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Dietetic Internship

The Dietetic Internship Program at Harper University Hospital is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the United States.

We are pleased you are interested in our 45-week medical nutrition therapy (MNT) internship program. The program prepares graduates to become competent, entry level dietetic practitioners with an emphasis on clinical practitioner skills. We participate in the fall match and our program starts in January.

During the program, dietetic interns receive broad experience at seven major teaching hospitals at the Detroit Medical Center. Working closely with experienced preceptors, they prepare to join the many other successful graduates who have completed the Harper Hospital Dietetic Internship program.

Mission, Philosophy & Goals

The DMC Harper University Hospital Dietetic Internship will provide education and training to develop well rounded entry-level dietitians in a positive environment, which promotes health, nutrition, customer service, community awareness and continuous improvement.

The DMC Harper University Hospital Dietetic Internship is  accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

ACEND Strategic Goals:
To achieve its mission and vision, the ACEND board has established strategic goals.
ACEND assures the quality of dietetics education through a peer review process.
ACEND effectively communicates the accreditation process and expectations.
ACEND fosters innovation in dietetic education.
ACEND has chosen to be recognized as an accrediting body by the federal government, through the United States Department of Education (USDE), which recognizes the quality and effectiveness of ACEND as the accrediting body for dietetics education programs.

The address and phone/FAX number of ACEND ACEND@eatright.org are:
120 South Riverside
Plaza Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
FAX: (312) 899-4817 
PHONE:  800/877-1600 X 5400

Program Goals and Outcomes

Goal #1
Graduates will complete all the core competencies required by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and meet expectations or above in performance of these competencies.
Objective 1: Interns will graduate the internship with an 80% or greater overall score on their mid and final evaluations. Complete a 45-week internship program.
Objective 2: 100% of the interns will complete the dietetic internship. Successfully pass the exam for registration status.
Objective 3: Over a five-year period 80% of the graduates will pass the exam on their first attempt. Work in the field of dietetics or a related field.
Objective 4: Upon graduation 80% or more of the graduates will find employment in a dietetics related field within 1 year. Feel that they have been trained effectively and are able to provide quality nutritional care and/or services in a working environment.
Objective 5: One year after graduation graduates will rate their entry level skills as “meet expectations” or above in 80% of the competencies.
Objective 6: One year after graduation, the employers will rate 90% of the graduates as “meets expectations” or above in competencies.

Goal #2
To provide service to the community and profession by:
Objective 1: Preceptors will provide specialty clinical rotation experience to a minimum of two interns from other dietetic education programs each year. Students that are interested in Dietetic Programs are provided opportunities to volunteer/shadow with RDNs in the DMC.
Objective 2: Preceptors will provide nutrition related presentations to toher disciplines throughout the Detroit Medical Center, other dietetic Internship programs and the community.
Objective 3: Providing health and wellness to the community. The interns will participate in at least three health and wellness events during their internship year.

Outcome data for objectives available to the public upon request.

Program Completion
The intern will:

Successfully complete all rotation objectives.

  • Complete all assignments timely and accurately within the rotations.

  • Complete staffing requirements as defined in the rotation competencies in clinical and management areas.

  • Complete 100 percent of the competencies as delineated in the ACEND Competency Statements for Dietitians. Interns must show proficiency in all competencies by scoring 80% or above.

  • The intern will conduct her/himself in a professional manner as judged by the professional staff of the Nutrition and Food Service Department utilizing the Code of Ethics and Conduct developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics as the criteria 

  • Graduates of the program will be issued a verification statement and are eligible to sit for the registration examination for Registered Dietitians (RD). 5 copies of a verification statement will be provided to the graduate and a copy will be submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

    Overview of Program

    The program is a 45 week experience with rotations at various sites providing experiential learning to meet the ACEND competencies for Dietetic Internships. Rotations are usually 2-3 weeks in duration with a didactic class meeting 4-8 hours per week. This requires quick adaptation to each experience and provides many hours in clinical practice in addition to recommended experiences in public heath and food service. During the last few weeks of the internship there is a 4 week clinical staffing rotation where the intern will function as the clinical dietitian for a preselected hospital inpatient unit. A portfolio of mini-case studies (10) will be developed by the intern to demonstrate proficiency in MNT. The following table lists the types of rotations and learning experiences provided by the program.

    Dietetic Interns are scheduled for 40- to 50-hour work weeks, which include 4-8 hours of class. Interns work some holidays and weekends.

    Internship calendar year: The program begins the 2nd Monday in January. It is 45 weeks in length and ends the Friday before Thanksgiving.
    Holidays: Students will receive Memorial Day off . 
    One week of vacation is scheduled during the 4th of July holiday week.

    Areas of Experience    Highlights of Experiences Provided 
    AIDS, Bone Marrow Transplant, Burn, Cardiology, High Risk Pregnancy, Intensive Care, Internal Medicine, Neuroscience, Nephrology, Oncology, Pediatrics, Rehabilitation Medicine, Surgery, TPN Nutrition Support Team, Transplant
      Participation in multi-disciplinary rounds, charting, nutritional assessments, diet instructions. 
    Manager's Week
    Nursing Home
    Patient/Retail Food Service
    School Food Service
      Menu planning, inventory, food purchasing, scheduling, employee supervision. Teaching in-service classes; conduct sanitation checks; utilization of a chilled food service system. Work with food company retail account. 

    Community & Outpatient:
    Head Start

    Outpatient Education

    Public Health 
      Perform outpatient counseling and participate in diabetes outpatient programs, health fairs and community nutrition events. 
    Staff Responsibility in Clinical and
    Food Service
      Assume role of staff dietitian or manager in a specific area. 


