Why does the diabetes epidemic continue to climb both nationally and globally? What are food deserts and how do they impact a family’s nutrition? What exactly are the latest government guidelines for Americans? Registered dietitian–nutritionist Monique Dowd teaches her students that human nutrition is more than just about sustaining life, as it constantly is intertwining with the facets of behavior, emotions, culture, and society.

Penn Nursing faculty challenge every student to succeed and strive to let each student personally know that we are there every step of the way.


  • MA, Immaculata University, 1997
  • BA, Loyola Marymount University, 1993


Combining the fundamentals of nutrition and constantly evolving knowledge and nutritional research, Ms. Dowd helps undergraduate students understand why telling someone that an apple is a healthy food choice is altogether different from getting the person to eat that apple. In one course, students take part in an annual culture appreciation day to study how culture and religion impact food choices, and have opportunities to participate in community health and nutrition programs.  

Ms. Dowd teaches three undergraduate courses: “Fundamentals of Nutrition”, “Case Studies in Clinical Nutrition”, and “Nutrition in the Life Cycle”, which covers nutrition topics from pregnancy to eating disorders to special nutritional needs of the elderly. Though some fundamentals remain constant, she frequently revises her content to reflect changes in the nutrition field. 

Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing

A board certified specialist in gerontological nutrition and a certified diabetes educator, before joining the Penn Nursing faculty, Ms. Dowd taught at Drexel University’s nursing school and worked as the clinical dietitian at the Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) Program. LIFE is a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) that provides comprehensive medical, health, recreational, and social services to promote independence at home. Established by Penn Nursing, the program is now part of Mercy Health System and called Mercy LIFE. 

Outside the classroom, Ms. Dowd is involved in several collaborative efforts to connect Penn Nursing students with community programs that reflect nutrition or health-related themes. There’s the Fruit Stand program, an effort to get more healthy food choices like fresh fruit and smoothies into local elementary schools. Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnership, operates the Fruit Stand, with assistance from Community Champions, the outreach initiative that connects nursing students with the community.  Ms. Dowd also serves as a committee member of Healthy in Philadelphia, a collection of community programs that leverage Penn Nursing’s leadership to provide community-based services like blood pressure screenings, nutrition and diet information, breast cancer screenings, and more.  

In conjunction with Penn’s Netter Center, Ms. Dowd has developed a new academically-based community services component for her “Nutrition in the Life Cycle” course. The services component exposes Penn students to work directly with residents of West Philadelphia with respect to educating them on making healthy food choices. 

Selected Career Highlights

Co-Author, “Effects of a Low-Intensity Intervention That Prescribed a Low-Carbohydrate vs. A Low-Fat Diet in Obese, Diabetic Participants,” Obesity.  

Accepting Mentees?

  • No

Accepting Fellows?

  • No

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