Dietetic Internship Program
Michael E. DeBakey Houston VA Medical Center
What Our Graduates Are Saying...
I could not give a higher recommendation than the internship with MEDVAMC! Having the opportunity to complete all clinical rotations at a highly esteemed training facility is so beneficial as it allows interns to really focus on learning the nutritional aspects of becoming a dietitian without getting bogged down on rotating facilities with different EMRs, policies, and preceptors. It gives interns a chance to experience units of all acuities and feel confident going into any setting as a proficient entry level dietitian. The preceptors are so kind and knowledgable yet push you to learn more with every rotation so you can grow your clinical judgement. Our program is so unique to allow interns to become independent very early on so that they can learn in a hands on environment even in settings of critical care which is not offered at every program. When talking with other new dietitians, it becomes so apparent how well developed and organized this program is in comparison to many others across the country and I am so thankful to have able to been apart of it.
-Courtney Jackson, MS, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, 2019 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
Choosing the Michael E. DeBakey VA Dietetic Internship was the best decision for my career as a dietitian. The internship is well organized and expectations for each of the rotations are clear at the start of the program. The preceptors are extremely knowledgeable in their specialty and follow evidence-based guidelines. They encourage independence and critical thinking which advances your skills as a clinician. MEDVAMC is a large teaching hospital which provides extensive exposure to complex medical conditions. Upon graduation, I felt very confident and prepared to take the RD exam and to start my first job as a dietitian. The MEDVAMC program is highly respected and potential employers were impressed with my completion of the internship. I am so grateful to now be an employee at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. It is such a privilege to work with so many accomplished dietitians.
-Stacy Brouwer, MS, RD, LD, Administrative Dietitian, 2019 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The Michael E. DeBakey VA dietetic internship jump started my career as a registered dietitian nutritionist. The 50-week program allows immersion in both academics at Texas Woman’s University and internship rotations—all while having access to Houston’s rich city attractions. I found that my preceptors were focused on my growth as a clinician allowing space for open communication and learning. Moreover, I found my preceptors to be a wealth of knowledge as many serve as nutrition subject matter experts in the fields of nutrition support, diabetes management, kidney disease, transplant, spinal cord injury, and oncology. I am grateful for the exposure to many complex patient cases, as the Houston VA receives many highly acute patients—these challenging and rewarding encounters helped me develop confidence and clinical judgement to serve me within my entry-level positions. The program is organized, well-established, and structured to allow frequent feedback and support from the dietetic internship director. Receiving a bi-weekly stipend makes the experience much more affordable, as well as the cost savings of having many of the rotations within the Houston radius or primarily within the Houston VA. I am grateful for the connections I have made during this program with my preceptors and intern classmates, which many I continue to collaborate with within my career. I have found my transition into a full-time outpatient clinical nutrition position with inpatient coverage to be seamless, much of which I owe to the skills and confidence I gained by completing the MEDVAMC dietetic internship!
-Jackie Parker, MS, RDN, 2018 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The dietetic internship program at MEDVAMC is completely unparalleled - it is incredibly structured and organized so that the interns don't have to worry about the planning and logistics of coordinating rotations and classes, and are instead able to focus completely on the actual learning and experience that DIs are meant to provide. The preceptors are extremely knowledgeable in their field and are able to balance their teachings and guidance with the interns' own knowledge and skills. It is this style of education that I feel truly gives soon-to-be dietitians room to develop their own sense of clinical judgement throughout the internship, which then carries throughout their careers as Registered Dietitians. I am so grateful to have received my training with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center's Dietetic Internship program and always give it my highest recommendation to anyone looking to pursue a career in dietetics!
-Helen Yuan, MS, RD, LD - Clinical/Private Practice Dietitian at Liver Specialists of Texas,2017 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship provided me a well-rounded, up-to-date, and in-depth education and experience as a dietetic intern. This challenging program is extremely well organized and the rotations are structured so that the intern knows the learning objectives and what is expected of them right away. The preceptors excel in their role of teaching and helped me become confident in myself as a future RD – I felt very well equipped when I started my first job as a clinical dietitian. In addition, the combined Master’s degree from TWU is affordable and compliments the internship program, fully preparing you for the working world and new requirements to become a Registered Dietitian. I would recommend the MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship program to everyone pursing this career!
