Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital - Dietetic Internship Program
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Dietetic Internship Program


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Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital

Becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD)

Becoming an RD is basically a three-step process. The dietetic internship is Step 2 in the process described as follows:

  1. First, you must complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equivalent, and coursework through an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP). The DPD or CP provides all of the prerequisite and core nutrition and dietetics courses needed to prepare for the supervised practice portion of the RD training.  Upon successful completion of this step, your program director will provide you with a signed Verification Statement which confirms your achievement of required knowledge competencies  and coursework.
  2. Next, you must complete at least 1200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship/supervised practice program, Coordinated Program in Dietetics, or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISSP) offered through an ACEND accredited program.  This phase of the process provides you with the training you must have to demonstrate achievement of required competencies for practice as an entry-level Registered Dietitian (RD).  Successful completion of this step in the process will also include a verification statement, issued by your dietetic internship program director.  The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital dietetic internship program is thus the second step in the process of becoming an RD.
  3. After successfully completing both Step 1 and Step 2, you will be verified for eligibility to take the national Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians (RD Exam) through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Note:  If you plan to practice in a state that requires RD licensure or has other legislation/policy that regulates the practice of nutrition and dietetics, you will need to contact that state's board of licensure for information regarding their licensing requirements.

For more information, see  

Application Information for the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship Program

Ten interns are appointed annually. Appointment notifications are made in April for the following August internship entry according to the procedures established by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Application to the Hines Dietetic Internship Program requires successful completion of the coursework required in an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) prior to starting the internship. Official transcripts indicating the date of confirmation of your degree plus a DPD Verification Statement are required prior to the start of the internship.

Selection is based on: 

  • Grade Point Average: the applicant should have an overall GPA of 3.0 with GPA of > 3.3 in DPD Science Curriculum and  > 3.3 GPA in Professional DPD Curriculum.
  • Completion of all requirements for the DPD from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics must be completed within the past three (3) years.  An original, signed copy of the DPD Verification Statement must be provided to the Internship Director before the beginning of the program. 
  • If the date on the DPD Verification Statement is more than three (3) years prior to the starting date of the internship, the applicant must take and successfully complete at least six (6) credits in dietetics-related coursework within the last one (1) year at a university with an ACEND-accredited DPD or Coordinated Program (CP), including at least one course in Medical Nutrition Therapy. Official university transcript verification of successful completion of these courses must be provided to the Internship Director before beginning the program.

  • Written communication skills as exemplified in your personal statement.

  • Letters of recommendation. Two should be from college professors/instructors and one from a work supervisor. Please choose individuals that can adequately assess your abilities to perform in a dietetic internship and as a Registered Dietitian.

  • Work and volunteer experiences that show exposure and commitment to the field.

  • Leadership abilities that may encompass volunteer or work experiences, club membership opportunities, etc.

  • Interview (select applicants) conducted by phone by two or more members of our RD staff.



For application and admission to the internship, an individual must be a U.S. citizen.





The Hines VA Dietetic Internship Program is using the on-line centralized internship application, DICAS, which may be accessed at https://portal.dicas.org starting on December 5, 2019 for the Spring Match in April 2020; email DICASinfo@DICAS.org for specific questions.

The on-line application must be completed for our program by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15, 2020. There is a fee to use DICAS. (Please check with D & D Digital at www.dnddigital.com  and DICAS at https://portal.dicas.org/
regarding Spring Match application dates and fees).

Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less. Following are the questions to be addressed in your personal statement:

  • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
  • What is the greatest obstacle you have faced in your pursuit of a career in nutrition and dietetics?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses/areas needing improvement?
  • What do you believe makes you a good fit for our program?

Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to: DICAS - Transcript Dept., PO Box 9118, Watertown, Ma 02472

When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference. This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.

Applicants must also register online* for computer matching starting on December 1, 2019 and no later than 11:59 PM Central Time on February 15, 2020. Changes to dietetic internship priority rankings may be made by applicants who have registered for the match by 2/15/20 via D&D Digital Systems by 11:59 PM Central Time on March 30, 2020.  The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship Program uses Code Number 325 on the prioritized list of dietetic internship programs that you will submit to D&D Digital Systems. There is a $55.00 computer matching fee required via credit card to D&D Digital Systems.

There is NO ADDITIONAL APPLICATION FEE for our program.

Appointment Procedure - Applicant matching results will be posted on www.dnddigital.com beginning at  6:00 PM Central Time on April  5, 2020 through April 6, 2020 (Appointment Day). This is the ONLY source of notification for applicants. Matched applicants must contact the DI Program on Appointment Day to confirm acceptance of the MATCH. No arrangements should be made with any other DI programs.

Matched applicants to the Hines VA Dietetic Internship Program must contact the Dietetic Internship Director, Candice M. West, MS, RD, LDN by telephone at 708-202-2728  and in writing via email (candice.west@va.gov) before 6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME  on Monday, April  6, 2020 to confirm acceptance of the MATCH. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the matched applicant.

An appointment letter will be sent from the Hines VA Human Resource Department confirming appointment to the dietetic internship program once all pre-program requirements are met. These include:

1. Appointees must be physically and mentally able to safely and efficiently perform the responsibilities of a dietetic intern. Appointees must have a physical examination utilizing the required physical exam and required immunization documents, and submit those documents, signed by their health care provider, to Hines Occupational Health Service in accordance with assigned deadlines.  The physical examination must be satisfactory, and all required immunizations completed, in order to be accepted into the Dietetic Internship Program. Should the physical examination be unsatisfactory, no part of any expense involved can be borne by the Federal Government. 

2. VHA policies also require verification of US citizenship and passing a suitability and security investigation/background check (conducted by the VA and not at the expense of the applicant) before appointment as a dietetic intern.

Please note:
(1)  As a part of your training program requirements as a dietetic intern, you may be required to complete rotations at affiliate sites.  The affiliates reserve the right to dismiss any trainee from a non-VA health care facility or agency assignment for unsatisfactory educational performance, noncompliance with the policies and procedures of the non-VA health care facility or agency, or for cause.  The internship program director will provide you with a list of specific requirements for each affiliate site.  These may include requirements for drug screening, flu shots and/or other immunizations/vaccinations, or other specific requirements that are not provided or required by the VA and for which you will be personally responsible.

(2) If you are appointed to Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital as a dietetic intern, you are required to complete the American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) training prior to starting the internship program. You will be required to provide documentation for verification of current BLS training effective at least through June 30, 2020 on the first day of New Employee Orientation (August 17, 2020) in order to proceed with the internship program. 

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