It takes unwavering determination to push through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at CHES but the rewards are great. Students who complete the program, get two of the requirements for becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist out the way at one time. This option combines the theory presented in class with experience in health care settings under the supervision of faculty or other health professionals. After graduation, students are eligible to take the national examination to become registered dietitians.
Admission to the Coordinated Program, which is currently accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, is competitive. Students apply in the fall or spring semester of their junior year. Admission decisions are based on overall GPA, grades in relevant courses, score on the admission exam, work/volunteer/leadership experience, class attendance, professionalism, and letters of reference.
Once admitted, students spend 12-16 months in the program depending upon when they apply. They enter a unique phase of their college education. No longer traditional college students, they have accepted the additional role of “professional-in-training.” This new role carries a greater responsibility and commitment to class attendance, timeliness, attire and other factors which directly relate to job performance and professional presentation.
The junior and senior years require more time on the student's part than normally would be encountered in a traditional college program. Students take a full class load each semester while working at a supervised practice facility. They complete many hours of practical or supervised practice hours in clinical, community nutrition, foodservice management, long-term care, and dietetics management and communication rotations. For most, a 40-hour work week is the norm in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year. Students work alongside dietitians in hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, employee wellness programs, and non-profit agencies.
On Thursday, May 2, seniors from the coordinated program in dietetics participate in a special graduation ceremony that recognizes the hard work and dedication it took to accomplish this feat.
“Our 20 coordinated program graduates not only complete their degree here at UA, but also complete over 1200 hours of supervised practice at healthcare facilities in the community. I am so proud of their hard work this past year and cannot wait to see what their future holds as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists,” says Lori Greene, MS, RD, LD, director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.
A food and nutrition team led by Dr. Linda Knol trained Alabama daycare personnel on innovative ways to put delicious and healthy meals on the table at their workplaces. The “Cooking for Kids” training program was sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama. Participates made some delicious dishes that were packed with flavor and lots of fresh wholesome ingredients. After preparing meals, everyone enjoyed sampling their work.
Another example of CHES faculty and students hard at work this summer – improving lives.
Because getting young children to eat the right kinds of food can be challenging, the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management is working with Community Services of West Alabama to help ensure that preschool children eat the healthy meals offered in the Head Start Program. Dr. Linda Knol, associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management, recently conducted a two day training for day care foodservice providers using a culinary nutrition program purposed for those working in a preschool setting. The goal of this training was to equip these workers with improved culinary skills and the nutritional knowledge needed to make healthy meals that young children will enjoy.
The program teaches foodservice personnel how to alter recipes to increase the use of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lower fat milks while decreasing saturated fat and sodium. They also learn ways to make the food more appealing and palatable to children. The program offers suggestions based on the Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative, which uses behavioral economics research to improve children’s food and beverage choices. Lastly, the program offers mindful eating strategies using principles from the successful Home Sweet Home Childhood Obesity Prevention Program,which was tested with families of Alabama children attending Head Start.
The project was sponsored with generous funding by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.