Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System - Dietetic Internship Program
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Dietetic Internship Program

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Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System

 

Curriculum

The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLA) Dietetic Internship offers a medical nutrition therapy concentration, and the curriculum provides experiences in administrative, clinical and community dietetics designed to prepare the intern for entry-level professional practice in dietetics in health care institutions, agencies, or community programs.  All interns will rotate at our West Los Angeles campus and may be assigned rotations at our Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center and/or Sepulveda Ambulatory Care and Community Living Centers.  In addition, interns will rotate at outside affiliations including Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) so transportation is required.

Administrative Dietetics: An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all levels of food service systems management and Dietetic Service Administration will be gained throughout unit assignments. Administrative dietetic experiences include food production and service, food service management and supervision, menu planning, employee education, administrative dietetics and departmental administration. Learning is facilitated using a project-based administrative rotation. Management projects are based on practical needs identified in the department. Intern recommendations are intended for implementation, and utilization for department improvement. Interns learn life-long skills of planning and coordination, time management and critical thinking.

Clinical Dietetics: The clinical component of the program is designed to provide practical experiences in the nutritional care of patients including nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and monitoring and evaluation. Patient education as well as active participation in the multidisciplinary health care team is emphasized. The clinical rotations include specialized treatment in the areas of cardiology, endocrinology, nephrology, neurology, neuropsychiatric care, long-term care, oncology, pulmonary disease, rehabilitation medicine, substance abuse, surgery, critical care, and nutrition support.  Experiences in pediatric nutrition are provided in affiliation with CHLA.

Community Dietetics: VAGLA and the local community are utilized as sites for providing experiences in community dietetics. Experiences at the the West Los Angeles campus are planned using outpatient nutrition clinic programs including primary care, Home Based Primary Care (HBPC), and MOVE!, a national weight management program designed by the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP). Experiences also occur at the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and the Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center using outpatient primary care nutrition clinics, HBPC, and MOVE! programs. Dietetic interns are also responsible for the planning and implementation of the healthcare system's National Nutrition Month program at several VA locations, CHLA, and in the community with Head Start and local elementary schools.

Special Interest: Four weeks of the internship program are allotted for interns to select and plan a special interest rotation(s). Examples of rotation options include an expanded clinical pediatric rotation at CHLA, a corporate wellness experience with Optum, working with HIV/AIDS at AIDS Project Los Angeles, working with children in the Head Start Program etc. In addition interns can develop their own special interest rotation where they would be responsible for identifying and contacting an appropriate preceptor working in their area of interest and develop rotation learning objectives that will be completed during the rotation. An affiliation agreement must be established between the VA and any outside rotation site in order for an intern to complete a special interest rotation with that site. 

**Interns in the Combined MPH Program track must select special interest options in the area of public health and require approval.  Interns in the combined MPH program must select special interest rotations where they can enhance their skills in the planning, administration, and/or evaluation of public health programs and policies.  One special interest experience will be completed during the Fall quarter of the second year in conjunction with MPH faculty projects.  Combined MPH interns will work 10 hours per week (100 hours total) during the quarter.  The other 2 weeks will be scheduled in phase 2 of the supervised practice portion of the program.  Combined MPH Program interns should submit their request for a special interest experience and indicate how they will further develop their skills in the areas of public health by developing rotation objectives that meet at least one MPH competency. The special interest rotation must be approved by the Field Studies Director or Supervisor.

Didactic Classes: Didactic classes, usually held on Mondays, are coordinated with the supervised practice rotations in our program. During the summer, VAGLA hosts these classes at the West Los Angeles facility. Nutrition, medical, and allied health professional staff members from VAGLA serve as instructors. Beginning in the fall and for the remainder of the program, classes are arranged with the Greater Los Angles Dietetic Internship Consortium (GLADIC) which include the following Dietetic Internship programs: Patton State Hospital; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State University, Long Beach; California State University Northridge; USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at CHLA; and Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC. The location for these classes can be at any of the facilities or areas covered by the GLADIC. Therefore, a car is required and interns are responsible for transportation to these classes. The GLADIC classes provide interns with an opportunity to network with interns and dietitians from other local institutions.

