The Program Philosophy

What is meant by “systems thinking”? Can you give an example?

Systems thinking strives to see dietetics beyond the traditional silos of clinical, community and food service. A systems approach takes into account thinking from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. One healthcare example is in interprofessional (IPE) care and education. IPE engages students in learning opportunities that enhance their knowledge of the roles of other health professionals in providing care to the client.  By understanding the bigger picture, individuals have a greater opportunity to be more efficient and effective in their own role.

What is the intent of an integrated approach to dietetics?

The intent of using an integrated approach to dietetics in the MPH program is to provide students with a solid understanding of the standards of practice in community, clinical and management settings. By developing expertise in nutrition practice from a wide range of perspectives within the health system, from disease prevention to palliation, graduates of the program will be better able to meet the changing health landscape. As new dietitians they will be prepared to work across sectors, collaborate with others and think critically about solutions to complex challenges. The overall aim of the MPH in Nutrition and Dietetics is to foster a critical perspective that enables graduates to apply transferable skills across a range of practice settings.

How can I become more informed about clinical public health and systems thinking?

Here are suggested readings discussing these topics:

  1. Frenk, Julio et al. (2010). Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. The Lancet, 376 (9756), 1923 – 1958.
  2. Supplement. (2013). Is Public Health Ready to Participate in the Transformation of the Healthcare System? Healthcare Papers, 13(3).
  3. Watch this video by Dr. Aaron Orkin where he explains the advantages of clinical public health:

The Program Content

What kind of choice will I have for practica?

Two of Toronto’s world leading public health and patient care providers – Toronto Public Health and University Health Network – offer exceptional learning opportunities for student practica. In addition, the MPH program has many valuable partners in the community who will continue to support the program and provide experiential learning opportunities for students. These areas include not-for-profit organizations, government departments and agencies, food industry and other private sector organizations.

How much time do I spend in field work and practica?

Students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning through both field work courses and practica.

Field work: There are 3 Foundations of Practice courses throughout the program which will support student development of their skill set.

In Foundations of Practice I, students will be introduced to the health continuum and exposed to the wide spectrum of roles and settings for Registered Dietitians.

In Foundations of Practice II, students will be exposed to nutrition practice through 4 weeks of field work in each of population and public health; nutrition care; and management.

In Foundations of Practice III, students will have the opportunity to integrate knowledge and experience on a food management project using a food systems lens.

Practica: Students will complete 2 practica.

In the first practicum, students will further develop nutrition care competencies by spending 12 weeks immersed in a practice setting. There will be a variety of settings available including acute care, rehabilitation, long term care, community health centres and family health teams.

In the second practicum, students will have the opportunity to work on leadership and advanced practice by spending 12 weeks in a specific practice area.

Will I have opportunities to advance my skill set in a specific area of dietetic practice?

The philosophy of this program is that students will develop transferable skills that they can apply within the settings that interest them. All students will receive foundational exposure and immersion across the spectrum of dietetic practice. The final placement allows students to explore in depth and develop leadership skills within an area of personal interest in any dietetic practice domain.


What are you looking for in the letter of intent?

In up to 500 words (2 pages, double-spaced) please indicate the following:

  1. Your aspirations, learning goals and career plans.
  2. What impact you hope to have on the dietetic profession.
  3. How the MPH Nutrition and Dietetics program will allow you to achieve this.

Your complete letter of intent should not exceed 500 words.

Who reviews the application package?

Representation from each of the three partner organizations will be involved in all stages of the review process.

Are candidates interviewed?

Yes. After careful review of all applications, students will be selected for telephone interviews. If you are selected for an interview, you will be notified by email.


How will this program prepare me for the evolving health care system?

The changing health landscape calls for dietitians who are able to work across sectors, collaborate with other, and think critically about solutions to complex problems.  This program helps students build important professional and leadership skills while encouraging integration of practice across community, management and clinical settings.

What types of jobs will this prepare me for?

By gaining a solid understanding of standards of practice in community,  clinical and management settings, and developing essential leadership skills, graduates will play a pivotal role in the future of nutrition and dietetic practice.  Graduates can expect to be employed in any work setting where nutrition professionals are employed; such as public health and government agencies, hospitals and community health centers, not-for-profit organizations and the food industry.