Dietetic Internship Program
Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System
"The time I spent at the West Los Angeles VA has been one of my favorite nutrition experiences so far. The first day of the internship, I remember being nervous and anxious as I walked into our first class and, almost immediately, I felt a sense of belonging with the safe and fun environment that Jill and the other interns provided. I also have made some lifelong friendships with those very interns! The rotations were incredibly enriching and it was an absolute honor to have worked with the Veterans. We gained extensive clinical knowledge and hands on opportunities, as well as education on how to be inclusive and compassionate practitioners. I would like to provide any prospective interns with this: there will be hard days in your internship (regardless of where you go), obstacles for you to overcome, research that will take hours upon hours to complete, and yet I could not have imagined a better support system. Words cannot describe the pleasure it has been to have Jill as our DI Director. Her genuine care for our well being and her desire for us to reach our greatest potential is what makes this internship simply spectacular. The preceptors in this internship are wonderful teachers and will provide guidance while also letting you discover your own style as a soon to be practitioner. I truly encourage EVERYBODY to apply, regardless of your experience, the school you went to or your GPA, you all have something special to offer."
-Shelby Becker, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2022
"I am very thankful for the opportunity to have completed my dietetic internship with the VA Greater Los Angeles because it has been the most rewarding experience. I feel extremely prepared for the registration exam thanks to the encouraging preceptors and the organized, caring internship director Colleen Ross. Colleen was so pleasant to work with as she made the transitions between various rotations run smoothly and she showed confidence in me as an intern. Overall, I feel extremely grateful to have been a part of this internship as it has given me the proper training and guidance to be successful in my career as a dietitian."
-Meigan Flanagan, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2020
“There are very few internships that offer the exclusive opportunity to service the health needs of our nation's heroes. It has truly been an honor and delight to work with the veterans. I have so much gratitude for my experience as a VA intern. From the seamless planning and coordination by our director, Colleen Ross, to the diverse learning opportunities provided within each rotation. The program is also supported by high caliber preceptors who challenged me in the best ways possible. It was an experience filled with both personal and professional growth. I am confident that I have developed an excellent foundation necessary to thrive in any capacity in the field.”
-Veronica Buacharern, MS, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2019
"My internship at the VA was both challenging and rewarding. I appreciated that Colleen maintains a very organized program and provided us with soo many resources and support. I was feeling pretty nervous prior to the start, but the orientation at the beginning is very comprehensive and sets you up for success. There is a good system of two-way feedback between the interns and the preceptors and the program overall. In the span of one year you get such a wide variety of experiences. The VA has the advantage of being able to house almost all of the rotations at it’s own facilities, so you get that much needed element of consistency across facilities. The special interest rotation is also unique because you’re not limited to solely the VA, but rather you can choose from the many external relationships it has. Overall, I felt adequately prepared after the program to work as an entry level RD."
-Delilah Bisase, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2019
"From the time I knew I needed to complete a dietetic internship, I knew I wanted to complete mine at the VA. And it certainly met my every expectation and more! I can't imagine receiving a higher level of hands-on and didactic training anywhere else. From the immaculate organization and clear communication that our director Colleen Ross provides to the thoughtful learning experiences provided by my preceptors, I felt every component of the internship was planned with great care. The year was full of challenging work and projects which pushed me and helped me build confidence in my knowledge and skills. After graduating, I felt fully prepared to begin my career as a dietitian. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the internship was the population I got to work with. The veterans made my work feel even more worthwhile and gave me something to look forward to each day. I'm proud to be part of a long-line of highly trained dietitians at the VA, and I am forever grateful for the wonderful experience of my dietetic internship."
-Monica Pang, MPH, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MPH Program Track, June 2018
"The VA internship was such an amazing experience for me. In this past year, I gained confidence in my dietetic skills thanks to the supportive and highly skilled RD’s. All the preceptors were engaged, committed, and extremely invested in our education. Having an internship under one healthcare organization is very advantageous, because everyone is trained and supported in their role as educators. Additionally, there is not a better dietetic director than Colleen Ross. She is committed and invested in the growth and success of her interns. With the stress of an internship, I found comfort knowing Colleen handles every detail to perfection. Also, it was refreshing to work an environment where I could ask questions and make mistakes. I can’t imagine doing any other internship. I feel honored to have been part of the VAGLA 2018 dietetic internship class."
