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Dietetic Internship Program

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Program Overview

Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital History

Situated 12 miles west of downtown Chicago on a sprawling 147-acre campus, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital is a key healthcare facility providing primary, extended, and specialty care to veteran patients in the Chicagoland area. Named after Edward Hines Jr., a World War I veteran and advocate for veterans' rights, the hospital was initially known as the Hines General Hospital. It was originally built to provide medical care for veterans returning from World War I.

As the largest VA in Illinois, serving over a million veterans, Hines VA boasts specialized clinical programs like Blind Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury, Neurosurgery, Radiation Therapy, and Cardiovascular Surgery. With 483 inpatient hospital beds and six community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) strategically located in Kankakee, Oak Lawn, Aurora, LaSalle, Hoffman Estates, and Joliet, Hines VA ensures comprehensive coverage across the spectrum of VA healthcare and clinical programs.

Over the years, the hospital has undergone expansions and renovations to meet the changing needs of veterans. The hospital has been at the forefront of advancements in healthcare, incorporating new technologies and treatment modalities to improve the quality of care for veterans. It is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system, dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of military veterans. Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital continues to be a vital institution in the VA healthcare network, contributing to the well-being of veterans and upholding the legacy of its namesake, Edward Hines Jr.


Dietetic Internship Program

The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship program was established in 1943 and has received full accreditation since establishment from the currently known accrediting body, The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Our dietetic internship curriculum at Hines stands out for its emphasis on fundamental competencies shared across all practice programs. What sets us apart is our exclusive focus on Medical Nutrition Therapy, a specialized concentration that only admits ten interns each year. This one-of-a-kind program takes an integrated approach, meticulously preparing entry-level dietitians for success.

Interns embark on a transformative 38-week journey that immerses you in dynamic rotations across Clinical, Food Service Systems, and Community Nutrition. These carefully crafted rotations build upon one another, providing a holistic understanding of the intricate connections within the realms of nutrition and dietetics. Join Hines for an immersive experience that lays the foundation for a thriving career in the dynamic field of dietetics.


Accreditation Information:

The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

ACEND® contact information:
Website: www.eatrightpro.org/acend
Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400
Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995


Program Curriculum: 

The Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship prepares entry-level dietitians through planned curriculum with emphasis on fundamental competencies shared across all practice programs. What sets us apart is our exclusive focus on Medical Nutrition Therapy, a specialized concentration that only admits ten interns each year. This one-of-a-kind program takes an integrated approach, meticulously preparing entry-level dietitians for success.

Our interns embark on a transformative 38-week journey (August-May) that immerses them in dynamic rotations across Clinical, Outpatient, Healthcare and Foodservice Management, Specialty, and Community. These carefully crafted rotations build upon one another, providing a holistic understanding of the intricate connections within the realms of nutrition and dietetics.

Dietetic interns should anticipate a commitment of forty hours per week, involving one class day. The regular work week runs from Monday through Friday, with varying hours (tour of duty) depending on the specific rotation. Occasional weekend duties may also be part of the experience.


Graduation Requirements: 

The intern will require the following to complete the dietetic internship:  

  1. Successful achievement and documentation of at least 1150 hours of supervised practice.
  2. A minimum of a “4-Proficient” rating on all core competencies as identified in the rotation descriptions and evaluations: Clinical, Outpatient, Healthcare and Foodservice Management, Community, and Specialty.
  3. Complete all program required assignments and projects by established deadlines and with an overall satisfactory rating based on established criteria.
  4. Attend all scheduled orientations, classes, workshops, and any other program required event. Any missed days may require make-up work at the discretion of the Dietetic Internship Director.
  5. Interns attended scheduled two-day RD Examination Review.
  6. Intern successfully upheld and abided by all professional standards as set by Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital Dietetic Internship, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

 Interns who make insufficient progress on program requirements may delay program completion. 


To become a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN), you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university recognized by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and receive a verification statement.
  2. Complete an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship or another ACEND approved program and receive a verification statement. It is worth noting that you cannot receive a verification statement until you have completed your graduation degree.
  3. Obtain a graduate degree and receive a verification statement. This verification statement is necessary to register for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
  4. Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  5. Obtain a license to practice in your state if it is a requirement. For instance, the state of Illinois requires all Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to be licensed.
  6. Keep up with the professional continuing education requirements.