Neonatal Nutrition Practicum

Th Neonatal Nutrition Practicum is designed for dietitians who are new to the neonatal setting. The program includes on-site experience in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) and the clinical nutrition department at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Participants interact with CHOP staff including neonatal dietitians, neonatologists, surgeons, speech therapists and lactation consultants during lectures and daily multidisciplinary care rounds.

Enrollment is limited to four dietitians for each one-week practicum, held annually. The next available session is April 25-29, 2016

  • Program objectives

    Participants will:

    • Complete nutrition assessments and incorporate a nutrition plan of care for preterm and at-risk infants. This will include enteral and parenteral nutrition support; acid-base balance; nutrition care specific to patient diagnosis, including, but not limited to:
      • Necrotizing enterocolitis
      • Respiratory distress syndrome
      • Chronic lung disease
      • Osteopenia of prematurity
      • Short bowel syndrome
      • Abdominal wall defects
    • Increase knowledge base regarding historic and current research recommendations related to nutrition care of preterm infants
    • Be able to accurately calculate actual intake and formulate nutrition care recommendations
  • Practicum highlights

    Nutrition assessment of the neonate

    Measurement techniques and growth charts; energy, nutrient and fluid requirements; physiological, developmental and nutritional implications associated with prematurity

    Parenteral nutrition in the neonate

    Macronutrient, micronutrient and electrolyte provision; central versus peripheral access routes, laboratory monitoring; potential medical and surgical complications; and current research recommendations

    Enteral nutrition in the neonate

    • Access sites; contraindications to enteral feeding; and feeding selections/indications, such as breast milk, donor breast milk, breast milk fortification and infant formula selection
    • Volume initiation, advancement and goals; intake and nutrient calculations; formula fortification and recipes; formula preparation guidelines for healthcare facilities; and monitoring of enteral intake tolerance

    Disease management of the high-risk neonate

    Respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, cholestasis, patent ductus arteriosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, osteopenia of prematurity, gastrointestinal anomalies and other anomalies with nutrition implications


    Drug-nutrient interactions and medications commonly used in the NIICU.

  • Continuing education accreditation

    The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) accredited provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Registered Dietitians will receive 26 continuing professional education credits (CPEUs) for completion of this program.

  • Application process and deadlines

    Upcoming session dates and application deadlines:

    April 25-29, 2016Feb. 1, 2016
    April 24-28, 2017Feb. 1, 2017

    Please download the Neonatal Nutrition Practicum application form, Send the completed form, your resume or CV and a letter of recommendation from your supervisor by the deadline for the session you wish to attend. You may also provide a letter of recommendation from a neonatologist; however, this is not required.

    The registration fee for the one-week course is $500, in addition to the cost for lodging, meals and travel. Information on lodging within walking distance to the hospital is available. Do not send registration fee with your application.

  • Contact information

    For further information, please contact:

  • Faculty


    • CHOP N/IICU clinical dietitians
    • Dana Bartholomew, RD, CSP, CNSC, LDN
    • Meg Begany, RD, CSP, CNSC, LDN
    • Emily Bingham, RD, CNSC, LDN
    • Elizabeth Paul, RD, CSP, CNSC, LDN
    • Toni Pert, MS, RN, CSP, LDN 

    Medical advisor

    • Kathryn Maschhoff, MD, PhD
      Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 

    CHOP faculty

    • Thane A. Blinman, MD, FAAP
      Assistant Professor of Surgery
      Associate Director, Trauma Surgery
      Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Division of General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery
    • Andrew C. Calabria, MD
      Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
    • Natalie E. Rintoul, MD
      Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 
      Medical Director, Neonatal ECMO
    • Rachelle Lessen, MS, RD, IBCLC, LDN
      Advanced Practice Dietitian/Lactation Consultant
    • Julia Welc, MA, CCC/SLP
      Senior Speech-Language Pathologist

Reviewed on September 03, 2015