-Alyssa Bartholomew, MS, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MS Optional Track, June 2018
"The VAGLA internship - an experience I will cherish for a lifetime. It gave me not only some of the best of friends, it gave me a skillset second to none and provided an incredible foundation for my career! Its leadership, its preceptors, and the breadth of experience it provides define this internship. Unlike most internships, the director of this program is able to fully dedicate their time to the internship experience, allowing for a program that has been, and continues to be, developed, refined, and well-implemented throughout the years. But more importantly, Colleen Ross, as both an individual and a leader, is as talented as she is devoted to ensuring that each intern’s experience is positive, impactful, and ultimately designed to develop above entry-level dietitians. Each preceptor is fully dedicated to ensuring that evidence-based and application-based learning is maximized throughout each rotation. Their genuine investment in our development is unmatched. And finally, the exposure to numerous scopes of practice from a multitude of high-level, hands-on rotations allows for an acquisition of knowledge that might otherwise be lost."
-Kaitlin Reid, MPH, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MPH Program Track, June 2016
"I am so thankful for my outstanding experience as an intern at the VA! The best part about the internship was being trained by excellent preceptors. The VA and affiliate RD’s invested themselves in me with pride in their role, diligence in effort, and encouragement of spirit. It was a joy to grow with my fellow interns as we conquered challenges, collaborated together, and had fun while working hard. I’m also grateful to have had such an organized and warm internship Director, who kept my year’s training streamlined and was always interested in making sure I was happily excelling. I’m entering my career with big dreams, and, because of my outstanding training with VAGLA—confidence to match!"
-Joy Galloway, MS, RD -Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2015
"After completing my dietetic internship, I can not imagine having done my dietetic internship anywhere besides the Veteran's Association of Los Angeles. My nervous and anxious feelings entering the internship soon subsided once I realized how much the entire nutrition and dietetic staff at the VA truly care about the success of their dietetics interns. The staff treated us like equals, providing us with the confidence and knowledge we needed to succeed in everyone of our rotations. A major benefit of being an intern at the VA is that you are stationed at 2-3 campuses for all your rotations. This gave us the chance to really connect with the staff and fellow interns, allowing us to build lasting relationships with both our preceptors as well as within our intern class. Colleen - the program director - plays a huge role throughout the internship supporting us with all of our questions or concerns, and goes out of her way to make sure we have the most beneficial learning experience possible. I entered the internship a scared, overwhelmed intern and graduated with the confidence to enter into any field of dietetics, from clinical to foodservice to consulting, due to the thorough experiences I got throughout the internship."
-Raheli Kory, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MS Optional Track, June 2014
"I highly recommend the Greater Los Angeles VA internship to anyone who is interested in a rewarding and challenging internship. I felt every rotation provided me with a wealth of experiences and knowledge. The environment is very conducive to learning and Colleen was such a supportive internship director. I also loved that this internship was very clinically focused and provided me a great training platform for a career in clinical dietetics. I took my exam the month after finishing and passed with flying colors. Upon entering the job market, I feel very prepared to start my career as an entry level dietitian. I felt very lucky to be apart of the 2014 VAGLA dietetic internship class."
-Danielle Selden, MS, RD -Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2014
"I am very satisfied with my dietetic internship experience at the VA for many reasons: #1 - Colleen is the best internship director, she does a great job making sure each intern is having the best experience possible in their rotations. Having a good director is key, and it was a huge reason I was drawn to the VA. #2 - The entire internship program itself is very organized. #3 - The preceptors at the VA really take the time to share their knowledge, skills, and tips. They understand each intern has a unique way of learning, and they really want their interns to succeed. #4 - The classes taught by the preceptors really prepared me for the rotations, I never felt as though I had no idea what to expect. #5 - The VA is a great teaching hospital that fosters a supportive learning environment; even the vets support us! #6 - I was part of an amazing intern class. It was motivating to learn side by side with bright, enthusiastic, and committed dietetic interns; not only did we learn from those more experience, we learned so much from each other."
