General Information

As member of the health care team, the dietitian is directly responsible for the nutritional care of individuals and groups. This care includes the application of the science and art of human nutrition in helping people select and obtain food for the primary purpose of nourishing their bodies in health or disease throughout the life cycle. Dietitians work in a variety of employment settings including health care, business and industry, public health education, research, and private practice.

The Dietetic Internship Program (DIP) of the School of Health Professions is a post-baccalaureate program that prepares specialists in nutrition and dietetics. It is an eleven-month program providing learning opportunities geared to integrating previously acquired knowledge, obtain new knowledge, build resources for personal and professional growth, and develop skills in the best procedures for carrying out nutrition and dietetic services with emphasis in Medical Nutrition Therapy. It provides the student with opportunities to apply and integrate the scientific knowledge of nutrition and foods in the nutrition-medical treatment of individuals and groups.

Program’s Mission, Goals and Outcomes

Mission

The Dietetic Internship Program mission is to prepare competent entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist able to meet different professional challenges and changes in the health care delivery system.  To meet these challenges, the academic activities, go beyond the traditional professional skills by developing entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist with human sensibility, ethical and moral values and the holistic view of the human being. The academic activities develop in the dietetic interns critical thinking skills that lead them to analyze situations, and make responsible decisions.

Goals and Objectives

The Medical Sciences Campus, the School of Health Professions and the Dietetic Internship Program (DIP) mission and goals serve as the basis for the development and revision of the DIP goals. The goals and objectives were revised during summer 2019. The goals and objectives are in  accordance with the 2017 Eligibility Requirements and Accreditation Standards for Dietetic Internship Programs. The goals and objetives are:

Program Goal 1

The Program will prepare competent entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who will promote and maintain the best health conditions for the community, as members of the interprofessional team.

Objectives:

  1. At least 80% percent of program interns complete program requirements within 16.5 months. (150% of the program length of 11 months).
  2. At least 85% percent of the graduates judge that the Program prepares professionals in dietetics who will promote and maintain the best health conditions for the community as member of the interprofessional team.
  3. At least 85% of the program graduates are satisfied with the clinical experiences received throughout the Internship.

Program Goal 2

The program will prepare graduates with critical thinking, and leadership in foodservice systems management and community dietetics, with emphasis in Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Objectives:

  1. Of graduates who seek employment, 80% percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within twelve (12) months of graduation.
  2. 70% percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  3. The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.
  4. At least, 80% percent of employers assessed will judge graduates as competent entry-level licensed dietitian nutritionists.
  5. At least 85% of the graduates believe that the Program provides supervised learning experiences geared to develop knowledge and skills in foodservice systems management and community dietetics, with emphasis in Medical Nutrition Therapy.

The DIP has a Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) concentration area. The MNT goals are:

MNT1   Demonstrate the ability to critically appraise the scientific literature related to current MNT practice for chosen complex medical conditions.

MNT2   Perform Nutrition Care Process of patients/clients with complex medical conditions.

MNT3   Appraise enteral and parenteral regimens for complex medical conditions based on nutritional assessment.

MNT4   Apply communication skills in the counseling process, to integrate the nutritional needs of patients/clients with complex medical conditions.

Program Outcomes

The DIP identified appropriate measures for ongoing assessment of each of the program’s goals. The qualitative and/or quantitative outcome data obtained from internal and external stakeholders is gathered and analyzed in a timely fashion. Some of the graduate performance measures include: program completion, graduate employment, RD pass rate, graduate satisfaction, participation in community services, research activities and commitment to lifelong learning.

Specifically, graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the registered dietitian and for the PR licensure exam. Outcome data demonstrate graduates have a high passage rate, at least 90%, on the PR licensure exam, passage of which is required to practice in Puerto Rico as a professional in nutrition and dietetics. The program pass rate of the RD exam is currently less than 80% for the first takers.

*DIP outcome data are available upon request*

Steps to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Include:

  • Completing Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD).
  • Completing an ACEND accredited supervised practice program called a Dietetic Internship (DI) (consisting of a minimum of 1200 hours).
  • Passing a national examination administered by Pearson Vue under the guidance of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). CDR has mandated that beginning January 1, 2024, a minimum of a graduate degree will be required to sit for the RDN Exam. In addition, RDNs must complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration (75 hours/5 years) and many states require that RDNs be licensed or certified.

