Hone Your Nutrition Skills in an Interdisciplinary Clinic Model

Are you a Functional Nutrition professional who aspires to build strong clinical skills, experience, and a broad knowledge base?

Are you looking for supervised clinic hours to complete your CNS certification?

Learn more about FNRP and watch our Information Session on demand.

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This competitive, online nutrition residency provides supervised practice hours for those working towards CNS certification.

Successful applicants join our team for 12 months, work alongside us on our clinic patient cases, and progress to delivering patient care independently – all within an established Functional Medicine clinic that is already set up to operate virtually.

Upon completion, individuals are strongly positioned to work as part of a collaborative clinic team in the Functional Medicine/Functional Nutrition industry.

Program Summary
  • 12-months, entry in September or March each year
  • All work is completed remotely via phone and online tools
  • Participants commit to a minimum of 18 hours per week during business hours Eastern time US
  • Allowing for 4 weeks’ vacation, the program provides more than 850 supervised practice hours; participants retain the responsibility for tracking and ensuring they are on target for fulfilling the BCNS requirements


Program Management
  • Kara Fitzgerald ND, IFMCP, IFM Educator (Program Director)
  • Romilly Hodges MS, CNS, CN, IFMCP (Program Management)
  • Lara Zakaria RPh, MS, CNS, CN, IFMCP (Program Management)
  • Karen Herb MS, CNS, LDN (Professional Education Programs Liaison)

Dr. Fitzgerald, Romilly Hodges and Lara Zakaria have all been approved as supervisors by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

“Dr. Fitzgerald’s internship program has been phenomenal – incredibly interesting patient cases, wonderfully supportive team and tons of runway to learn. Working with Dr. Fitzgerald and the nutrition team has meaningfully elevated my game in terms of navigating all kinds of cases. I would recommend this program to anyone that is serious about biochemistry, lifestyle medicine and personalized, functional nutrition.”

- Alexandria DeVito MS CNS
The knowledge gained from Dr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Litwin, and the nutrition team has been invaluable. Their expertise and experience in the functional medicine community has increased my knowledge and confidence and will definitely set me apart in the field as a Certified Nutrition Specialist. I have learned so much!

- Mary Ellen Valverde MS CNS
In the last 3-4 months, I have learned what would probably take me 1-2 years if I had continued to learn solo or with a single doctor. I’m a person who likes organization and thrives on legitimate, cutting-edge information. Which is why I still am grateful every day (and still can’t believe) that I was picked for this residency.

- Janine Henkel MS CNS
This residency program truly is unique! What sets it apart is the complete immersion into an active, thriving functional medicine practice. In addition to working with the clinic’s patients and various practitioners, you learn the practical ins and outs of managing a practice; from patient intake to lab assessments, protocol development and treatment plans. It is the perfect marriage of in-depth clinical experience and practice development.

- Karen Herb MS CNS
I chose this program because I followed the work of Dr Kara Fitzgerald. I heard her and Romilly speak at an online conference regarding methylation. I also knew that Dr Fitzgerald had been part of the development of the Metametrix functional tests with Dr Lord and I owned several books that she contributed to. I love to use these tests in my own practice and heard her present on several of them during my IFNA training course. The opportunity to be learning from her directly was a significant draw for me to the FNRP program.

- Amanda Turton Huff MS CNS IFNCP
Dr Kara Fitzgerald’s Nutrition Team offers a wealth of resources and learning opportunities through the nutrition residency/internship program. The collaboration between nutrition and medical professionals is unique and engaging. I would recommend the program to emerging nutritionists interested in expanding their skills and gaining a breadth of experiences.

- Susan Bentsen MS CN RN
Working on a collaborative team in a clinic has really enhanced my understanding of what we learned in school. Dr. Fitzgerald and the nutrition team spent a lot of time explaining how things work in a clinical setting. We had a lot of opportunities to work directly with patients, shadow calls, discuss cases, do patient charting, prepare individualized diets and recipes for clients. Dr. Fitzgerald’s office is also a wealth of knowledge for consumers and clinicians through her website and social media and we had the opportunity to write and research about technical issues and current news topics. The whole experience was very collaborative and absolutely invaluable for my future goals. Thank-you to the team!!

- Michelle Gottfried MS, CNS candidate
More than anything else it was a real privilege to be inside the clinic with Dr. Fitzgerald and her team of nutritionists, and learn how pioneers within the functional medical field approach the most complex cases. Questions and feedback from residents were also welcomed, and I feel that we all benefited from this exchange of ideas. Since completing the residency I have kept in touch with the team, and continue to grow as a clinician with their support on challenging cases.

- Jay Wolkoff MS CNS CD-N


Residents become familiar with the clinic and nutrition services tools, materials, procedures, policies and best practices through guided training materials* and ongoing program activities. Topics covered will include: HIPAA compliance, office policies and procedures. Patient charting, SOAP, ADIME, PES statements and tracking. Use of the IFM Matrix and Timeline for patient assessment. The patient flow, onboarding and what to cover in a nutrition consultation. Sourcing supplements, supplement quality review. Specific dietary tools and supporting materials that we use in the clinic, including: Weight loss diets, strategies for weight loss resistance. Elimination diets, IgG elimination, IgE elimination, pollen-food cross-reactivity, histamine, low nickel, low tyramine diets and others. Celiac and gluten sensitivity. Diets for autoimmunity and immune balance. Restricted ketogenic diet for cancer. Diets for gastrointestinal disorders, SIBO and IBS. Methylation Diet and Lifestyle program, complementary support for methylation/MTHFR and epigenetic health. Resource pack of layered (multi-diet) Food Plans that you can keep and use. Patient scenarios, including troubleshooting issues with dietary implementation (e.g., assistance with managing cravings). Performing a nutrient intake analysis, using nutrition tracking tools. Understanding environmental toxins and how to evaluate patients for specific toxin exposures. Review of coaching skills including goal setting, motivational interviewing, mindfulness and positive psychology. Behind-the-scenes support for patient case work, including recipe and menu development, product research, handouts, diet diary and nutrient intake analysis and more.

