Neonatal Nutrition Practicum

The 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 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 to six dietitians for each one-week practicum, held annually. The next available session is May 6-10, 2019.

Program objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn about nutrition assessments and incorporating 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
  • 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

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

Session date: May 6-10, 2019
Application deadline: Feb. 4, 2019

Session date: April 27-May 1, 2020*
Application deadline: Feb. 3, 2020*

Session date: April 26-30, 2021*
Application deadline: February 1, 2021*

* NOTE: Session dates and application deadlines are subject to change.

Please download and complete the Neonatal Nutrition Practicum application form and email it to along with 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.

Submitted applications do not guarantee enrollment. All applications will be reviewed, and four to six participants will be selected and notified.

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:

Toni Pert, MS, RD, CSP, LDN
Neonatal Dietitian & Neonatal Nutrition Practicum Coordinator
Neonatal/Infant Intensive Care Unit
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia



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, RD, CSP, LDN 
  • Chelsea Schulman, MS, RD, LDN

Medical advisor

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

CHOP faculty

  • Christina B. Bales, MD
    Medical Director, Intestinal Rehabilitation Program
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • 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
  • Ursula S. Nawab, MD
    Associate Medical Director of Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit
    Associate 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