Program Mission

University of Maryland, College Park, Nutrition and Food Science Department, Dietetic Internship Mission Statement.

The Nutrition and Food Science Department (NFSC) Dietetic Internship advances the health of the public by high quality training in advanced information technology, and supervised practice in clinical, community and food management dietetics to prepare its dietetic interns for careers in healthcare, research and industry as entry-level dietitians.

Internship Philosophy

Each intern merits the effort of time and energy from the internship and preceptors to become a competent and proficient practitioner.  In this university-based program, the intern has a plethora of resources and opportunities that will enrich their learning.  The program believes the interns will benefit from a diverse academic setting where every intern is recognized as an integral member of the team.

Many learning experiences are planned for the intern to broaden his/her scope of the field of dietetics in addition to the information technology emphasis.  In the current dynamic health care sector, the intern needs to be aware of the many possibilities in his/her career as society has expressed a need for more and varied services.  The role of "student" opens doors for the intern to observe, to question, and to evaluate these possibilities.  Internship experiences will enable interns to respond to and manage environmental changes now and in the future. The internship believes the exposure of interns to many different career opportunities is an asset of the program.

Though supervised practice experience at many off-site facilities, the intern enhances his/her opportunity to meet role models and possible mentors.  The internship believes its preceptors serve as role models and mentors who embody our belief of competent and dedicated practitioners.  Further varies exposures assist interns in developing critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, effective communication skills and collaborative, team-building skills.

As a participant in the University of Maryland Dietetic Internship, it is imperative that participants be aware that this and all similar internships rely on a series of “supervised practice” rotations which provide planned experiences to meet accreditation competencies.  These rotations are made available by various institutions to the participants of the internships under various agreements between the internship and the participating institutions.  Many of these institutions are not part of or under the direct control of the University of Maryland and/or the dietetic internship program.  As such, each of these institutions operates under its own set of rules, regulations and policies; any intern assigned to one of these institutions will be expected to follow that institution’s policies and procedures.  Examples of these policies include, but are not limited to: hours of operation; need for vaccinations, urine tests, identity verification, and food service operating procedures.  And while the Internship is committed to making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of an intern, there is no guarantee that every requested adjustment can be met as these non-UMD facilities set their own rules, regulations, policies and expectations.  In that case, and with adequate notice, the Internship will attempt to locate another rotation for placement. To satisfactorily complete the UMD Dietetic Internship, a student must complete all planned experiences and major projects to achieve competency requirements as defined by the accreditation authority -- the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. The Internship is committed to support its students in furtherance of achieving these competency requirements.

There are not enough dietitians to fill vacancies in the Maryland-DC area in hospitals, long term care facilities and community clinics.  A continuing need exists to train skilled, entry-level dietitians to meet community needs.

At the conclusion of the internship, the intern will have benefited from working with a diverse group of practitioners, developed an initial dietetic network and enter the field as a well-rounded practitioner who appreciates the importance of active career involvement.

Internship Program Goals:

  1. Prepare dietetic interns to become competent Dietitians.
  2. Prepare dietetic internship graduates to meet the employment needs of Maryland - DC area employers.
  3. Enhance dietetic intern's application of information technology to applied nutrition, food safety and health.

Individual Goal Objects that are Monitored:

  1. For Goal One --
    • Over a five-year period 100% of interns will complete the internship within 150% of the program length (15.75 months/66 weeks).
    • Within six months of program completion 60% of graduates will have taken the registration examination and/or gone on to graduate school.
    • Over a five-year period internship graduates will achieve a first time pass rate of at least 80% to meet ACEND requirements.  Each year internship graduates will achieve a one-year pass rate of at least 100% to meet ACEND requirements.
    • Over a five-year period, 70% or more of DI graduates who sought employement in dietetics will be employed in dietetics within six months of program completion.

2. For Goal Two --

    • 100% of interns will complete information specialist training during primary technology rotation at "meets" or "exceeds" expectations.
    • 100% of intern professional portfolios (personal websites) will "meet" and/or "exceeds" expectations.
    • 90% of employers of graduates will report interns have above average information technology skills.

3.  For Goal Three --

    • At least 25% of each graduating internship class will become employed by a MD-DC employer for at least two years.
    • 80% of graduates achieve a satisfactory rating for entry-level practice from employers based upon feedback surveys.

Program outcome data is available from the director upon request.