VA St. Louis Health Care System - Dietetic Internship Program
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Dietetic Internship Program

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VA St. Louis Health Care System

Application Information

The VA St. Louis Dietetic Internship Program participates in the SPRING on-line centralize internship application process, DICAS, which may be accessed at https://portal.dicas.org. The DICAS application fee is $50 for the first designation and $25 for each additional designation. There is NO SEPARATE APPLICATION FEE to apply to our dietetic internship program. There is an application fee of $65 for those applying to the master’s program at the University of Alabama. The D&D Digital matching fee is $55.

To Apply to Graduate School at the University of Alabama (UA):

  • Students may apply for the August Fall admission term in the spring each year. Graduate school applicants must be accepted into the master's program prior to being ranked in the internship program matching in March. 
  • To apply to graduate school, you must do the following:
    • Email Dr. Molaison (efmolaison@ches.ua.edu) to confirm that you would like to pursue your master’s degree; specify that you will be applying to the VA St. Louis Dietetic Internship Program.
    • Complete an application through the University of Alabama graduate school (https://graduate.ua.edu/prospective-students/apply-now/)
      • Select MS in Human Nutrition
      • DO NOT select an emphasis. Leave this blank. Only the Generalist track will be completed.
      • Select Fall admission term
      • Include unofficial Transcripts from all Colleges/Universities attended, statement of purpose, resume, and contact information for three (3) individuals to write a letter of recommendation.
      • Pay the application fee of $65
    • Due Date
      • February 15— for Computer Match Applicants
    • Apply to the VA St. Louis Dietetic Internship Program through DICAS during the Spring match cycle.
  • Effective 2023, students who do not possess a graduate degree must apply to and be admitted to the Master of Science in Human Nutrition from The University of Alabama to be considered as a candidate for the Dietetic Internship (MS/DI).
    • Admission to the graduate program may be granted pending receipt of final undergraduate transcript. 
    • Apply for the Fall term admission and select the Generalist emphasis ONLY.
  • Refer to http://www.nhm.ches.ua.edu/masters-in-human-nutrition.html and http://www.nhm.ches.ua.edu/dietetic-internship.html for more details on admission and programmatic requirements

To Apply to the Dietetic Internship (DI) Program:

  • Complete the online centralized internship application through Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) (https://portal.dicas.org)
    • Create an account with DICAS
      • Input information on the following: applicant, internships/match, educational information, DPD program information, program designations, and any other required information
      • Send official transcripts to DICAS
    • The DICAS Program code for the St. Louis DI Program ONLY is: 82
    • The DICAS Program code for BOTH the DI Program AND the UA Graduate Program is: 82
  • Due Dates per DICAS:
    • February 15— for Computer Match Applicants

To Register for Online Matching with D&D Digital (www.dnddigital.com)

  • Register with D&D Digital for "Internship Matching" to provide your contact information and pay a single matching fee for any number of prioritized/ranked Internships for matching (payment with a US credit card will be to C&L Snyder Companies). 
  • Be sure that you have applied to your program(s) of interest through DICAS  (https://portal.dicas.org/) and 
  • Prioritize/rank those Internship(s). Applicants may reorder their ranking of internships during a special period of time after the deadline to enter and rank Internships. However, new internships cannot be added to an Applicants list during this reorder time period. Refer to the Matching Timeline for a detailed list of dates. 
    • The D & D Digital Code for the St. Louis DI Program ONLY is: 353 
    • The D & Digital Code for BOTH the DI Program AND the UA Graduate Program is: 944 
  • Use your personal Login (username and password) to verify or edit your online profile and ranked list of Internships, and to access your matching outcome on Appointment Day. 
  • Applicants will be advised of computer match/no match from D & D Digital.  After the computer match, applicant must notify the Dietetic Internship Director his/her acceptance of the computer match. 
  • Due Date
    • February 15— for Computer Match Applicants

    - Match/Notification Day. Applicant matching results are posted on the D&D Digital website. Notification Day- Monday, 4/3/23 at 11 am CST.
    - Match/Appointment Day. Matched applicants must confirm acceptance of the match with the Program Internship Director as instructed in the Appointment Procedure section below.
    - Appointment Day- Tuesday, 4/4/23 by 11 am CST.
    - A DICAS and Computer Match Process Overview handout can be found on the ACEND website at: https://www.eatrightpro.org/-/media/eatrightpro-files/acend/program-directors/dietetic-internship-match-for-directors/dicas-and-dd-digital-overview-final.pdf?la=en&hash=6B3CEEEA6D95622739E9F002482D3CDDAA8B7EA4

    Applicant Review

    A maximum of six interns are appointed/matched annually. A Selection Committee, which consists of the dietetic internship director and staff dietitians who serve as preceptors, will review the applications and interview the final candidates. The Committee looks for mature, well-rounded individuals with a solid dietetic knowledge base, awareness and understanding of our program concentration, professional goals that match what our program has to offer, well developed verbal and written communication skills, and a strong work ethic. Applications of qualified candidates will be reviewed and scored on GPA, work experiences, volunteer experiences, letters of recommendation and the personalized statement/letter of application. The top candidates will be contacted and interviewed by phone using the Performance-Based Interviewing method. No in-person or virtual interviews are conducted. It is highly recommended that applicants selected for an interview review the following website to learn about the Performance-Based Interview process and how to prepare for the interview. When reviewing these materials, focus on Level 1 and 2 examples.   https://www.va.gov/pbi/ 

