Lipscomb University Dietetics Internship Program Receives Accreditation

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     The Lipscomb University dietetics internship program has received accreditation by the American Dietetic Association, according to Dr. Autumn Marshall, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences and program director. The program is the only one of its kind among church of Christ-associated universities.
     The Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, the accrediting board for the ADA, has granted Lipscomb a developmental accreditation. Lipscomb will have this distinction for the next two years, after which time a full accreditation may be granted. Although Lipscomb has a developmental status, students will receive the benefit of full accreditation, Marshall said.
     "I think we're going to have a tremendous response to this. We already have students who saw our name on the ADA website requesting information. I'm not having to recruit students. They are coming to us," she said.
     The dietetic internship provides a minimum of 900 hours of supervised practice. To apply to a dietetic internship, individuals must complete at least a bachelor's degree and CADE-approved coursework requirements. The internship is usually completed in six to 24 months depending on the availability of a part-time schedule or requirement of graduate credit.
     Individuals completing the program who are verified by the program director are eligible to apply for active membership in the ADA and/or sit for the registration examination for dietitians. Appointments to most accredited dietetics internship programs are awarded on a competitive basis through a computer matching process. Programs not participating in computer matching accept applications only from individuals already enrolled in the respective universities or employed by the sponsoring organization.
     Lipscomb's internship program was built on the already successful undergraduate didactic program in dietetics, which consistently produces near 100 percent acceptance rates into dietetic internships across the country.
     Marshall said that the program will provide, through affiliations with a number of healthcare facilities, the supervised practice required by the American Dietetic Association in order to achieve competency as an entry-level dietitian.
     "We have good people and facilities here. We also have good folks at the companies in the area who would work with us who are wanting to teach our students. Nashville is full of opportunities that will be excellent for our students," she said.
     "When you put that together with the special attention we're going to give the kids, it will really be successful. At Lipscomb, we have the opportunity to include a compassion component because we are a Christian school."
     Lipscomb has agreements with five Middle Tennessee hospitals, the Tennessee Department of Health, Opryland Hotel and the Agricultural Extension Service to provide supervised practice experiences for students. This provides for eight internship positions available beginning this fall.
     In addition to the more than 900 hours of supervised practice, the program will offer three to four hours of graduate credit through the Graduate Education Program.
     "The fact that it's through the education program makes it unique. Only about half of the programs in existence offer credit," said Marshall.
     She said this arrangement provides the opportunity for training in the field of education, with an emphasis on nutrition education, and also provides students with transferable credit toward completion of a master's degree.
     Students selected to participate in the internship program will be required to enroll in the graduate classes and pay an internship fee that helps cover operations expenses for the program. The maximum number of students who can participate in the Lipscomb program is eight. The deadline for submitting application for internships for the coming year is Feb. 15, Marshall said.
     For more information about the dietetics internship program at Lipscomb, contact Marshall at 279.6106 or 800.333.4358, ext. 6106 or e-mail Autumn.Marshall@lipscomb.edu.