COPH’s Dietetic Internship program receives ACEND accreditation

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The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Board voted in July to accredit the USF College of Public Health’s (COPH) Dietetic Internship program for a term of eight years. 

The Dietetic Internship is integrated with an MPH (concentration in nutrition and dietetics). The 20-month long program gives students the knowledge, practical skill and professional values needed to meet the standards of education and core competencies for registered dietitians. The internship concentration area is population health, leadership and service. 

“This is a huge accomplishment,” commented Dr. Theresa Crocker, a COPH assistant professor and director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program. “What this accreditation means is that we are recognized as being a provider of a quality dietetics program. This program could never have been a success without our broad array of community partners and the continued support from leadership.”

Dietetic Internship students prepare packages for Feeding Tampa Bay clients. (Photo courtesy of Crocker).

Accreditation is a months-in-the-making process involving a self-study, a site visit that lasts for three days and a follow-up report from the site visitors detailing how the program measures up to 10 program standards. The team may ask questions or request clarification and the program director can respond.

And then wait.

After Crocker responded to a few of the accreditation team’s inquiries in December, the board met in July and the program received word of accreditation in August. 

“Honestly, when I got the final letter, it was a little anti-climatic,” laughed Crocker. “I knew we had a quality program, so I didn’t think there would be any surprises. I look forward to continuing to improve the program and help the next generation of nutrition and public health professionals with their careers.”

The college’s third Dietetic Internship cohort graduates in December; a new cohort is identified each spring with studies beginning in May.

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health