New Graduate Degree Requirement Effective January 1, 2024

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is the credentialing agency responsible for administering the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) exam. Effective January 1, 2024, the CDR will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree.

In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).  Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship Program at University of Puerto Rico are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.  Nevertheless, effective January 1, 2024 candidates must complete a graduate degree to be eligible to apply for the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements visit: https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure.

In order to practice the profession in Puerto Rico, it is necessary to obtain the RDN exam or the LND local examination and become an active member of the College of Nutritionists and Dietitians of the Puerto Rico. Since 2016, candidates who present evidence they approved the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Examination are exempt from taking the local LND examination, and may request a license in Puerto Rico.

Read more information about educational pathways to become a RDN:

https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students

Program Cost

Tuition, fees and other charges applicable to the Program are described in the Medical Sciences Catalog. The expenses related to tuition and fees can be found at following Internet address http://de.rcm.upr.edu/oficina-de-admisiones in the webpage at the Medical Sciences Campus.

Dietetic Interns are registered at a post-baccalaureate program.  Interns will pay a rate of $2,300.00 approximately per year. * This amount excludes other fees as:  construction, and graduation fee.  Students without medical insurance must additionally pay approximately $800.00 annually to the institution to subscribe to the student’s health plan. Upon acceptance, the dietetic interns must pay a reservation fee which is deducted from the tuition cost on registration day.

Dietetic Interns expenses during the internship, for PR residents are estimated to be approximately $7,000.00 (Personal, traveling and housing expenses required for rotation sites outside metropolitan area are not included). For further information:

(Please click here to download the cost in PDF format)

Admission Requirements

All academic requirements must be completed not later than the end of the second semester of the academic year preceding admission, excluding the summer session of that year.

  • A Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statement from an ACEND accredited DPD program and a bachelor’s degree from a US regionally accredited college or university. If a Declaration of Intent to complete an ACEND accredited DPD program is provided during the application process, a DPD verification statement will be required before beginning the Program.
  • A general grade point average of 2.50 minimum and an area of specialization grade point average of 2.50 minimum are required. The calculation of the grade point averages must include academic year’s first semester grades.
  • The applicant must have complete proficiency of the Spanish language; and also knowledge and comprehension of the English language.
  • An interview with the Admission Selection Committee of the Dietetic Internship Program.

The following documents have to be submitted:

*Application form to the Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico: 

Solicitud Uniforme Para Realizar Estudios en el Recinto de Ciencias Médicas

These forms may be obtained from:

Admissions Office
Deanship of Students
Medical Sciences Campus
PO Box 365067
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-5067

Telephones:  Area Code (787) 758-2525 Ext.5228, or
directly from the web site:

https://sistemas.rcm.upr.edu/admisiones/

*Official credit transcripts of all the universities in which the applicant has

studied. The transcripts must include the current academic years first
semester grades;

One (1) sent to Admissions Office
c/o Dietetic Internship Program
Deanship of Students
Medical Sciences Campus
PO Box 365067
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-5067

One (1) sent to Dietetic Internship Program
School of Health Professions
Medical Sciences Campus
PO Box 365067
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-5067

*Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree/DPD-Verification Statement and
the Academic Requirements of a dietetics didactic program.

  • All documents must be submitted in original.

IMPORTANT:

  1. January 15 is the deadline to submit completed application; Solicitud Uniforme Para Realizar Estudios en el Recinto de Ciencias Médicas.
  2. Applicants are encouraged to process the application, the transcripts and the required documents prior to the last day of the first semester of the current academic year.
  3. There is a non-refundable fee to be submitted with the application.
  4. Interview sessions for applicants will be notified by E-mail.
  5. Orientation sessions for accepted candidates will be notified by letter.

Program Schedule

The Dietetic Internship Program, is an eleven (11) months program (45 weeks). Starting during the first week of August and ending in June. It provides the dietetic intern with supervised practice experiences suitable for developing skills in the best procedures for carrying out nutrition and dietetic services.