    Outline of Rotation Weeks
    Below is an example of the 45 week rotation schedule. All interns will participate at each site, though the order of rotations may vary. Clinical rotations are arranged to provide progressively advanced experiences and are coordinated with didactic classes.

    Basic Clinical – Cardiology, ICU, Infectious Disease, Med/Surg., Neurology,  Oncology, Pulmonary   12 Weeks
    Pediatrics  2 Weeks
    High Risk Pregnancy   2 Weeks
    Burn / Trauma / Critical Care   3 Weeks
    Renal Inpatient  1 Weeks 
    Rehabilitation Medicine  2 Weeks 
    Outpatient Dialysis  2 Weeks 
    Staff Responsibility  4 Weeks 
    Patient / Retail Food Service  2 Weeks 
    School Food Service  4 Weeks 
    Management Staffing  2 Weeks 
    Nursing Home (Clinical and Management practice combined)  2 Weeks 
    Public Health / Community / Head Start  3 Weeks 
    Outpatient Education / DM / Bariatric Education / Diabetic Camp  3 Week 
    Orientation  1 Week 

    Financial Consideration

    The Application fee of $50.00 is non-refundable and should be sent to Diane Trippett at the address below. Send money orders, drafts or cashier’s checks. Do not send cash or personal checks. PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE SIGNED. MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO: HARPER HOSPITAL NUTRITION AND FOOD SERVICE.

    In-State and Out-of-State Interns Program Fee (due first week of program)

    Health Insurance   

    $ Varies and is required. Not provided by the internship. 

    Criminal background check   $0 
    Housing/food/utilities    $ Varies depending on the student's individual situation.  Internship does not provide housing or stipend for costs of living. 
    Travel     $ Variable gasoline, car and insurance expenses
    Application Fee $50  
    Application Fee    $50 
    Academy Student Member Fee   $64 
    Financial Aid is not available.        

    1. The intern will be responsible for providing their own housing. A list of the other interns will be provided to each of you if you would like to room together.

    2. A car is absolutely necessary to travel between practice sites.

    3. Interns supply all living expenses and supplies needed for the internship.

    4. Liability for travel and cost of travel to out-services, including meal costs are the responsibility of the intern.

    5. Interns are responsible for the cost of dental examinations, eye examinations and health care.

    Harper University Hospital provides the dietetic intern:
    1. Parking will be available, but may be by shuttle.

    2. Interns are covered under the Hospital Liability Insurance for malpractice through Harper University Hospital.

    3. A standard physical exam when starting the program.

    4. Access to Employee Assistance Program.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Program Director at (313) 745-5623 or dtrippet@dmc.org.

    Diane Trippett, MS, RD
    Director, DMC Nutrition Services
    Children's Hospital of Michigan
    3901 Beaubien
    Detroit, MI 48201

    Criteria for Acceptance

    The Dietetic Internship Program at DMC Harper University Hospital begins in January. Applications are due in September for November appointment.

    Applicants must meet current Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics requirements with a minimum overall G.P.A. of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Grades in major subject areas (professional sciences), must be 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.

    Applicants must:
    Have a verification statement from an approved undergraduate dietetics program dated within five years of the year the program will begin. If the date on the verification statement is more than five years old, significant academic course work in the area of nutrition and dietetics must be demonstrated and evaluated by the selection committee.

    Work or volunteer experience of some kind is necessary, preferably in hospital or food service settings. These factors, grades, references, letter of application, work experience and resume, are converted to numerical scores, which are used to determine the score and rank of applicants. The highest thirty scored applications are reviewed by the selection committee.

    The selection committee reviews the entire application — including letter of application**, references, grades and work experience.

    **The letter of application should clearly state why you want a dietetic internship at Harper Hospital, what your current and future goals are, why you think that you are suited to a career in dietetics. While you may highlight some of your experiences, this letter should not be an overview of your resume but rather a personal statement as to why you think you are a good match for the program and how it will complement your goals and interests.

    Application Process

    1. Harper University Hospital is participating in the on-line centralized internship application, DICAS. Check the DICAS web site (https://portal.dicas.org) for application dates for the fall match. The on-line application must be completed for our program by the deadline for D&D digital match registration. All applicable fees should be submitted to both DICAS (DICASinfo@DICAS.org) and D&D digital (www.dnddigital.com). Please contact these sites for detailed information.

    2. In addition, an application fee of $50.00 should be sent to Diane Trippett at the address below. Send money orders drafts or cashier’s checks. Do not send cash or personal checks. PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE SIGNED. MAKE CHECK PAYABLE TO: HARPER HOSPITAL NUTRITION AND FOOD SERVICE .

    Please Mail Application Fee To:
    Diane Trippett, M.S., R.D.
    Nutrition Services
    Children's Hospital of Michigan
    3901 Beaubien
    Detroit, MI 48201

    Students complaints process:
    POLICY:  An Intern may file a grievance in order to resolve a problem or issue with  a preceptor


    1. The Dietetic Interns will be notified during orientation of the grievance process.

    2. It is the responsibility of the Intern to pursue the grievance process

    3. No Dietetic Intern will be reprimanded, harassed or punished for initiating the process.

    4. Interns present a written copy of the grievance to the supervising dietitian.  If the problem is not resolved within 5 working days, then the intern may request.  The internship Director/Coordinator will convene a council of five staff members to review the problem.

    5. Two of the staff members may be selected by the intern if they choose.

    6. The decision of the panel is final.

    7. Students may file complaints with the Commission on Accreditation/Approval for Dietetics (ACEND) after all other options with the program and institution have been exhausted.



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