Loma Linda University will become the first Southern California school to offer a doctoral program in plant-based nutrition when it launches its new PhD program this fall. The program will align with accreditation requirements set forth by the Council on Education for Public Health and will supplant the school’s existing Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. Students will focus on several areas of study including nutritional epidemiology, the impact of dietary choices on the environment, the effects of plant-based nutrition on disease prevention, and community nutrition. Students will also engage in clinical trials to determine the long-term effects of plant-based foods, particularly nuts and soy, on overall health. “The refocused curriculum and degree offering are part of the school’s new strategic direction,” program director Sujatha Rajaram, PhD said. Last year, the University of California, Berkeley added two courses that challenged students to explore new technologies to innovate plant-based foods, including the “Plant-Based Seafood Collider” class which resulted in the launch of Terramino Foods—a plant-based seafood startup that raised $4.25 million in seed funding in June.  

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