Advancing to phase 2 is dependent on a resident’s progress through Phase I onboarding and prior experience. Patient care becomes a larger focus of work. Shadowing consultations (telephone/video conference) conducted by our staff nutritionists Direct patient contact Continue with behind-the-scenes casework to support cases that you are assigned to shadow Creation of customized Food Plans, Menu Plans, Recipe Packs and handouts Supporting patients and customers with online programs such as healthRESET detox Exposure to laboratory assessments used in clinic, and their interpretation Preparation of case matrix and timeline, and presentation of cases as appropriate Mentorship of incoming new residents; assistance with onboarding of new residents starting month 6 onwards.

When a resident is assessed to be ready, typically during last 3 months of the program (9-12 months), they will progress to more autonomy and may take the lead on patient cases under the supervision of staff nutritionists and the clinic director. Lead new patient consults with shadowing staff nutritionists. Assignment determined by staff nutritionists. Responsibility for end-to-end delivery of patient nutrition care, including materials, dietary implementation, and follow-up. Continued mentorship of new residents.

Access to the clinic workings and teachings of IFM Faculty Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, including all materials that are available to LIVE MENTORSHIP participants. Mentoring by, and dialoguing with, Dr. Fitzgerald and team. Ready opportunity to work on many patient cases without having to source your own. In-depth training in what you need to know to work as a successful functional nutritionist. Learn end-to-end patient care, including intake and assessment, laboratory testing, implementing a nutrition plan, choosing and sourcing supplements, education and monitoring/evaluation. Build your knowledge base, including in any areas that you would like to specialize in. Develop confidence in your abilities as a Functional Nutritionist. Gain experience in online media content creation and marketing (optional). Bonus opportunity to view our healthRESET detox program and Seasonal Allergy Relief Program as an example online product (supplements not included). Bonus complimentary copy of MDL eBook and recorded trainings to the Cleveland Clinic. Nutrition tools – food plans, intake forms, templates for nutrition plans, handouts and more. We are a busy clinic and educational center with so many opportunities and projects coming up all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and shine. In addition, even as our residents are new, we value their input and expect their participation by asking questions, researching answers, evaluating new protocols and the outcomes of existing protocols.

The program fees are $7,200 for the 12-month nutrition residency. That includes: Institute for Functional Medicine 1-year membership and access to the IFM Toolkit Benefits and mentorship opportunities as outlined above Scholarship opportunity: Applicants have the option to submit a project to be considered for a $2,000 merit-based scholarship. The scholarship is an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate unique skills, creativity, and/or passion beyond the basic application material including (but not limited to) writing, video tutorials, social media proficiency, educational development, or leadership. The deadline for the scholarship is after the first round of scheduled interviews. Requirements, guidelines, and deadline information will be provided to applicants once the application is received and processed. Questions can also be addressed during the interview.

Upon completion of the residency program, participants are well-trained in the implementation of nutrition plans at all levels of complexity and strongly positioned to work in many different areas of Functional Medicine/Functional Nutrition.

Several resident alumni have successfully applied to join our clinic team.


Acceptance into the program is via application, documentation review, and interview(s). Residencies begin in March and September of each year, for 12 months, with a maximum of four places available for each entry.

Applications for September 2020 cohort now being accepted.

In light of recent events, we’ve extended the deadline for September 2020.

Applications must now be received by May 21, 2020, at midnight ET.

Please review the following criteria and process carefully.

Criteria for Eligibility

  • Masters or Doctorate level nutrition degree
  • Seeking certification through the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS)
  • Ability to work and succeed independently, strong work ethos and drive to progress
  • Interested in ultimately working in a Functional Medicine/Nutrition practice
  • Passionate about Functional Medicine/Nutrition
  • Available to work during our clinic hours (contact us for specific details)

Technical Requirements

    • Technical proficiency, comfortable working in an online environment
    • Computer, recommended minimum 500 GB hard drive (or external, password protected drive)
    • Microsoft Office, including Word and Outlook
    • High-speed Internet, reliable phone service, and smart phone
    • A headset with clear sound and microphone; preferably with noise cancelling features
    • Quiet space to work without background noise


Items to Submit for Application

  • Cover letter outlining goals, interests and Functional Nutrition training
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of nutrition degree transcripts (official not required)
  • Writing sample(s). Samples can range from social media, school research papers, peer-reviewed publications
  • Letter of reference from a Functional Medicine/Nutrition course tutor or former supervising practitioner

Timeline for September Entry

  • Deadline for application – extended to May 21, 2020
  • Interviews held early June
  • Decisions announced in late-June 
  • If accepted, full payment must be received by August 21, 2020
  • Familiarize yourself with our residency policy here
  • Access to program materials and meetings starts from the first Monday of the start month (Onboarding material and/or webinars may be available sooner)

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