MSD students volunteer at VT Foodbank

MSD graduate students Megan Morris, Anna Huffman, Christine Albertelli, Rebecca O'Reilly and Molly McKendry recently volunteered at the Vermont Foodbank as part of their field/volunteering learning experience for NFS 312.  They packed 525 boxes, which is 17,325 pounds of food for approximately 26,250 meals for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The Master of Science in Dietetics (MSD) Program in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont is a 30-hour graduate credit degree that prepares students for professional practice as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. (RD/N). The program includes didactic coursework and supervised practice experience culminating in student eligibility to write the exam for registered dietitian/nutritionists. The MSD program is proud that 100% of program graduates have passed the exam on their first attempt.

This program is designed for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in dietetics and have received an ACEND verification statement within the past five years.

MSD Program Concentration

The UVM MSD Program concentration is Community Health and Nutrition, with a focus on sustainable food systems research and education. This theme is embedded throughout the MSD curriculum and supervised practice experience.

The sustainable food system emphasis will prepare students to incorporate, promote and support the principles of sustainable food systems across all areas of professional practice as a registered dietitian/nutritionist. UVM faculty and students actively engage in many public health and community initiatives that support sustainable food systems and promote health, wellness, and disease prevention across the lifespan.

Community Health and Nutrition (CH&N) Concentration Competencies:

  • CH&N 1: Apply  working knowledge of sustainable food systems across all sectors of the food system model
  • CH&N 2: Design a sustainable community-based nutrition-focused health promotion intervention that incorporates each sector of the Strategic Prevention Framework
  • CH&N 3: Apply systems approach to developing solutions to professional practice challenges using case scenarios
  • CH&N 4: Participate in evidence-based research related to community health and nutrition
  • CH&N 5: Draft a legislative bill related to food access and/or sustainable foods using a systems approach

Curriculum Requirements:

The MSD is a two-year, 30 credit hour Master Degree program which includes:

  • NFS 310: MSD Journal Club (1 credit)
  • NFS 311: Dietetics Practice I (4 credits)
  • NFS 312: Dietetics Practice II (4 credits)
  • NFS 350: Seminar (1 credit)
  • NFS 360: Research Methods (3 credits)
  • NFS 392: Evidence -Based Research Project Design (2 credits)
  • Graduate level statistics (3 credits)
  • One course in ethics (3 credits)
  • One course in health care policy/administration (3 credits)
  • Two elective courses selected by the student to enhance their professional development in the community health and nutrition concentration (6 credits)

Sample Course Work Schedule:

Year One:
Fall   Spring  
NFS 360: Research Methods 3 credits NFS 310: MSD Journal Club 1 credit
STAT 200: Med Biostat & Epidemiology 3 credits NFS 311: Dietetics Practice 1 4 credits
PA 325: Health Care Policy 3 credits Supervised Practice 0 credits
HLTH 296: Ethics Health Care Professionals 3 credits    
Total Credits 12 Total Credits 5

Year Two
Fall   Spring  
NFS 312: Dietetics Practice II 4 credits NFS 350: Seminar 1 credits
NFS 392: Evidence-Based Research Project Design 2 credits Elective CH&N 3 credits
Supervised Practice 0 credits Elective CH&N 3 credits
Total Credits 6 Total Credits 7

*CH&N: Community Health & Nutrition

Supervised Practice Experience Information:

During the second and third semester of the MSD Program, students are immersed in more than 1200 hours of supervised practice over 39 weeks. This exceeds the requirement established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The supervised practice portion of the curriculum is integrated with graduate course work, providing a platform for students to relate their field experience to the academic underpinnings of the profession. Students spend 5 – 6 hours on Monday in NFS 311 and NFS 312 (Dietetics Practice I and II). From Tuesday through Friday they spend at least 32 hours in dietetic internship settings.

All Students Complete:

  • 40 hours of orientation to the program and supervised practice experience
  • 15 weeks in community rotations

    • The UVM MSD program has an emphasis in community health and the delivery of nutrition services at the community level. Through a lens of sustainable food systems, students will be introduced to the full spectrum of community nutrition programs and services available in the state of Vermont, and will develop skills in the administration and delivery of nutrition services for clients at the community level.

    • During a two-week community not-for-profit rotation at the Vermont Foodbank, students will learn about programs and policies that address hunger in Vermont.

    • Another three weeks will be spent at the Vermont Department of Health. Students will experience the WIC program from the local district health office perspective, as well as the Central Office priorities of public health policy development and processes involved in creating systems change to impact health outcomes.

    • In order to reflect the aging demographics of Vermonters, students will experience the provision of food and nutrition services across the spectrum of aging; in facilities and home- and-community-based settings. As part of their community rotation, students will spend four weeks working in a variety of long term care settings that may include nursing homes, adult day facilities, and other alternative residential care programs.

