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Dietetic Internship Program

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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System


Clinical rotations make up the largest portion of the internship program. Core competencies are met in supervised practice and enhanced with the integrated graduate coursework. The clinical experience is divided into several rotations that provide interns both broad based and in-depth experiences in nutrition therapy. General rotations include geriatrics, medicine, outpatient and surgery. Some of the specialty areas included are diabetes, home based primary care, mental health, nutrition support and oncology. The finale is when you assume responsibility for the duties of a clinical dietitian in Clinical Staff Experience.

The administrative rotation provides interns with a variety of food service systems management experiences. The rotation includes food production and procurement, food service systems, personnel management and employee education. Interns will plan and supervise a theme meal.

Community rotations include experiences through various affiliate sites. Interns will work with a variety of populations and diverse cultures outside of the VA System. Throughout the course of the internship, interns will also visit a variety of alternate practice settings as arranged field trips.

Interns have the unique opportunity to complete a Special Project that allows them to demonstrate leadership, and coordination of previous administrative, clinical and community learning experiences in nutrition to meet an established goal. The Special Project will be completed throughout the program with allocated rotation time.

The Paul M. Russo Dietetic Internship does not grant credit for prior learning or experience.


Orientation begins early August. Interns receive a one-week overview of the VA, its facilities, the Nutrition and Foodservice Program, the internship and its activities. This is followed by one week of clinical introduction to nutrition screening and assessment. Discussions are based on the philosophy of learning, the interns' role as a professional-in-training and location of resources available to interns. Initial classes on skills needed for patient care are also included.

Schedule and Holidays

Interns spend 32-40 hours per week in supervised practice (August-July). Vacation days and those holidays granted to federal employees are also included in the program.

Internship Completion/Graduation Requirements

Completion of the Dietetic Internship requires the following:

  • Successful completion of all planned supervised practice rotations and special project as evaluated by preceptors and the Dietetic Internship Director. 
  • Successful completion of each rotation is based on the internship program’s progression of learning and can be made available upon request.
  • Completion of a minimum of 1200 clock hours in supervised practice.
  • The MPH, concentration in nutrition and dietetics.*

*After satisfactory completion of the supervised practice experiences and certification of fulfillment of degree requirements for the Masters of Public Health at the University of South Florida, College of Public Health, the Dietetic Internship Director will provide the dietetic intern with a copy of the Verification Statement. The graduate is then eligible to sit for the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists. 


The Paul M. Russo Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The contact information for ACEND is as follows: 

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL  60606-6995
(800) 877-1600, ext. 5400

University of South Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.

The contact information for the Commission on Colleges is as follows:

Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033-4097
(404) 679-4500