Vanderbilt Center for Human Nutrition

The Center for Human Nutrition offers specialized care to people who need nutritional support, including those with:

  • celiac disease
  • eating disorders
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • malabsorption
  • short bowel syndrome
  • recent medical procedures affecting nutritional health

Our care team includes physicians, nutrition specialists, registered dietitians, pharmacists, and researchers in nutritional health.

The Center houses several clinics:

Services at the Center

  • IV feeding support
  • Medical treatments for malnutrition
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Nutrition evaluation and diagnosis

Nutrition Support Program

The Nutrition Support Program provides inpatient support for patients receiving food via an IV (total parenteral nutrition). In addition, the program supports patients with other specialized nutrition needs. Patients who continue on total parenteral nutrition upon returning home may receive care through the Malnutrition Clinic.

Malnutrition Clinic

The Malnutrition Clinic cares for patients from across the Southeast who are undernourished due to conditions including:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Eating disorders
  • Fistulas
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ischemic bowel disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Radiation enteritis
  • Short bowel syndrome

Malnutrition Clinic Services

  • Customized nutrition plans
  • Help with mental and social issues related to nutrition treatment
  • Nutrition testing
  • Placement of central venous access devices or peripherally inserted central catheters
  • Placement of feeding tubes

Referrals to the Malnutrition Clinic

Referrals can be made through:

  • Primary care offices or specialty physicians
  • Home infusion pharmacies
  • Contracts with third party payers, TennCare or Medicare
  • In some instances, a self-referral (if allowed by your insurance provider)

Celiac Disease Clinic

The Celiac Disease Clinic is a next step for patients who have received a possible diagnosis of celiac disease from their primary care doctor. The clinic can confirm celiac disease and provide ongoing support for managing this condition.

Initial appointments to the clinic require a physician referral. To refer a patient, call (615) 322-0128 and request Dawn Wiese Adams, M.D. 

Celiac Clinic Services

  • Celiac disease diagnosis
  • Counseling and education
  • Long-term disease management
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Treatment of refractory celiac disease

Celiac Disease FAQs

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder involving severe sensitivity to gluten, a protein found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. If someone with celiac disease eats food that contains gluten, their immune system reacts by attacking the lining of the small intestine. Celiac disease is sometimes called by other names: coeliac disease, celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue, and gluten sensitive enteropathy.

Is Celiac Disease Harmful?

Over time, damage to the small intestine leads to an inability to absorb nutrients. This can lead to anemia, nervous system disorders, thin bones, vitamin deficiencies and other serious conditions.

Am I at Risk For Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is hereditary. People with a parent, child or sibling with celiac disease have a 10 percent chance of developing celiac disease themselves. Some people with celiac disease have other autoimmune diseases.

What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

Some people with celiac disease feel no symptoms. Others may experience:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility problems
  • Itchy rashes
  • Migraines
  • Mouth sores
  • Numb hands or feet
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight Loss

In children, additional symptoms can include:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Behavior problems
  • Delayed growth and puberty
  • Poor dental enamel
  • Reduced height

How Is Celiac Disease Diagnosed and Treated?

Advanced diagnosis of celiac disease involves a biopsy of the lining of the small intestine. This can confirm the initial diagnosis from a blood test. This biopsy will be performed while the patient is still eating gluten.

Patients will also be screened for vitamin and mineral deficiencies common to people with celiac disease.

Because the most important treatment for celiac disease is avoiding foods, medications and other products containing gluten, our dietitians help patients create balanced, gluten-free eating plans. In rare cases, additional treatment such as medication may be required.

Contact Us


1211 21st Ave. S.
514 Medical Arts Building
Nashville, TN 37232-2713
Phone: (615) 936-1288
Fax: (615) 936-0006