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


The mission of the VA St. Louis Dietetic Internship Program is to prepare entry-level registered dietitians to meet the challenges of health care and community environments through a well-rounded program that focuses on the continuum of care from health promotion to disease prevention and treatment with an emphasis on delivering patient-focused care, developing cultural sensitivity and advocating for change. 


 Goals  Objectives
 1. To prepare culturally competent graduates who have attained skills to perform entry-level dietetics practice related to health promotion, disease prevention and treatment and to serve the nutritional needs of the Veteran population and the community at large. a. At least 80% of program students complete the program requirements within 150% (63 weeks) of the program length.
b. 80% of program graduates will take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion. 
c. The program's one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%. 
d. Of graduates who seek employment, 70% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
e. 100% of graduates completing the program will demonstrate improved cultural competence along with knowledge of health promotion and disease prevention and treatment strategies over the course of the internship program.
f. At least 90% of employers responding to post graduate surveys will rate graduates as performing at entry level in areas related to health promotion, disease prevention and treatment, and cultural competency when delivering patient-focused care while working with diverse groups of patients, clients and other health care providers (at 12-18 months of graduation).
 2. To prepare graduates to effectively work with diverse patient and community populations and to advocate for programs and polices aimed at improving health among vulnerable individuals and populations. a. 80% of graduates will report high confidence in their abilities to use a unified health communication approach (awareness of an individual's health literacy, cultural preferences, reading ability and language skills) with patients, clients, and other stakeholders (at 12-18 months of graduation).
b. 50% of graduates will report having advocated for public or social policy reform or in health promotion, disease prevention or treatment efforts aimed at improving the health of vulnerable individuals and populations at a national, local, or organizational level when surveyed within 5 years of graduation.
c. 20% of graduates will be employed in the VA Health System within 5 years of graduation.
Goals Met: We are presently meeting or exceeding all of our Goals and Objectives. Additional  program outcome information is available upon request to the internship director. - 100% of our graduates take and pass the RD Exam within one year of graduation.
- 100% of our interns complete the program in 10 months.
- 100% of our graduates find employment within 12 months and 40% of graduates are working within the VA Healthcare System nationwide.
-100% of employers responding to our survey rate our graduates as "highly trained" and performing at entry level or above in their first job. 
-100% of graduates report high confidence in their ability to use a unified health communication approach.
-100% of interns demonstrate improved cultural competence along with knowledge of health promotion and disease prevention and treatment strategies over the course of the internship program.




Becoming a Registered Dietitian is a three-step process:

Step 1: Complete an undergraduate or graduate Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The DPD provides all the prerequisite and core dietetics courses needed to prepare for the supervised practice portion of the training. DPD and internships also offer specialized coursework and training for those interested in a specific area of dietetics.

Step 2: Complete the supervised practice work in an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship program. It may be desirable to complete an internship that "matches" your professional interests.

Step 3: Pass the national Registration Exam for Registered Dietitians, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Some states also required the RD be licensed to practice. Check with your individual state of residence for details about any licensing process.

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