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Dietetic internship program receives full accreditation

Katy Vanderwal, pictured at right, will receive an award from the South Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Brookings Health System Registered Dietitian Katy VanderWal, right, goes over a report with Alyssa Kauffman, an intern from South Dakota State University. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics has granted SDState’s dietetic internship program full accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics has granted South Dakota State University’s dietetic internship program full accreditation for seven years.

Accreditation is granted for the dietetic internship, which is a 22-month master’s degree with supervised practice program. The program has a community nutrition concentration. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s national exam for registered dietitian nutritionists.

“This is great news for our program, which started in 2014,” said Becky Jensen ’93/’09, who is the internship director. “We have been fortunate to have had 13 students thus far complete the program and become employed in various dietetics practice areas since starting the program. Eight of those 13 students have even stayed in South Dakota and work as registered dietitian nutritionists and now serve as preceptors for current interns. The support of SDSU faculty, staff, administration and our many sites and preceptors across the state are why we have this accredited program.”

Interns spend their first three semesters in the program taking graduate courses and working on their thesis or capstone projects. Starting with the fall of their second year in the program, interns are placed in a regional rotation area in South Dakota to engage in supervised practice rotations while completing graduate coursework online.

Students must complete at least 1,200 supervised practice hours, which are accomplished in a variety of clinical, management and community settings. Interns spend the bulk of their clinical and management rotations in a health-care setting. During community rotations, interns are engaged in various community outreach programs and services at South Dakota Women, Infants, and Children program, Hy-Vee, SDSU Extension and school systems.