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The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

2020 ODS Practicum is Canceled

The 2020 Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum has been canceled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This decision was made with the utmost concern for the health and safety of our speakers and attendees.

We plan to host the 2021 practicum next spring and we hope that those who applied to the 2020 practicum will consider applying again next year. Please make sure to sign up for the ODS listserv to receive announcements regarding the dates for the 2021 practicum and when to apply.

We hope you will take a look at practicum presentation videos from previous practicum years which are available on our website to view and share.

We wish you good health and good spirits as we all embark on this unprecedented and challenging time.

Jaime Gahche, Ph.D., M.P.H.
ODS Practicum Director


The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a two and a half day educational opportunity to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements to faculty, students, and practitioners with a serious interest in this subject. This 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 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 hear from various stakeholders—the dietary supplement industry, consumer advocacy groups, and media—who study, advocate, regulate, or educate about dietary supplements.


This practicum is open to selected faculty, graduate students, and research practitioners in health-related disciplines such as nutrition, food science, pharmacy, pharmacology and pharmacognosy, exercise science and kinesiology, medicine, dentistry, nursing, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Preference will be given to candidates who are full-time academic faculty, research practitioners, doctoral students, postdocs, and fellows. Applications will also be accepted from health care providers and scientists with a master's degree or higher whose work involves research with dietary supplements, masters-level students, and students in allied health schools.

The practicum is limited to approximately 100 attendees so that we may provide a stellar environment for learning and interaction. We expect more than 100 applicants, so criteria have been developed for admission.


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


There is no cost to attend the practicum itself. However, room, board, and transportation expenses are the responsibility of each participant.