Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN)


Nutrition & Dietetics

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Dr. Lauri Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristen Hicks-Roof

Rights Statement


Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Lepore

Department Chair

Dr. Lauri Wright

College Dean

Dr. Curt Lox


Diet is increasingly linked with overall quality of life, and a healthy diet is now being considered one of the cornerstones of preventative care. Physicians rely on Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) as most doctors lack the nutrition knowledge to properly treat their patients, especially during their residency. Little published information exists on the specific collaboration of RDNs and resident physicians. This study aimed to determine whether mentoring with an RDN increased physician nutrition knowledge, increased consults to RDNs, and whether physician attitudes improved regarding their understanding of the role of the RDN in healthcare. Knowledge or attitude alone are not strong predictors of behavior; rather, the relationship between all three must be examined. This study employed a mixed-methods approach. Paired samples t-tests were used to analyze the results of a multiple-choice quiz and the Nutrition In Patient care Survey, while a one-sample t-test was conducted to measure change in physician behavior through referrals or consults placed to the RDN. One-way ANOVA tests were run to compare mean test results between the different resident years. Participants in this study reported a lack of knowledge of the role of the RDN, though not a lack of respect for the RDN. These data suggested that working alongside an RDN as a member of the interprofessional team may lead to improved nutrition knowledge. Residency is a critical opportunity for RDNs to make an impression on resident physicians and help them better understand the value of the role of the RDN in interprofessional practice.