Summer – Interns work on medical vocabulary and a clinical case study; individual placement sites may assign additional pre-internship assignments.
Orientation - The first week of the program is orientation. Activities include: explanation of schedules, expectations, policies and procedures; presentations by faculty and RD preceptors; and problem-based classroom activities to prepare interns for rotations. In 2013 and 2014 the internship added a second week as an introduction to Sustainable Food Systems that included work on a community CSA farm, talks by registered dieticians using sustainable food production methods in nutrition education, and a field trip to Ann Arbor, MI, to visit several farms.
Practicum – The majority of experiential learning takes place during supervised practice ("rotations") at clinical, food service, school, wellness, and community nutrition sites. Interns work 40 hours a week on site, occasionally more. A curriculum for each major rotation is provided and consists of activities that will ensure completion of learning outcomes required by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Interns are expected to come prepared for the day’s work ahead, so completing assigned readings and assignments, as well as any self-directed remedial work, on evenings and weekends is expected.
Didactic Programs - These are generally scheduled one day each month. Programs include field trips, group projects, and presentations by RDs and other professionals on topics of interest in all areas of dietetic practice. Interns present clinical case studies at this time.
Case Study - Each intern prepares a major clinical case study, both written and oral, during the clinical rotation. This is presented both to fellow interns and to RDs at the intern’s clinical site.
Written and Oral Presentations - Interns prepare a variety of written and oral presentations to clients, patients, staff, fellow interns, dietitians and other health care professionals through the internship.
Professional Development - Twenty-four hours of professional development activities are required during the program. These activities include, but are not limited to, attendance at the Gordon Food Show, the Michigan Nutrition and Dietetic Association Annual Conference, and Southwest Michigan District Dietetic Association meetings.
Enrichment Rotation - At the end of the internship two weeks are reserved for interns to explore individual interests. This may be done anywhere as long as a Registered Dietitian is willing to supervise the experience. The experience must also be pre-approved by the program director.
Wrap-Up Week – The final week of the internship includes preparation to take the Dietitian Registration Exam and introduction to the RD professional development portfolio.
Graduate Courses – In addition to the above, interns take three 3-credit graduate courses during the internship year. The 3rd graduate course is taken online and finishes approximately 3 weeks following the end of the internship. These 9 graduate credit hours plus 6 graduate credit hours earned during the internship practicum meet the first 15 credits towards a Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences dietetics concentration. Interns have five years from start of the program to complete the M.A., should they choose to do so.