-Camille Swan MS, RD, Clinical Dietitian, 2017 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The MEDVAMC internship was the best learning experience of my entire life! I learned more about dietetic practice in the one year of being at the VA than my entire undergraduate career. The VA internship frequently places you in situations that force you to develop problem solving skills, confidence and ability to reason. The VA leads to improve these skills to an above average level. While your first employer expects an underdeveloped young dietitian they will be pleasantly surprised with your advanced skills. You can also be confident that your leaders (preceptors) are the "cream-of-crop" and will passionately strive in developing you to be more than just an entry-level dietitian.
-Alberto Garcia MS, RD, LD, 2016 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship offered the best internship experience that I could’ve possibly imagined and often exceeded my expectations. My preceptors were highly motivated and driven professionals who not only sought to instill knowledge and wisdom but to inspire confidence. Upon graduation, I felt fully prepared to enter the workplace and take on the challenges of this profession. As I approach my 5th year as Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, I still remain inspired by the passion and motivation of my preceptors, and I’m grateful for the friendships I established with them during my internship. Houston is a beautiful and diverse city with warm and friendly people, and the combined experience of living in Houston coupled with completing the internship at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is a wonderful way to enter the profession of dietetics.
-G. Scott Davis, MS, RD, CDN, CDES, 2015 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship offers an absolute student-centered development experience. The breadth of services provided at the facility paired with the high level of preceptor competency yields well rounded entry level professionals. The Masters degree alongside the rotations adds to a MEDVAMC DI graduates competitive advanatage in the job market. I highly recommend the MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship as a top choice for anyone looking to achieve great things in the field of dietetics.
-Moe Schlachter, MS, RD, LD, CDE Private Practice Dietitian, 2013 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The Houston VA internship provided me with the knowledge and tools needed to be a dietitian. I entered into my first job confident and prepared. You will not regret choosing the Houston VA as your internship!
-Kristen Kahler, MS, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, Loma Linda VA Medical Center, 2009 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
Completing the dietetic internship at the MEDVAMC was the best decision I ever could have made. The internship is very organized and provided a great learning environment for me to expand my knowledge and receive hands on clinical training. Since the VA internship is known to be competitive, I think it also opened doors for me to obtain interviews and job offers. I am still very happy with my choice.
-Bonnie Buzek, MS, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, 2007 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The MEDVAMC internship is in all-inclusive experience in a world-class medical center. It prepared me to enter the dietetics field as a competent professional. In the MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship, you truly learn the skills to advance quickly in your field; you just have to know where to look and not be afraid to do so. The MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship also prepared me to pursue my PhD in a research project at MEDVAMC. Now I am proud to promote healthy living to our nation€™s Veterans as a Program Manager for one of largest VA facilities in the nation.
-Anne Utech, PhD, RDN, LD, National Director of Nutrition and Food Services, 2004 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
Houston VA internship provided me with a very strong clinical background and critical thinking skills to be able to excel in any position after graduation. The opportunities and doors that have opened to me are at true testament. I worked as a staff member for 7 ½ years and now I am the Clinical Nutrition Manager of a large health care system and I credit this to my excellent training and education I received at the Houston VA internship. As the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Central Texas, I can say that VA interns are more prepared coming into the workforce. They possess many of the skills that managers are looking for. I strongly encourage any student in the field of dietetics to pursue a VA internship.
-Awbrey Lovrien-Moore, MS, RD, Clinical Nutrition Manager, 2001 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship provides students an excellent opportunity to learn a well-rounded skill set in a learning-centered atmosphere. My experience from this internship program prepared me for diverse positions - from writing orders for nutrition support in leading hospitals in the Texas Medical Center to positions in school food service administration to private consulting
-Teresa (Kiser) Lane, MS, RD, LD, Food Service Dietitian, Klein Independent School District, Houston, 2001 MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship Graduate