Dietetic Intership

The Dietetic Internship is housed within the Department of Nutrition & Food systems and the College of Health.  It is a graduate level practicum program, incorporating supervised practice with graduate coursework.  Completion of the program requires 24 hours of graduate credit.  No graduate degree is awarded at the completion of the DI; however, 18 hours will be credited toward the Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems and program graduates are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Sixteen interns are enrolled in the program from June through May. Interns are admitted either during the pre-selection process (see Dietetic Internship Application) or through computer matching.  Interns attend classes during the summer semester and begin supervised practice activities in the fall semester.  Each intern is assigned to a primary supervised practice facility in Jackson, the Hattiesburg area, or along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

All interns are required to participate in a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice while enrolled in the dietetic internship.  Interns place in supervised practice facilities for 32 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters (33 weeks).  Rotations during the internship include: orientation general clinical, renal, nutrition support, long-term care, WIC, child nutrition programs, general foodservice management, staff experience, food bank, and a 2-week special interest rotation at the end of the internship.  In addition, interns gain other experiences through a variety of experiences and activities, including: Health Promotion & Education intervention, Diabetes Camp, Recruiting, Community Health Activities, Journal Club, Menu Planning, Professional Development, and Leadership Activities.The Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Southern Mississippi is currently granted initial accreditation status by The Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the American Dietetic Association (CADE), 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 312/899-4876.

Facilities & Rotations

Facilities:

Rotations:

  • Diabetes Camp
  • General Clinical/Pediatrics
  • Renal
  • Nutrition Support
  • Long Term Care
  • Staff Experience
  • General Foodservice Management
  • Child Nutrition Programs
  • WIC
  • Food Bank
  • Staff Experience
  • Food Bank
  • Health Promotion & Education Intervention
  • Recruiting
  • Community Health Activities
  • Journal Club
  • Menu Planning
  • Professional Development/ Leadership Activities
  • 2 week Special Interest Rotation

Program Concentration: Health Promotion and Education

This concentration area was chosen as a way to meet the new mission of the dietetic internship at The University of Southern Mississippi, through the provision of “integrates graduate level education and research with supervised practice activities to prepare entry-level dietitians that work to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.”  In addition to helping the program to achieve its mission statement, the concentration area draws on the strengths of the department, whose research focus is on community based nutrition interventions.

These competencies have a strong focus on health promotion and education of diverse populations across the lifespan.  In addition, these rotations compliment the competencies outlined for accredited dietetic internships and will enhance the intern’s knowledge and skills working in a variety of settings and improve research skills.

Health Promotion and Education Concentration Competencies:

HPE 1.   Conduct a needs assessment with a select population
HPE 2.   Develop and implement a health promotion program
HPE 3.   Evaluate a health promotion program
HPE 4.   Develop and evaluate reports, budgets, and plans of work to document program effectiveness
HPE 5.   Consult with organizations regarding food access for target populations
HPE 6. Evaluate the operation of health promotion programs in the areas of policies and procedures, staffing, scheduling, and recruitment/screening of volunteers/clients. 
HPE 7.   Develops and delivers nutrition presentations to client/consumer audiences on various topics related to client/consumer needs
HPE 8. Ensure cultural relevancy and appropriateness of nutrition education
HPE 9. Assess educational needs and provide nutrition counseling based on individual needs, knowledge, medical needs, and socioeconomic status

Interns successfully completing the internship will be eligible to take the registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Successful completion of the internship and the registration examination meet the requirements to be a Registered Dietitian (RD).  In addition, the interns will be eligible for provisional licensure. 

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MISSION, GOALS AND OUTCOMES

Mission Statement

The Dietetic Internship at The University of Southern Mississippi integrates graduate level education and research with supervised practice activities to prepare entry-level dietitians that work to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.

Program Goal 1

To develop and maintain a high quality Dietetic Internship that prepares students for careers in dietetics and provides the knowledge, skills, and values for post-graduate education.

Outcome Measures

1.1 80% of Dietetic Internship graduates will pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians on the first attempt.
1.2 Dietetic intern program graduates will indicate they are adequately prepared to begin practice as an entry level dietitian in the following areas: foodservice management, school foodservice, clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and long-term care, as measured by an average score of 4/5 on the DI Program Evaluation
1.3 Program graduates will score at least a 15 on the nutrition portion of the registration exam.
1.4 Program graduates will score at least a 15 on the food systems portion of the registration exam.
1.5 Employers will rank program graduates overall job performance in their current position as satisfactory, as indicated by an average score of 4/5.

