Dr. Ashton Off Duty

Why I decided to go back to school???!!

Dec 3, 2013

This fall, I returned to my old stomping grounds, Columbia University- College of Physicians and Surgeons, to begin a program to get my Master’s Degree in Human Clinical Nutrition.  I have long since been interested in the impact of food and diet on human wellness and disease, but all of my knowledge heretofore had been self-taught.  I would read articles or books and educate myself little by little.  Finally, I felt that that was not enough.  On a daily basis, we see doctors discussing food and nutrition and nutritionists discussing health and disease but neither are fully credentialed to do so. Physicians are hardly taught ANY in-depth information on nutrition while in medical school and dietitians are not educated regarding the complexities of human physiology in wellness and disease.   I wanted to combine the best knowledge from the fields of medicine and nutrition to help people everywhere achieve their personal best.  My patients and my TV viewers have come to expect a certain level of academic expertise from me and I knew how I could deliver what they needed: I had to return to school! GULP. 

The program at Columbia takes place in the very same rooms where I was taught as a medical student! Talk about a blast from the past! In this program, we review everything from soup to nuts (sorry!) dealing with nutrition- from the basic and advanced biochemistry of proteins, fats and carbs to the latest hot topics in peer-reviewed journals on nutrition.  While the course takes place on one weekend per month (9-5pm both days), our reading assignments are extensive.  I will be beginning my own independent research project in january, which is required for the completion of this degree.  Along the way, I will be blogging and tweeting some interesting and fun facts that I am learning.  I would also love to hear your questions and thoughts as well!


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Jennifer Ashton MD