  • Introductory Course (4 weeks)
  • RDN Exam Practice Week (2 weeks)
  • Supervised Practice Experiences (38 weeks)
    • Medical Nutrition Therapy (19 weeks)
      • General (10 weeks)
      • Concentration (9 weeks)
    • Food Service System Management (10 weeks)
    • Community Dietetics (9 weeks)

Supervised Practice Experiences

The Dietetic Internship Program has scheduled a rotation of thirty-eight (38) weeks of practice experiences at various institutions within and outside the Puerto Rico Medical Center where the Program is located.

The DIP is designed to be completed in 11 months. In order to comply with the institutional policies and procedures, the DIP graduation requirements must be completed within the established maximum time limit 24 months.

An additional week dedicated to vacation, comprise the forty-five weeks’ rotation schedule of the Program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate, students must complete the Dietetic Internship Introductory Course and approve all clinical experiences as specified by the Program. The information is readily available in the Dietetic Internship Manual.

  • Dietetic interns are expected to make systematic progress toward completion of their non-degree certificate. This academic progress includes approval of all rotations with at least 80% percent.
  • The Program’s Faculty and preceptors are responsible for the evaluation of the dietetic intern’s performance at the supervised practice. Specific strategies for the summative and formative evaluation of the dietetic intern’s daily performance have been identified.
  • The Faculty has established that in order to be eligible for graduation the dietetic intern must comply with all the Program’s requirements. These take into account the Dietetic Internship Introductory Course, the class program activities, and all clinical experiences including the Visual Veggies test and the eatrightPREP for the RDN ExamAll program requirements must be approved with a minimum score of 80%.
  • The DIP is expected to be completed in 11 months. In order to comply with the institutional policies and procedures, the DIP graduation requirements must be completed within the established maximum time limit-24 months.

Financial Aids Available

The Financial Aids Office is located at the Deanship of Student Affairs in the second floor of the building of the School of Pharmacy of the Medical Sciences Campus. The working hours of this office are 7:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. Financial aid programs available for graduate students at the Medical Sciences Campus. For further information, visit:

http://de.rcm.upr.edu/asistencia-economica/

Computer Matching Information

All applicants to Dietetic Internships listed in the instruction booklet from D&D Digital Systems must participate in computer matching. Applicants should request instructions https://www.dnddigital.com/. Applicants must register with the D&D online at https://www.dnddigital.com/, pay the computer matching fee and enter their prioritized list of selected dietetic internships online to D&D Digital before the designated deadline dates. The deadline for the February match is generally during the 2nd week of February.

Applicants are responsible for:

  • Notifying D&D Digital, in writing, of a decision to withdraw from matching process if circumstances will prevent them from accepting a match that may occur.
  • Telephoning D&D Digital if they cannot access the D&D Digital Internet site to view their personal matching results on Notification Day.

Applicants who receive a computer match DI appointment are responsible for accepting or rejecting the match by telephone or mail by 6:00 pm (of the program’s time zone) on Appointment Day.

Accreditation

The Dietetic Internship Program of the School of Health Professions, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietitics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Accreditation information can be found at https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accredited-programs/dietetic-internships

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
Email: ACEND@eatright.org
Phone: 800/877-1600, ext. 5400; 312/899-0040, ext. 5400
Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Website: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend

Program Faculty

Dr. Alicia Díaz Boulon – Program Director

Dra. Luz Alba Ruiz Sánchez

Physical Address

Medical Center Complex
Monacillo Area, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
School of Health Professions, Medical Sciences Campus, 6th floor, Office # 616

Further Information

For additional information please contact the

School of Health Professions – Office of Students Affairs 787-758-2525 ext. 4000 or 4001, SHP web page http://eps.rcm.upr.edu or alicia.diaz1@upr.edu Dietetic Internship Program Director 787-758-2525 ext. 4503/04

The information provided is effective upon publication date.  It is the students responsibility to be fully acquainted with the current admission requirements before submitting the application.  Students admitted must meet all of the admission requirements before proceeding with registration.

Medical Sciences Campus Non-discriminatory Policy

The Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate against any University employee or candidate because of sex, color, place of birth, age, physical or mental handicap, origin or social condition, political or religious beliefs.

(Please click here to download the Dietetic Internship Manual in PDF format)

Revised: March 16, 2020