IU School of Medicine



The student will spend 4 days per week in the obesity clinic. Here they will have the chance to see new patients, active weight loss patients, and maintenance patients. They will have an opportunity to see some patients independently as they become comfortable. There will be a wide exposure to co-morbidities including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Learning to use nutritional therapy as medicine and making appropriate medication adjustments including insulin, will be an important focus. They will also have the opportunity to observe our research group and interact with our research staff. Our research project is a 2 year study on the effect of a ketogenic diet on diabetes or prediabetes. We see patients in large group 10 - 15 so it will provide an opportunity to see group interaction as well as more detail on this nutritional approach for disease management. A nutrition related project decided upon the first week will be completed during this time. The project may be a literature review of a specific diet intervention, creation of patient education material, or a micronutrient review.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Donna Fulkerson (drf.@purdue.edu)

Director: Sarah Hallberg, D.O.

Campus: West Lafayette

Location: IU Health Arnett Hospital (Lafayette)

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Describe the causes and consequences of obesity (MK2)
  • 2) Discuss basic nutrition science including macro and micro nutrients (MK1)
  • 3) Explain the role of dieticians in the care of patients being treated for obesity (SBP1)
  • 4) Build a personalized nutrition plan (PC3)
  • 5) Describe common barriers to successful weight loss including psychosocial issues and how to help patients work through these to achieve success (MK7)
  • 6) Assist with managing the diabetic safely through weight loss, including how to adjust medication frequently to avoid blood sugar swings (PC3)
  • 7) Recommend weight loss medication when appropriate and describe side effects and contraindications (MK4)


  • Clinical Performance Evaluation Form; (Observation of clinical interactions, Review of written project by course director, or dietician)

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th year

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 40

Time Distribution: 80% Clinical, 20% Library/Research

Elective Type Category: CP - Clinical Practice

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Donna Fulkerson (drf.@purdue.edu) THIS ELECTIVE DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE INITIAL SENIOR MATCH Contact Donna Fulkerson 765-496-7973 or drf@purdue.edu 8 weeks prior to enrollment.

Third Year Elective? Yes

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: Yes

Skills Description: We will have the opportunity for students to be involved with PhD dieticians as part of the research experience.

Service Learning Included: None