About the Department

Departmental Vision:
Faculty are leaders and innovators in nutrition. Graduates are positioned to be leaders in research, education, practice and service.

Departmental Mission:
To conduct research in nutrition science and dietetics, and to produce exemplary graduates empowered to influence human health.


History of the Program

As part of the School of Health Professions, the KU Department of Dietetics and Nutrition is located on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan. where students benefit from the opportunity to interact with a large number of health care professionals and leading researchers.

Dietetics and nutrition was first established at KU in 1943 at the KU Medical Center as an ADA-approved dietetic internship program. The program was directed by the department's first chairperson, Ruth Gordon.

Ruth Gordon talks with a man in classroom

At right: Ruth Gordon, RD, was director and chair of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition 1943-1972.

In 1962 the program began to offer a combined internship-master's program. In 1972, Elizabeth Frakes succeeded Gordon as department chair and the program became one of the charter members of the KU School of Allied Health (now named Health Professions) when it was formed in 1974.

In 1976, Bell Memorial Hospital plans were reviewed by Elizabeth McCune Frakes, MS, RD, Chair and Director, 1972-87, and James F. Halling, MS, RD, Chair and Director 1987-99.

At left: In 1976, Bell Memorial Hospital plans were reviewed by Elizabeth McCune Frakes, MS, RD, chair and director, 1972-87, and James F. Halling, MS, RD, chair and director 1987-99.

Jim Halling, MS, RD, took over the chair position in 1987 and served until 1999 at which time Janice Harris, RD, PhD, was designated interim chair. This was a time of great change on the campus, as the university and hospital components separated for the first time and The University of Kansas Hospital became an indepenent organization.

In 2001 the dietetic internship became a graduate certificate program and a non-thesis option was approved for the master's program.

Dr. Harris would continue on as official chair until 2005. She was succeeded by Debra Sullivan, PhD, RD. Sullivan, who first joined the department’s faculty in 1997, continues to lead the department today.

See Also:

About the University of Kansas Medical Center

University of Kansas (main campus in Lawrence, Kan.)

The University of Kansas Hospital

Last modified: Jul 18, 2013
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