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Clinical Nutrition

Many children with serious illnesses may have problems getting enough nutrients to help them stay strong and have enough energy. 

Clinicial nutrition staff member with a patient

Clinical Nutrition staff members support the nutritional needs of our patients so they can grow, stay at an appropriate weight, and do activities. Our team provides excellent care for our inpatients and outpatients who need medical nutrition therapy.

Our clinical dietitians provide nutrition education care plans for patients to support their nutrition needs and wellness during care, treatment, and beyond. We may also work with patients to help them eat healthier diets and monitor their progress. We also offer lactation counseling and support for mothers. 

Services we provide 

We provide a variety of services to meet the nutrition needs of our patients. These include: 

  • Therapeutic diets to help your child get the proper nutrients during and after treatment 
  • Help to manage the side effects of treatment, such as weight loss or gain 
  • Help with special feedings, such as enteral (tube) feeding, parenteral (IV) feeding, and special infant feedings (including donor human milk) 
  • Nutrition education   
  • Help with cancer prevention after treatment 

When to contact a dietician 

Contact a dietitian if: 

  • Your child has food allergies and problems  
  • Your child has pain when they swallow, chew, or suck
  • Your child gets nutrition with enteral (tube) feeding and parenteral (IV) feeding 
  • You are concerned about your child’s diet or nutrition
  • You have breastfeeding concerns 

You can contact your dietitian through St. Jude MyChart or by making a request in your clinic. 

Your Clinical Nutrition team 

Our team is trained to meet the dietary needs of our patients: 

  • Certified specialists in oncology care address the nutritional needs of cancer patients. 
  • Certified specialists in pediatrics make nutrient plans for growing children. 
  • Certified nutrition support clinicians give nutrition support through enteral and parenteral care. 
  • Registered dietitians and nutritionists with clinical nutrition degrees offer wellness and general nutrition information. 
  • International board-certified lactation consultants, certified lactation specialists, or certified lactation counselors offer lactation (breastfeeding) counseling and support. 

Nutrition research at St. Jude

Our Clinical Nutrition Services team is dedicated to evidence-based practice and research methods. We study the nutrition of patients during and after their treatment.

Many of our staff members do their own research to improve patient care. We also help other researchers design and develop nutrition-related studies. Our key research services include:

  • Studying the type and amount of food taken in (dietary intake)
  • Studying patient’s nutritional needs (nutritional status)
  • Measuring body fat and lean mass (body composition)
  • Studying the amount of energy a person uses at rest (resting energy expenditure)
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Group education
  • Studying changes to taste and smell during treatment

Get involved with clinical nutrition 

To learn more about getting involved in training and research activities, contact:

Karen Ringwald-Smith, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND
Project Manager


 Learn more