Program Goal 2

To prepare students to enter the profession with the skills to analyze and synthesize information at the graduate level.

Outcome Measures

2.1 60% of program graduate will complete the Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems degree within 3 years of receiving a verification statement from the dietetic internship.
2.2 Employers will rank the graduate's ability to analyze and synthesize complex information as satisfactory, as indicated by an average score of 4/5.

Program Goal 3

To prepare and supply dietetic professionals that meet the needs of the Southeastern region of the United States (GA, AL, FL, MS, AR, LA, TX, & TN)

Outcome Measures

3.1 95% of interns who are admitted into the program will successfully complete all program requirements and earn a Verification Statesmen within 18 months (150% of timeframe for completion).
3.2 90% of Dietetic Internship graduates will be employed in an area of dietetics within 3 months of completing the internship or continue with their graduate degree.
3.3 80% of Dietetic Internship graduates will be employed in the SE region of the United States within 6 months of completing the internship.

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Admission Requirements

Requirements for Admission to the Southern Miss Dietetic Program

  • You Must Be Admitted To The Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems Graduate Program at Southern Miss(Either regular or conditional admission) to be considered as a candidate for the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship (DI). Admission to the graduate program may be granted pending receipt of final undergraduate transcript.
  • A Verification Statement signed by the DPD Program Director.  If you have not yet completed your DPD, you must be able to submit a Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree signed by the DPD Program Director, and submit the Verification Statement following completion of the program.
  • Minimum academic records for admission to the program are:
    • GPA of 2.75 on the last 65 undergraduate hours (graduate school requirement)
    • GPA of 2.75 on didactic coursework (dietetic internship requirement), and you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 on required science prerequisites, with no grade lower than "C" in ANY of those courses.  The following courses are included:
      General Chemistry (at least 1 semester)      
      Anatomy & Physiology (at least 1 semester)
      Organic Chemistry (1 semester)
      Microbiology (1 semester)
      Biochemistry (1 semester)
    • Apply for preselect or computer matching. 
    • Have a personal interview on selected dates with Southern Miss Internship selection committee. 

International Students

In order for an individual educated outside of the United States to become a Registered Dietitian, registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), they must first meet certain requirements different from US students.  International students who wish to apply for a position in the southern Miss Dietetic Internship must first meet all requirements for an international student at the university.  In addition, he/she must hold a valid verification statement from a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education (CADE).

Steps and Deadlines for DI Application

Step 1: Apply to Graduate School

  • Application to Graduate School Program and fee of $50
  • GRE Scores sent to graduate school
  • All college/university transcripts to graduateschool (including fall 2010 grades).
  • All items must be received by the graduate school by 5 p.m. on January 3, 2011 for preselect and by February 15, 2011 for computer matching.

Step 2: Centralized Application: DICAS

  • The Dietetic Internship Program at The University of Southern Mississippi uses the on-line centralized internship application, referred to as DICAS.

  • DICAS can be accessed at the https://portal.dicas.org (NOTE: The DICAS portal will not be available until after December 8, 2010 for the 2011 Spring Match)

  • E-mail DICASinfo@DICAS.org.  The online application MUST be completed by 11:59 pm Central Time on January 3 for preselect or February 15, 2011 for computer matching..

  • The fee to DICAS is $40 for the 1st application submitted and $20 for each additional application.

  • On the DICAS application – applicants will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1,000 words or less.  Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
    • Why do you want to enter the profession of dietetics?
    • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  • Official Transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended (including fall 2010 grades) should be sent to:

    DICAS – Transcript Dept
    PO Box 9118
    Watertown, Ma  02472

  • When completing the application form, you must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference.  This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line.

  • When contacting your references , please indicate they need to comment on the following qualities in the letter:

    (a) Knowledge in chosen field, analytical ability, ability to plan and conduct research, creativity, imagination, and
    intellectual ability
    (b) Motivation, perseverance toward goals, ability to work independently and potential for success in career field
    (c) Ability to express thoughts clearly in spoken and written English, ability to work with others and potential for
    college teaching

  • Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.

Step 3: Supplemental Internship Application

  • Click here for the Preferred Placement for Supervised Practice Form.

  • Complete the form along with a $45 check made payable to the Dietetic Internship Program at Southern Miss. This fee is non-refundable.

  • The form and the application fee must be mailed to:

    Elaine Fontenot Molaison, PhD, RD
    Dietetic Internship Director
    Department of Nutrition & Food Systems
    118 College Drive #5172
    Hattiesburg, MS 39406

  • Postmarked date on the Supplemental Application Form must be on or before January 3, 2011 for preselect or February 15, 2011 for computer matching.

