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Dietary Supplement Research Practicum 2008, June 9-13, 2008, Natcher Conference Center, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland Office of Dietary Supplements

The next Dietary Supplement Research Practicum will be held June 1-5, 2009. Please check back in January for further details and registration information.


The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a one-week educational opportunity to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements to teachers and their doctoral or post-doctoral students/fellows with a serious interest in this subject. This 5-day intensive practicum will provide a thorough overview and grounding about issues, concepts, unknowns, and controversies about dietary supplements and supplement ingredients. It will also emphasize the importance of scientific investigations to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and value of these products for health promotion and disease prevention and treatment as well as how to carry out this type of research.

Topics to be addressed include supplement use in the United States and reasons for use; the regulatory framework governing supplements; differences in bringing foods, drugs, and supplements to market; supplement quality; assessing the health effects of foods and supplements; and developing policies and advice about supplement use based on science. Participants will also spend a day in Washington, DC, to meet with various stakeholders—professional associations, media, the dietary supplement industry, and consumer advocacy groups—who study, advocate, regulate, or educate about dietary supplements. Participants will also learn about several databases that inform users about research on supplement ingredients, identify the contribution of supplements to total nutrient intakes, and provide data on nutrients and bioactive components in foods.


This practicum is open to faculty and doctoral-level students in all health-related disciplines such as nutrition, food science, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, exercise/kinetics, medicine, dentistry, nursing, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It is our hope that faculty will take the knowledge provided back to their institutions to provide more education on supplement issues, and that students and investigators attending the practicum might consider undertaking research on dietary supplements.


The faculty consists of experts from NIH, academic institutions, and federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


The practicum will be held June 9 through June 13, 2008 (Monday through Friday) at the Natcher Building on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Sessions from Monday through Thursday will be held from approximately 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Friday’s session will run from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

There is no cost to attend the practicum itself. However, room, board, and transportation expenses are the responsibility of each participant. A Metro (subway) stop is conveniently located on the NIH campus; limited parking for personal autos is available as well for $12.00 per day.

For your convenience, the Natcher Center has a full services cafeteria open to all meeting participants during the following hours:

Monday through Friday
6:30 am to 2:30 pm


6:30 am to 9:00 am

Lite Fare

9:30 am to 11:00 am


11:00 am to 2:30 pm

Special note: Security on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus is very tight. All vehicles are inspected before entry onto the campus. All visitors must present picture identification (i.e., driver's license, passport, government or military identification) to enter the NIH Campus. Please allow plenty of time because inspection areas can be very congested early in the morning. For information regarding campus security procedures, entrance to the NIH campus, and parking, please click here:


Advance registration is required, as space is limited. Initially, a department will be allowed to send up to ONE faculty member and ONE doctoral-level student to this practicum. Let us know if you have other individuals who wish to attend. Depending on the number of final registrants, we may be able to accommodate them.

To register, please mail, email, or fax the following information by April 30 to the address below:

  • the name(s) and full contact information for each registrant;
  • a curriculum vitae or resumé;
  • a one-page letter outlining why this practicum might be important to you in your career development and/or teaching activities;
  • a one-page letter of support from the relevant professor (if a student) or department chair or dean (if a faculty member). (For students only, we will have 15 awards available to help defray travel and per-diem expenses. Please note if you would like to apply for one and provide a justification.)

For additional registrants who would like to attend this practicum if space is available, provide the above information as well.

You will be notified in early May if you are accepted. Please apply only if you are sure that you will be able to attend the practicum if accepted for the full 5 days.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Régine Laroche, Practicum Coordinator
Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd., MSC 7517
Suite 3B01
Bethesda, MD 20892-7517
(For courier service, such as FedEx, UPS, and Airborne, use "Rockville, MD 20852" as the last line in the address instead of Bethesda)

Phone: 301-435-2920
Fax: 301-480-1845