-Star Wick, MS, RD -Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, May 2014
"Upon completion of the VA dietetic internship, I felt well-prepared for what was ahead of me. I feel that my experience at the VA was well-rounded and thorough, and that the knowledge I gained would be easily applied to any position I might seek as a future RD. The internship itself is rigorous and the expectations of the intern are high, but it is only set that way so that the intern will excel. The veteran population is very complex and they require a team of individuals from multiple disciplines to care for them. This allows you to become comfortable interacting in an interdisciplinary setting. The complex patient population also allows you to gain strong clinical skills when prioritizing the care for someone with several diagnoses. Colleen and the VA preceptors are all fantastic. They're caring, easily approachable, and extremely knowledgeable about their respective areas of nutrition care. Their goal is to help you learn, and they care very much about helping the intern do just that in an environment that is comfortable for them. I feel that the VA internship was a great fit for me. It exceeded my expectations in every way, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has researched the program and feels it might be a good fit for them too."
-Amanda Salvestrini, RD -Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, June 2013
"I had a great experience in the VAGLA/UCLA MPH combined dietetic internship program. The internship director and preceptors are excellent, and I really appreciate all of the effort they put into ensuring that I was able to get the most out of my experiences. I gained extensive hands-on experience in clinical, administrative, and outpatient/community dietetics, and was able to explore my own interests through the special interest rotations. Being trusted to see patients and develop nutrition care plans on my own, as well as have the projects I completed implemented and utilized by the VA staff made me feel as though I was a valued member of the healthcare team. The UCLA MPH program was an excellent complement to the clinically focused internship. Looking back to when I first began the program, I am truly amazed by the vast amount of skills that I gained through the program and feel as though my skill set was well above entry-level. I highly recommend the program."
-Jessica Soldavini, MPH, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MPH Program, June 2012
"I highly recommend the VAGLA DI to future dietetic students. I not only developed my clinical skills, but also honed my organizational, interpersonal and time-management skills. Interacting with the boisterous veteran population, providing nutrition assessments for patients with complex co-morbidities and the diversity of rotations were some of the highlights of the program for me. I especially enjoyed the special interest option, where I had the opportunity to tailor the rotation to my specific interests in public health nutrition. This internship stands miles apart from other programs and it's a shame that not every intern can experience the rigorous training in professionalism and practice that this program provides."
-Chris Chau, MS, MPH, RD -Graduating Class: Combined MPH Program, June 2012
"I do not think I could have received a better education or internship experience at any other program than the VA Los Angeles. From the very first day all the way through graduation, I was positively challenged to meet high standards of nutrition excellence. At the VA I was able to increase my knowledge of, and experience in, a wide variety of nutrition fields. I was so prepared for the work force after graduating, that I passed my exam right away (as did my entire graduating class!) and was working full-time soon after. As a teaching hospital, the environment at the VA is uniquely supportive, as the entire staff (not just your preceptors) go out of their way to ensure their interns gain invaluable skills in all areas of healthcare. I feel honored to have been part of such an extraordinary internship program!"
-Megan Somerville, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, April 2012
"I cannot speak more highly of the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System dietetic internship. With a strong clinical focus, I gained extensive experience in both the inpatient and outpatient settings which has allowed me to move into my professional career as a dietitian confidently. Working with the dynamic patient population further strengthens your skills by providing experiences with complex, co-morbid medical conditions and various psychosocial barriers. The preceptors are generous with their knowledge and actively support a learning environment. As a teaching hospital, the multidisciplinary team at the VA further supports this learning process. Overall, the internship is extremely well-rounded and provides rich experiences in all areas of dietetics. Interns graduate the internship as competent healthcare practitioners and with pride for the field. It was a pleasure to complete my dietetic internship at the VA and I feel privileged to have served the veteran patient population."
-Christina Nguyen, RD - Graduating Class: Non-Degree Program Track, April 2011
"I had an amazing experience in the combined program at VAGLA! This internship is well organized by top-notch staff, the preceptors are phenomenal, and it really did live up to its fantastic reputation. After graduating and talking to other new RD's in the field, I realized that VA interns gain significantly more hands-on, independent work experience in this internship, as compared to many others. By the time I graduated I could say that I felt confident working independently on a medical team in a clinical setting, counseling patients one-on-one and in groups, and even creating materials and writing nutrition-related articles. I truly believe that this internship allows you to explore whatever your interests are. Mine happened to be in maternal and child nutrition, and I felt that I gained countless beneficial experiences to equip me in my career. I will always have a special place in my heart for the VA."
-Rachel Blaine, MPH, RD - Graduating Class: Combined MPH Program, June 2010