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Pre-Select and Computer Matching

Preselect Option
Up to eight (8) of the sixteen (16) Southern Miss Dietetic Internship positions may be filled by the Preselect Option rather than Computer Matching.  There are two ways to qualify for preselect:

  • A student must have completed, or be enrolled in at least six (6) hours of graduate classes at The University of Southern Mississippi in a curriculum designed to lead to a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Food Systems,
  • Or a student can be a Southern Miss undergraduate DPD student who has been granted admission to graduate school at The University of Southern Mississippi with the declared intent of completing a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Food Systems.

Step 4: Computer Matching
Applicants who do not participate in or qualify for preselect MUST participate in computer matching.  Applicants should request instructions and a mark/sense card to prioritize their DI preferences.  Applicants should request this material from any ADA-approved Didactic Program in Dietetics or from D & D Digital Systems.  This request should be made to allow turn around time for submitting by a February 15 postmark deadline.  There is no charge for this material.  However, there is a $50.00 charge for computer matching that is due with the applicant's prioritized ranking.  Address requests for computer matching instructions and a mark/sense card to:

D&D Digital Systems
304 Main Street, Suite 301
Ames, Iowa 50010-6148
www.dnddigital.com/ada

Applicants will be advised of computer match/no match in a letter from D & D Digital.  After the computer matched applicant has notified the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship Director of his/her acceptance of the computer match, he/she will receive a letter of appointment from the Internship Director.

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Costs and Financial Aid

Tuition

Please refer to Business Services for current tutition rates and other possible student expenses.

Course Supplements/Fees

~$200

Textbook/supplies

~$800

Professional needs

~$400

Housing and Transportation Interns are responsible for all living expenses and travel associated with the dietetic internship
RD Review Course $430 cost will be included as part of course fees

Professional Meetings** 

ADA Food and Nutrition Conference & Exhibition / MS Dietetic Association Annual Meeting Registration, Hotel, & Travel

* Fees subject to Change without notice
** Registration, hotel, meals, & travel cost will vary

Southern Miss Tuition Rates

Financial Aid

Full-time graduate students are eligible for federally guaranteed student loans and other forms of financial assistance.  Those interested in such assistance should contact the Southern Miss office of financial Aid at 601-266-4774 or at www.usm.edu/financial aid/

In addition, scholarships are offered through the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems.  Applications are available in the department office early in the year.  Additional professional scholarships may be available through the American Dietetic Association Foundation.  Information these scholarships can be found at http://www.eatright.org/students/careers/aid.aspx   Students must be a member of the American Dietetic Association to be eligible to apply for Foundation scholarships.

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Calendars and Schedules

Since interns must be admitted to graduate school as part of the admission process, they must follow the university’s academic calendar. As part of the internship, these students will be enrolled in three semesters of course work.  A typical schedule for an intern may include the following courses:

Semester Course Title Credit hours
SUMMER
NFS 630 Food Systems Management                         

4

NFS 640 Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy 

4

FALL
NFS 567L Practicum in Dietetics                              

3

NFS 664 Seminar

2

NFS 694 Current Topics in Food Systems Management 

3

SPRING  
NFS 567L Practicum in Dietetics                              

3

NFS 664 Seminar

2

NFS 715 Recent Developments in Applied Nutrition                            

3

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Program Completion Requirements

Interns may be admitted to the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship with conditional admission to graduate school.  Those interns must meet all of the conditions of their graduate school admission in order to remain in the dietetic internship.  If the conditions of the intern’s graduate school admission status are not met, they will be forced to resign their position in the dietetic internship.  In order to re-enter the program, they will need to go through the application and selection process during the next year.  In addition, if an intern is placed on academic probation, it is the intern’s responsibility to determine and achieve the grades needed to remove the academic probation. 

In order for an intern to successfully complete the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship and receive a Verification Statement to that effect, he/she must complete at least 1200 hours of supervised practice experience, documented by submitting the completed NFS 567L Practicum in Dietetics Time Log for each semester.  He/she must also attend all scheduled orientations and seminars (NFS 664), the pinning ceremony and receive a passing evaluation on each of the competencies, objectives, and learning experiences in each rotation.  Successful completion of objectives must be verified by a Facility Preceptor or Facility Coordinator, as well as the Southern Miss Clinical Instructor or Southern Miss Internship Director. 