    Requirements

    •A minimum Total GPA of 3.0 is required. (This is the same at the University of Alabama)
    •Letter of Application/Personal Statement:
    Your letter should include the following:
    1.  Length of 1000 words or less describing your career goals and reasons for applying to our program. You may also follow the DICAS guidelines and suggestions.
    2.  Elaborate on relevant work and volunteer experience. Experience is a factor that is weighted in the selection of candidates. Non-dietetic related work experience may also be included on your application. If the bulk of your work experience is not related to dietetics, you may wish to explain in your personal letter of application how the skills transfer to dietetics.
    3.  Describe extracurricular activities related to dietetics. These may include volunteer experiences, food drives, student dietetic club leadership and/or membership, nutrition educational materials and/or classes you have developed, mission work, etc. Describe how these activities/experiences have affected you and will benefit you in your career as a dietitian. Do NOT include Practicum experiences as required by your school program. If your extracurricular activities are limited or not dietetics-related, please explain and/or describe how these experiences are beneficial to your future as a dietitian.
    4. As part of the Personal Statement, applicants MUST explain their reasons for entering the dietetics profession and write a response for EACH of the following five (5) questions:
        Q1. What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now as a practicing dietitian?
        Q2. What personal or professional experiences have you had that you feel will prepare you for that job?
        Q3. What characteristics or aspects of our program (not rotations or projects) do you feel will help you achieve your career goals? Explain how you will benefit. (i.e. Why are you applying to our program?)
        Q4. What areas of professional and personal growth would you like to enhance or work on during the internship? (i.e. What are your strengths and weaknesses?) Explain where you are now and how you would like to continue to develop in these areas.
        Q5. What rotations or projects listed on our website interest you the most and the least? Which ones do you find the most or least challenging? Please explain your answers.

    •Letters of recommendation
    A total of three letters of recommendation should be submitted to DICAS. Two should be from college professors/instructors and one should be from a work or volunteer supervisor. Letters must have been written within the past 12 months. DO NOT send more than three letters.

    Citizenship
    All applicants must be a U.S. citizen at the time of the application submission. Students with green cards/work VISA's and DACA status are not eligible. If selected, proof of citizenship, such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization is required as part of Federal Government paperwork.

    Education
    • Applicants must be able to read, write and speak English fluently and clearly.
    • Applicants must complete the minimum academic requirements set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
    • The applicant must hold a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited college or university and must have completed the requirements of an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). A Verification Statement of Program Completion is required.
    • Official transcripts indicating the date of confirmation of your degree or a Declaration of Intent to Complete a Degree is required prior to the start of the internship.
    • Please note that no credit will be given for previously obtained learning or work experiences prior to entering the supervised practice portion of the dietetic internship program. The University of Alabama program does accept prior learning for the graduate degree portion of the MS-DI. 

    Appointment Procedure

    • Matched applicants to the VA St. Louis Dietetic Internship Program must contact the Acting Dietetic Internship Director, Angela Franklin, MS, RD, LD, via telephone at 314-652-4100 ext. 64594 by the established deadline to confirm acceptance of the Match. It is recommended to call before 11:00 a.m. CST but no later than 4:30 CST. DO NOT LEAVE A VOICEMAIL MESSAGE. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the matched applicant.
    • Appointees MUST ALSO RESPOND IN WRITING via email to Angela.Franklin@va.gov or fax 314-845-5023 within 24 hours of the telephone communication of their acceptance or rejection of the appointment. 
    • A letter will be sent via email to appointees confirming the dietetic internship appointment/match.

    Physical Requirements

    • Appointees must be both physically and mentally able to safely and efficiently perform the responsibilities of a dietetic intern. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, navigating a fast-paced hospital environment, completing complex cognitive tasks in a timely manner, some lifting and bending, driving 30 miles or more to offsite clinics and affiliate sites, fully participate in rigorous clinical rotations, working while on your feet in a food production kitchen and various dining areas, interacting with inter-professional teams, successfully handle competing personal and professional demands, and completing projects by their due dates.  
    • Appointees must provide proof of a physical exam within the past year documenting that you are in satisfactory physical condition and able to meet the requirements of the program. 
    • A physical examination at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility may be requested by the appointee prior to reporting for duty, at no cost to the appointee, if available. Should the physical examination be unsatisfactory, the appointee/intern will be dismissed, and no part of the expense involved in reporting to St. Louis or returning home can be borne by the Federal Government.
    • Immunization records documenting MMR, Tdap and varicella (chicken pox) vaccinations is required, as is a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • As part of the Federal Government's paperwork and appointment process, the following is required at no cost to the intern: (a) a background check; (b) TB testing; (c) Hepatitis A and/or B vaccination; and (d) random drug screening may also be done.
    • A flu vaccination is also required and provided prior to flu season, at no cost to the appointee/intern. COVID-19 vaccinations are also available at no cost.

    Note: At this time, an additional background check and drug testing is mandatory for admission to some affiliate community rotations. The intern will be contacted by the affiliate site and is responsible for completing the required tests. The cost is paid by the affiliate site and the results sent directly to the affiliate site. The VA St. Louis Health Care System is not involved in this process and does not receive the test results. However, if the intern is not allowed to participate in the rotation due to the test results, the intern may be dismissed from the internship program. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

    For the 2022-24 master's degree, the program will begin at the University of Alabama in August 22, 2022. 
    For the 2023-24 academic year, the internship program will begin on August 9, 2023. 
    Graduation is May 31, 2024 from both the university and internship program.