    • Three weeks of the community rotation will be spent in a public school setting where students will be immersed in the Farm-to-School initiative and experience nutrition education in the classroom as it relates to the school foodservice, school wellness policy development and implementation, and program management.

  • 15 weeks in clinical rotations

    • Students will spend six weeks in one of several small community hospitals in northern Vermont. During this rotation students will gain general clinical experience in the Nutrition Care Process and Medical Nutritional Therapy for patients throughout the life cycle and for uncomplicated common medical conditions. Students will participate in the monitoring, screening, evaluation and nutritional care of inpatient and outpatient clients. During their community hospital supervised practice, students provide care for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and patient load permitting, begin enteral feeding calculations and provision of care.

    • After completing the community hospital supervised practice, students will spend the next nine weeks at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) for their acute care practice rotation and additional general clinical rotations of cardiology and oncology, in addition to an outpatient setting. Students will participate in the acute care for patients on the renal and pediatric floors as well as the intensive care unit. In each of these units students will demonstrate their competency in Medical Nutrition Therapy for patients with complex medical conditions. The final two weeks of clinical are with the UVMMC Community Health Team, focusing primarily on the provision of outpatient nutrition services.

  • 7 weeks in food service management rotations

    • Students will learn, develop and practice their managerial skills during a 7-week supervised practice. Students will complete their FSM rotation in a patient care food service venue (hospital), at the University of Vermont Dining Service operated by Sodexo, or at Middlebury College.

  • 2 weeks (optionally longer) in staff relief rotation of the student's choice

How to Apply to the MSD Program:

Deadline for all application materials is in February each year, with decisions made in March, for acceptance the following fall semester. Specific dates are listed in the webpage for Track I in the information link below.

All applicants are required to interview on campus or via Skype/video conference prior to the final acceptance decisions. Contact Amy Nickerson, MS, RDN for more details regarding the interview.

MSD Program Tracks:

  • Track I Information: for students who have successfully completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics and obtained a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program.
  • Track II: has been discontinued and no longer accepting applications.
  • Track III: has been discontinued as of March 23, 2017 and no longer accepting applications

 

Graduation and Verification Statement Requirements:

MSD students must successfully complete all coursework, the comprehensive exam, supervised practice rotations, and the evidenced-based community project in order to receive the Master of Science in Dietetics degree and Verification Statement of Eligibility to write the exam for Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists.

MSD Mission and Program Goals:

MSD Program Mission: to prepare and educate graduate students who will successfully function as entry-level dietitians with specialized knowledge of and ability to apply the principles of sustainable food systems across all community health and nutrition practice settings. Students will take graduate level courses throughout the University of Vermont as well as advanced nutrition courses offered in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

MSD Program Goals: the MSD program at UVM has two overarching program goals.

  • Program Goal 1 - The program will graduate students who are adequately prepared for entry-level practice in dietetics.
    • Outcomes:
  1. 80% of students entering the program in Track 1 will complete the program in three years (2 years typically).
  2. 100% of students will pass the MSD Comprehensive Exam with a score of 80% or higher.
  3. 85% of students will be evaluated by the MSD Director and preceptors as consistently demonstrating skills to perform as an entry level dietitian for all competencies/learning outcomes.
  4. 80% of graduates will indicate “good” to “excellent” level of preparation for entry- level practice.
  5. 90% of graduates will achieve a first-time pass rate on the Registration Examination for Dietitians over a five year period.
  6. 70% of graduates seeking employment in dietetics will be employed within three months of program completion.
  7. 80% of employers will indicate that graduates have a “good” to “excellent” level of competency in: communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and application of research.
  8. One year post-graduation, 80% of graduates will indicate “good” to “excellent” level of competency in: communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and application of research.
  • Program Goal 2 - The program will graduate students with specialized knowledge of and ability to apply the principles of sustainable food systems across all Community Health and Nutrition practice settings.
    • Outcomes:
  1. 80% of students will demonstrate the ability to apply the principles of a sustainable food system.
  2. 80% of new graduates will report confidence in their ability to incorporate the principles of a sustainable food system across all areas of practice.
  3. One year post-graduation, 80% of graduates employed in nutrition and dietetics will provide examples of how they have incorporated the principles of sustainable food systems into their current employment and/or area of practice.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Graduates will possess the confidence, skills and knowledge to function successfully as entry-level dietitians in the clinical, community or foodservice management setting.
  • Graduates will develop specialized knowledge and skills in Community Health and Nutrition with a focus on sustainable food systems, through selected coursework, supervised practice experience and learning.

 

 

For further information contact:

Amy Nickerson, MS, RDN
Program Director and Senior Lecturer
University of Vermont
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
232 Marsh Life Science
109 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, VT 05405
Phone: 802-656-0670