All interns are required to make a B (3.0 or better) in both NFS 630 and NFS 640 during their first semester of the dietetic internship.  Interns failing to maintain a B (3.0) or better in these classes will be dismissed from the internship and will not begin supervised practice in the fall semester.  Interns must also maintain a 2.75 GPA in concurrent graduate classes to meet all other academic standards of the internship.  If interns are conditionally admitted to the graduate program, they must adhere to all policies and procedures set forth by the Department of Nutrition & Food Systems and the Graduate School to maintain admission.

Successful completion of the Southern Miss Dietetic Internship qualifies a intern to take the examination to become a Registered Dietitian. Upon successful completion of the internship the intern will receive copies of a Verification Statement indicating that he/she has completed the internship. 

Any intern failing to remove the conditional admission status, remove academic probation, meet any of the above conditions,  or maintain a 2.75 overall GPA during the internship (summer, fall, or spring semesters) will not receive a verification statement at the completion of the internship.

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Policies and Procedures

As part of the dietetic internship at Southern Miss, interns are required to:

  1. Maintain admission to graduate school throughout the internship
  2. Take all required courses
  3. Have appropriate immunizations and ServSafe® certification prior to entering the clinical facilities
  4. Be covered by malpractice liability insurance
  5. Have the responsibility of transportation to and from the facility, field trips, and on any special assignments required by the internship (e.g. home visits, long term care facilities, etc.)
  6. Attend all required district, state, and national meetings required by the internship
  7. Be responsible for their own housing throughout the internship
  8. Be responsible for all emergency room and other medical expenses for treatment of on-the-job incurred injuries
  9. Be responsible for following the administrated policies of the facility
  10. Be responsible for providing the necessary and appropriate uniforms required, but not provided by the facility
  11. Be responsible for reporting to the designated individual at the facility on time and agree to any additional terms required by the facility

Many other policies and procedures are outlined in the Dietetic Internship Handbook.

University Policies and Procedures

Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights

The admission and retention policies of the Internship comply with the University's philosophy and intent regarding protection of civil rights of interns.  The University of Southern Mississippi’s Non Discrimination Policy Statement can be accessed at http://www.usm.edu/aa-eeo/.  It states:

The University of Southern Mississippi offers to all persons equal access to educational, programmatic, and employment opportunities without regard to age, sex, religion, color, national origin, Vietnam era veteran status, or disability status.  These provisions are pursuant to applicable federal and state regulations.  Inquiries concerning discrimination should be directed to the following:  Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #5168, 223 Weathersby Hall, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406-0001  Office: (601) 266-6618; Fax and TTY: (601) 266-6344

Accommodations for Disabilities

If an intern has a disability that qualifies under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate policies and procedures.  Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning, psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders.   Interns can contact ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies. 

Address:
The University of Southern Mississippi
Office for Disability Accommodations
118 College Drive # 8586
Hattiesburg, MS    39406-0001

Voice Telephone:   (601) 266-5024 or (228) 214-3232
Fax:  (601) 266-6035
Individuals with hearing impairments can contact ODA using the Mississippi Relay Service at 1-800-582-2233 (TTY) or email Suzy Hebert at Suzanne.Hebert@Southern Miss.edu.

Access to Records

Dietetic Interns have the right to access any personal, academic, or advisement records maintained by the Internship Director.  Any intern wishing to review his/her records should submit the request in writing to the Internship Director, and make an appointment to access the records.

Privacy of Information

The Southern Miss Dietetic Internship assumes responsibility for protecting the privacy of educational records of individual interns, as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin. 

Grievances

The first step in resolution of a legitimate intern grievance is to attempt to resolve the issue with the Facility Preceptor where the grievance originated.  If agreement is not reached, the intern may present an appeal to the Southern Miss Internship Director.  In the event that the grievance is still not resolved to the intern's satisfaction, the line of authority is the Chair of the Department of Nutrition & Food Systems, the Dean of the College of Health, the Southern Miss Provost, and the President of the University.  Refer to the current Southern Miss Graduate Bulletin for the Grade Review Policy for graduate classes.

References for Policies and Procedures Pertaining To Dietetic Interns:                                               

Southern Miss Graduate Bulletin
Southern Miss Faculty Handbook
Southern Miss Intern Handbook      
Social Issues Update & Policy Guide  

Contact Us or to schedule a tour

Elaine Fontenot Molaison, PhD, RD
Dietetic Internship Director
Department of Nutrition & Food Systems
118 College Drive #5172
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Phone: 601-266-6548
E-Mail: elaine.molaison@usm.edu

 

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