History of Dietetics at Loma Linda University

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination purchased property at Loma Linda, California in 1905 to establish a center for medical education. This institution of higher learning was to include three areas of emphasis: nursing, hygienic cooking (as courses in nutrition were called at the turn of the century), and medicine. The name chosen for the new institution was the College of Medical Evangelists. Health-care workers were to be trained not only to care for the physical needs of their patients but also their mental, social, and spiritual needs. Today many institutions call this "whole person care."

The foremothers and fathers established the School of Nursing first in 1905. The second offering, a hygienic cooking and baking course began in 1908 and was referred to as a dietetics course until it was inactivated in 1918 during World War I. The School of Medicine became the third program of instruction and was begun in 1909. Thus, the roots of nutrition and dietetics are deep at Loma Linda University.

The hiatus in nutrition education lasted until 1922, when a two-year dietitian’s training course was introduced. This program was established just five years after the founding of the American Dietetic Association. In 1924, a three-year cooperative program added practical training to the curriculum. The School of Dietetics was organized in 1928. A four-year collegiate program was introduced in 1930 but was not fully accredited until 1937. The collegiate program consisted of two years of pre-dietetic training followed by a two-year dietetic course at Loma Linda. This program also operated on the cooperative plan that culminated with a Bachelor of Science degree. The collegiate program was discontinued in 1954 with the installation of a graduate program and dietetic internship begun in 1956. The American Dietetic Association (currently Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) approved the Dietetic Internship in 1957.

In 1961, the College of Medical Evangelists became Loma Linda University. In 1962 the Board of Trustees voted to consolidate all programs on the Loma Linda campus from the White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. The School of Public Health was organized in 1964 and at that time the School of Nutrition and Dietetics was incorporated into the new School and became the Department of Nutrition in the School of Public Health.

The concept of the coordinated program in dietetics was attractive to Dr. Kathleen Zolber, the Director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program, and to students interested in dietetics education. Application was made to The American Dietetic Association in 1971 to offer this program. Approval was given for the program to be under developmental status and students were accepted in the coordinated program in 1972. The internship was phased out with the last internship class completing the program in August 1974. Loma Linda University was the seventh coordinated undergraduate program accredited by The American Dietetic Association.

Fun Facts

In 1922

Loma Linda University was called the College of Medical Evangelists and was taught by staff from the medical college in Loma Linda. Students were able to work in the Loma Linda Sanitarium to help defray tuition and living costs.

Tuition and Fees in 1922

The annual tuition was $150.00 payable in three installments--$50 at the beginning of each trimester.
Library fee.......................$1.00
Infirmary fee....................$5.00
Room fees.......................$1.50 to $2.50 a week
Board fees.......................$4.00 a week

Students were expected to work three hours or more a week on campus when and where needed as part of their curriculum.

Personal Hygiene was a course taught back in the day, intended to acquaint the student with the principles of both personal and general hygiene and their practical application to everyday life.

Loma Linda had a train station on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad and Santa Fe and Salt Lake Rail Systems. Auto stages ran hourly to the sanitarium from the local depots in San Bernardino and Loma Linda. Patients and students were encouraged to ride trains to San Bernardino, Colton, or to Loma Linda.