Nutrition and physical activity is an essential part of medical education, especially with today’s chronic disease epidemic and demand for preventive health care. As doctors, we need to educate patients about the critical link between diet, physical activity, and overall health.
Seven out of the top 10 deaths in the United States are caused by illnesses—including heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes—that can be prevented and treated through lifestyle changes. One way to combat this rising epidemic is to provide doctors and medical students with up-to-date training.
[Insert a few sentences about your experience at your school. Was nutrition taught? If so, was it sufficient?] Nationwide, medical schools are in a curriculum crunch. But as medical schools move toward preventive and lifestyle approaches in medicine, they are not prioritizing instruction in nutrition and physical activity. In fact, just 27 percent of medical schools meet the minimum requirements for nutrition education each year. It’s no surprise then that more than half of graduating medical students rate their nutrition knowledge as inadequate.

The resulting impact is that although 94 percent of doctors feel nutrition counseling should be part of primary care, only 14 percent feel qualified to offer it. Surveys indicate that patients still consider their doctors the most credible sources of nutrition information. The same is true for physical activity: While the majority of medical school deans rank exercise prescriptions as important, only 13 percent of medical schools integrate it into the curricula.
Healthy People 2020—the federal government’s framework for a healthier nation—includes goals to increase the proportion of physician office visits that include counseling on nutrition and physical activity. Less than 25 percent of primary care visits currently meet this goal. As health care providers, we are failing to uphold this duty, instead resorting too often to surgery and drugs that don’t address the underlying issue of chronic disease.
[In my own practice, I have seen patients dramatically improve their health by adopting a healthful diet and exercise regimen. I believe that everyone in America suffering from chronic disease deserves the same opportunity.]
Nutrition and physical activity are cross-cutting subjects that can be integrated into hands-on learning across the curricula, from medical school to residency and continuing medical education (CME) coursework. Please make [school] a leader in the effort to address our country’s most pressing health care crisis.
For nutrition instruction, a free Nutrition in Medicine school training module, which receives high accolades from former medical school students, is available at
Thank you for your consideration,
[your name]
Thank you for your consideration,
[your name

Email or mail a copy of your letter and contact your member of Congress today.