skip to navigation | skip to content
The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

2020 ODS Practicum

The next Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum will take place June 10–12, 2020 on the main campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

Apply Now

The 2017, 2018, and 2019 Practicum presentation videos are available to view and share.


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.