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Dietetic Internship Program

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James H. Quillen VA Medical Center

Program Introduction

Thank you for your interest in the James H Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center (JHQVAMC) Dietetic Internship (DI) at the Mountain Home VA Health System in Johnson City, TN.  The internship provides experiences in clinical settings, food service management, and community dietetics while stressing medical nutrition therapy for health promotion, as well as disease prevention and management.  Emphasis is on providing medical nutrition therapy in the outpatient settings including primary care, diabetes mangement, oncology, weight management, integrative and functional nutrition, home-based care, and specialty clinics through on-site appointments, as well as telehealth and video connect. Additionally, interns will provide inpatient medical nutritional therapy for patients in areas of chronic disease management, intensive care, surgery, long term care, and mental health. Our goal is to offer diverse learning experiences which will prepare you for a variety of positions in the field of dietetics.


The first week of the internship will be spent in orientation. Included in this week will be a general orientation to the JHQVAMC along with introduction to computerized charting and utilizing the nutrition care process. Each intern will have 40 hours of supervised practice experience weekly.


The James H Quillen VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship Program has been granted candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400.

The James H Quillen VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship has two options for program completion:

  1. MS/DI combined option (total 22 months) in conjunction with the University of Alabama's online MS in Human Nutrition.
  2. Dietetic internship only option (for those who have a master’s degree prior to admission to the DI, total 8 months).

Both options include a total of 1240  supervised practice hours, with rotations completed at JHQVAMC and affiliate sites, in and near Johnson City, TN. The MS/DI option begins in August with first year fully online coursework through UA in fall, spring, and summer semesters.  Interns will relocate to Johnson City, TN to begin supervised practice in August, year 2, while continuing on-line enrollment at UA, to complete the required two courses per semester (fall and spring).  Interns in this option will complete supervised practice and the UA program requirements in May. The DI only option begins in August and ends in May of the following year. Upon satisfactory completion of all program requirements, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Verification Statement will be awarded. Interns in the MS/DI combined option must complete all program requirements of UA and the JHQVAMC DI to receive a verification statement. 

University of Alabama online MS / DI -James H Quillen VAMC Internship Combined option:

The internship has established a partnership with The University of Alabama (UA) to provide interns with the opportunity to enroll in a fully online, 30 credit-hour Master of Science program in Human Nutrition. The program is creatively designed to provide foundational knowledge before starting coursework, integrate class assignments with experiences in the internship, and assure advanced knowledge in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Internship directors work directly with university faculty to align assignments and activities, allowing students to complete the internship and master’s degree in less than two years. All courses are offered fully online, and out of state fees are waived. Financial aid is available to cover course tuition and living expenses, for students who qualify. The graduate program can accept up to 12 hours of graduate coursework as transfer credit that may be applied to the degree.

For more information contact the Human Nutrition program director, Dr. Tiffany Hylton, RDN, LD, at and see the MS in Human Nutrition webpage at:
For a general overview of the program, click here:
A more detailed Q&A session can be found here:

Dietetic Internship Only option:

Beginning with the Spring 2023 match, all applicants applying to the internship only track must have a master's degree prior to admission to the James H Quillen VAMC Dietetic Internship at Mountain Home/Johnson City, TN.  Degree conferral and submission of updated transcripts must occur prior to the program start date.

Dietetic Internship Director — Contact Information:

Lindsay Howell, MS, RDN, LDN
Dietetic Internship Director / 120
Corner of Lamont & Veteran's Way
Johnson City, TN 37684
Phone: 423-979-2678

Current Credentialing Process to Become a Registered Dietitian

  1. Complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)  of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
  2. Completed a ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. Successful completion of the requirements of the James H Quillen VAMC Internship provides the intern with a verification statement issued by ACEND which allows the intern to take the National Registration Exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, the intern is officially designated as a Registered Dietitian. The Dietetic Internship must provide at least 1200 hours of supervised practice experiences to meet the Competencies/Learning Outcomes defined for entry-level practice as a registered dietitian.
  3. Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR's website at*  Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship at the JHQ VAMC are eligible to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a RDN.
  4. Obtain state licensure if required. Licensure is required in the state of Tennessee.  More information about licensure can be found online at the Tennessee Board of Dietitians/Nutritionist Examiners.
  5. Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Effective January 1, 2024 the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).  In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12pm midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023.  For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website.   

*Link will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites. The link will open in a new window.

Open House: Each year, the JHQVAMC hosts Open House sessions which provide attendees with the opportunity to learn all about our program. For those unable to attend, small group sessions can be arranged.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to at lease one day prior to the event. A link will be emailed to all those who RSVP.  
                                                                              Virtual Open House Dates:
                                                                           Wednesday, January 17, 2024
                                                                                  12:00pm-1:00pm EST
                                                                                    October 2024 TBD