The Program in International and Community Nutrition (PICN) of the University of California, Davis was established in 1987 to coordinate research and training activities concerning human nutrition problems of low-income countries, and of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups in the United States. In 1994, the Program became an Organized Research Unit (ORU) under the Office of Research.

The specific objectives of the PICN are:

  • To conduct basic and applied research on issues of human nutrition relevant to individuals and populations of developing countries.
  • To plan and manage the educational curriculum leading to a Designated Emphasis (minor) in International Nutrition for doctoral students of the participating graduate programs, and to coordinate training activities for other graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
  • To provide technical assistance to national governments and international agencies concerned with food and nutrition policies of developing countries.
  • To foster collaborative exchanges of students and faculty between UC Davis and research and training institutions abroad.

Faculty members from the Departments of Nutrition and Agricultural and Resource Economics (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (School of Medicine), and the Department of Environmental Science & Policy work together to achieve these objectives.

The educational curriculum provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to master their chosen primary disciplines, while simultaneously exposing them to interdisciplinary research methods. The training program therefore combines courses in basic biological sciences, behavioral sciences, and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary seminars in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition programs at the community and national levels.