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Dietitian class graduates, already
Dietetic Internship director
Education and Research Programs manager
Since the eight-member class of 2008 Dietetic Internship graduated May
17, all have found jobs in the dietetics field.
The 12th class of MUSC’s dietetic internship program was geographically
diverse, representing states such as Michigan, New Hampshire and
Several will remain in the Lowcountry: one intern was hired by MUSC and
will serve as a clinical dietitian; another will work at Roper
Hospital; and the other at Colleton Medical Center in Walterboro. One
graduate will go northwest to work for Washington State, and the rest
of the interns returned to their home states. The jobs these graduates
obtained include working in medical centers, ambulatory care clinics
and wellness programs.
These eight women will certainly go far, as they were one of our
strongest classes ever. I believe that any one of these graduates has
the potential of becoming president of the American Dietetic
Association one day.
The class of 2008 accomplished many projects on campus and in the
- Research: Each intern completed a research project and
presented their abstracts and research posters at the Spring 2008 South
Carolina Dietetic Association meeting. Out of the two other accredited
internships in the state, this internship was the only one to present
intern-driven research at this event. Most of their research was under
the direction of MUSC registered dietitians and Mark DeLegge, M.D.,
Digestive Disease Center director.
- Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB): This internship has strong
ties with the LCFB and conducts a project annually. This year, interns
were asked to teach classes to children enrolled in the Kids
Café program about heart disease and stroke prevention.
- HELP (formerly called Lose to Win): Interns hosted the
first “Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan” to MUSC employees. This
weight-loss challenge featured a weigh-in and weigh-out to assess
changes in weight and body fat, weekly classes and newsletters to
educate participants, door prizes and gifts. Gift certificates were
awarded at the end of the program to those who earned the most points.
Points were collected based on the amount of weight and body fat lost,
as well as compliance to lifestyle changes; and maintaining a food
diary. The event expects to be held annually.
- National Nutrition Month: This year, the interns
coordinated many activities to promote the American Dietetic
Association’s message: “Nutrition: It’s a Matter of Fact.” Interns
hosted a registered dietitian appreciation day for MUSC dietitians,
developed several health-tip handouts posted in the cafeteria, and
hosted a nutrition “wheel-o-facts” game, among other activities.
- Marketing Project: Interns marketed MUSC’s Heart Health
program, a family-based pediatric weight management initiative. They
developed pamphlets, composed a list of local pediatric offices to send
the pamphlets, and drafted a sample Web site layout.
- Newspaper articles: Each intern submitted an article
addressing a contemporary nutrition topic to MUSC’s The Catalyst and in
the Post and Courier.
- “Biggest Loser” to North Charleston Police Department:
Interns developed this first annual program per the request of the
police chief, who noticed high rates of hypercholesterolemia and
hypertension among his officers. They taught classes and conducted
weigh-ins/outs. Despite a low participation rate by the officers, the
internship and the NCPD now have established a relationship for future
Other notable projects
- Digestive Disease Cookbook: At the request of the Digestive
Disease Center, the interns developed recipes, menus, and
recommendations for eight different diets commonly used for patients
with digestive diseases. This cookbook will be posted on the DDC’s
patient information Web site.
- Speaking to outside groups such as the Multiple Sclerosis
- Hosting Wellness Wednesday booths that featured nutrition
- Participating in several Lowcountry Live television spots
educating the public on prevention and wellness topics.
The Class of 2009 will start in early September. Since the internship
follows the same matching procedure as that of medical residency, MUSC
has filled all eight spots on the first round despite a national match
rate average of 69 percent. As usual, MUSC matched with our top ranks.
All rising interns have a bachelor’s degree in
nutrition/dietetics from the following institutions of higher learning:
Auburn University, University of Arizona, University of Maryland,
Michigan State University, Kansas State University, Miami University
(Ohio), University of Kentucky, and the University of Florida. A
reception for this class will be held at 3 p.m. Sept. 4 in Room 102,
Education Center/Library Building.
- Assisting MUSC’s nutrition department in developing patient
menus and cafeteria options targeting the Hispanic population.
All interns are eligible for this post-baccalaureate internship after
they have earned bachelors degrees (at least) from a university
offering an accredited nutrition/dietetics major. An under-graduate
degree in this field shares more than 75 percent of the same courses as
a pre-med degree, thus our interns come well-trained. Completion of an
accredited internship, such as the one offered at MUSC, is the final
academic step to declare eligibility to sit for the registered
dietitian board exam and, ultimately, become a practicing R.D. This
internship is housed in the Digestive Disease Service Line under the
medical advisement of DeLegge.
Statistics about MUSC
intern graduates to date
- 84 interns have graduated from the program (first
graduating class in 1997), which is a 100 percent completion rate.
- Less than 2 percent of graduates completed within 150
percent of the expected program deadline.
- The first-time R.D. exam pass rate is 98 percent (100
percent overall rate).
- 14 graduates (17 percent of total) have been hired by MUSC.
To learn more about MUSC dietetic internship, visit http://www.musc.edu/dieteticinternship.
- During the past five years, 32 percent of graduates
practiced in South Carolina after graduation, of which 25 percent of
graduates still remain; and 93 percent of graduates intending to work
as an R.D. found jobs within three months after graduation.
Friday, July 18, 2008
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