Master of Public Health Degree at UCLA: The graduate study program leading to the MPH degree in the Department of Community Health Sciences focuses on the health-related behaviors of individuals within the context of the social structure, community, health care system and family unit. Of particular interest is how health-related behaviors of individuals are influenced by and interact with conditions in the social, cultural, physical and biological environment to influence health status with particular emphasis on identifying, evaluating and discouraging health-damaging behaviors and facilitating health-promoting behaviors. The department's curriculum seeks to integrate basic and applied public health theories and methods in applying them to real problems of human populations. Assessment, planning and evaluation are common themes in the department's educational programs.

The Masters in Public Health program does not provide further education in clinical nutrition or medical nutrition therapy. Nutrition courses in the MPH program focus on public health aspects of nutrition. While graduates will likely gain new perspectives and broader world views of nutrition, Combined MPH interns should not expect further dietetic training as classes are generally designed for students without a nutrition background. Graduates of the Combined MPH program track gain a versatile perspective that is invaluable when designing programs, interventions, or educational materials for individuals or groups and can be translated to many settings.

Master of Science Degree Nutritional Science at CSULB: The graduate study program leading to the MS degree in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences provides an opportunity for students to increase competence in food and nutrition subject matter in preparation for college teaching, research, graduate study beyond a master's degree and administrative positions in public and private agencies.

Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition at CSUN: The Master of Science in Human Nutrition is designed to advance professional competence and personal nutritional needs of individuals who want to increase their opportunities in the selected areas of nutrition while also providing breadth in related areas. Students will develop competencies in research methods and advanced practice comprehension relevant to their area of study. Completion of the program will increase competence in food and nutrition subject matter in preparation for a wide variety of professional opportunities, including nutritionists or supervisors in nutrition, doctoral study in nutrition, research, and administrative positions in public and private agencies.

Graduation Requirements

Satisfactory completion of Dietetic Internship Program requires:

  • Successfully completing all supervised practice rotations and attaining entry-level competence in all ACEND Core Competencies for registered dietitian nutritionists.
  • Completing a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice
  • For interns in the Combined MPH Program track, completing MPH Program Degree requirements including all supervised practice rotation requirements and credible hours for CHS 400 Field Studies

MPH Degree at UCLA Graduation Requirement:

  • A total of at least 60 graduate and upper-division units, taken for a grade and receiving a B-minus or better (not Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory), is required for graduation
  • Pass a comprehensive examination for degree conferment
  • Additional information can be found here: http://chs.ph.ucla.edu/academics/degree-programs/masters/mph-curriculum

MS Degree at CSULB graduation requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 36 units, including 18 units of core courses, one capstone course (thesis or directed project), 6 units of electives, and 9 units of internship credit
  • Maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Defense of research proposal, oral defense of thesis or directed project to committee, and poster presentation at FCS Department poster session
  • Additional information can be found at: http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/chhs/departments/fcs/programs/graduate/MSDegree.htm

MS Degree at CSUN Graduation Requirement:

      • Complete all of the courses required by their option
      • Earn a grade of B or better in all courses.
      • Maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 in the program

Total Units Required for the M.S. in Human Nutrition Degree: 48

Additional information can be found at: http://www.csun.edu/health-human-development/family-consumer-sciences/graduate-program-human-nutrition

Dietetic Internship Program Completion:

Upon successful completion of the dietetic internship program, individuals will be eligible to write the Registration examination for Dietitians from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Passage of the examination is required for certification as a Registered Dietitian from The Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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 addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited dietetic internship at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students

Those students successfully completing the Combined MPH Program will also earn a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in the Community Health Sciences Department.

Those in the Combined MS Optional program tracks will in most cases complete MS degree requirements after completion of the dietetic internship.

*MS completion may be affected by changes in the class schedule at CSULB and CSUN.

Accreditation

The program is currently granted continued accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Address:

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 S Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Telephone: (312) 899-0040 ext. 5400