Laurie Van Wyckhouse ’79

Better Health at Your Fingertips

When Laurie Van Wyckhouse launched NutriTutor®, no one was more surprised than she. “Truly, I’ve never been interested in business—it’s not who I am; I’m a clinician. When the idea hit me, I literally jumped out of bed and wrote for 15 minutes nonstop.”

A dietitian who has taught diabetes self-management for 35 years, Van Wyckhouse knows the frustrations faced by diabetics: “In the traditional setting, there are a lot of barriers that prevent patients from learning what they need to know,” she says. Lecture style classes, inconvenient hours, and information overload conspire against real change: “I’ve watched patients zone out. They have to learn how to lose weight, control their blood pressure, and monitor their glucose—it’s overwhelming.”

And that’s for folks who can get to a class. Convenience matters; so does depth. The NutriTutor® diabetes course lasts six months so people can learn at their own pace; hospital-based classes last 10 hours.

“NutriTutor® offers an online interactive program—customized for each patient—that emphasizes the development of technical and problem-solving skills,” explains Van Wyckhouse. “After members gain knowledge, they practice what they’ve learned. When they get stuck, they ask their clinician for help.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. The American Association of Diabetes Educators estimates that as few as 1 percent learn how to handle their condition. “NutriTutor®’ makes it easy for companies, government agencies, and physicians to offer diabetes training from their own Web sites,” says Van Wyckhouse. “We’re bringing medical education into the 21st century—cutting costs and improving quality.”

NutriTutor® content was developed by clinicians and follows the guidelines of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. It also meets the requirements for a “patient-centered medical home” for chronic disease. Eventually, NutriTutor® will be a resource for all chronic diseases, including heart disease, congestive heart failure, obesity, gestational diabetes, and hypertension.

To learn more, go to

— Martha Murphy ’81