Featured Course: Health Claims and the Food Industry

Featured Course: Health Claims and the Food Industry

“We were helping a real company with a real task,” says Marissa Donovan, RD, N16, a student in James Tillotson’s popular Health Claims & the Food Industry course this past spring.  The course is designed to give students a real world business experience, Donovan says, at the same time exposing them to the vast possibilities within the nutrition communications field.

At the beginning of the course, students are divided into groups and assigned to work internship-style with major industrial food clients. They are tasked with tackling nutrition communications challenges unique to each company. In Donovan’s case, her group worked with the nutrition arm of General Mills, to develop strategies to communicate more effectively with millennials: “Our project started with gathering current research that exists surrounding millennials; specifically their values, purchasing habits, and health trends,” says Donovan. “We then conducted our own formative research, including key informant interviews, an online survey and a focus group. We pulled together all of this information and developed some key goals.” In the end, students come away with an in-depth understanding of what it takes to apply their nutrition knowledge, communications, and teamwork skills, in a real world setting.  

I believe Friedman is unique in offering students these types of opportunities; developing contacts for their future careers… 

The experience, according to Friedman Professor James Tillotson and the many students who have passed through the course, is invaluable. “I believe Friedman is unique in offering students these types of opportunities; developing contacts for their future careers… some students have been offered post-graduation jobs,” says Tillotson.

The course is designed to give students a real world business experience, Donovan says, at the same time exposing them to the vast possibilities within the nutrition communications field.

The Health Claims course reinforces the need for valuable nutrition communications, as well as the huge impact they can have, says Donovan. “Jim has a very unique teaching style….The class provides amazing exposure to professionals in the field, so we’re learning from different people with different opinions each week. Sometimes the opinions of our speakers even conflict with each other, which is very eye opening, and realistic considering real world application of nutrition and health communications.”

The Health Claims and the Food Industry course is offered every spring semester.

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