Teamwork: Sharing Knowledge, Expanding SkillsTeamwork is very important to the Oakwood University Dietetic Internship Program. The purpose for group collaboration is twofold: first, to further develop each member’s understanding of the importance of sharing nutrition knowledge with the public; and second, to provide a group support setting for individuals to develop confidence in promoting health and nutrition through various media. Two types of on-going nutrition education projects have been developed: the High School Nutrition Research Project and the National Nutrition Month Project. Not only have these projects helped the interns develop the social skills necessary to work as a team, but they have also helped them learn how to convey health and nutrition concepts to others.
Each year, after the research project, the interns work together to prepare a presentation of their research findings. Every intern participates in both the preparation and the presentation. Data from the pre-test is compared with data from the post-test to determine if the attitudes and habits of the high school students have shifted. The results are compiled and analyzed using the standards of scientific research and written up for publication. The research is then presented for North Alabama dietitians and prospective interns at a continuing education meeting and luncheon. Attendance has ranged between 45 and 60. Participants have expressed their amazement at the teamwork and professionalism demonstrated by the interns during the presentation.
The Oakwood University Dietetic Internship Program also supports and participates in the National Nutrition Month campaign to reinforce the importance of nutrition and physical activities as key components of healthy living.
Each year, students in the program compile information to support the annual theme. This participation is another opportunity for them to develop their teamwork skills while promoting awareness of National Nutrition month. During the project, each intern is given a topic to research and write about, such as vegetables, exercise, water, etc. Each topic begins or ends with the National Nutrition Month slogan. Once the interns have finished writing about their topic, it is submitted to the program director, who compiles the information into one article. The article is then submitted for publication. Some of the articles have been published in Today’s Dietitian, Southern Tidings and Oakwood Magazine.
Feedback from the article has been very positive. Undergraduate didactic program directors and their faculty, whose past students were interns in the Oakwood University Dietetic Internship Program and had contributed to the article, contacted Dr. Sovyanhadi. They expressed their happiness to see their students involved in delivering scientifically based food and nutrition information through mass media.
The high school nutrition research project has also elicited positive feedback. The school counselor, teachers, and principal felt that their students were fortunate to have had the interns visit their campus. They expressed their appreciation for the teamwork displayed by such a diverse group and for the willingness of the interns to challenge high school youth to modify their eating habits and make lifestyle changes.
The Dietetic Internship Program accepts fifteen applicants each year. Beginning in July and ending in May, the program allows interns to complete a minimum of 960 hours of supervised dietetic practice within a nine-month period. This program is currently granted developmental accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the American Dietetic Association, 120 South Riverside, Plaza Suite 2000, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995, (telephone) 312-899-0040 X 5400. Its purpose is to prepare graduates to be eligible to write and pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians.
Oakwood University provides experience at various hospitals, food service institutions, and long-term care, public health and wellness facilities across the North Alabama area and Tennessee Valley. It’s possible for students to perform their rotations in facilities located near their hometowns after the first three weeks of orientation.
Part-time rotations are available with the permission of the Program Director. Interns have an opportunity to adjust their rotation schedule according to their availability. It is possible for full-time University professors to complete their 960 hours of supervised dietetic practice during two summer sessions. Also, rotation assignments will be given according to previous experience and educational background.
Interns wishing to adjust their rotation schedule must write an official letter of request to the program director. They must include a plan detailing how they wish to complete their rotations, including beginning and ending times and hours of availability per week, month or quarter. All requests must be approved by the program director.
Interns may receive credit for previous experience. Credit hours will be awarded based on job descriptions, length of experience, and immediate supervisor’s letter of recommendation. The number of credit hours granted is based on the hours listed in the Suggested Rotation Schedule, under Number of Practicum Hours.
Program MissionThe Oakwood University Dietetic Internship Program trains dietetic practitioners to serve in the fields of dietetics and nutrition. It provides didactic and experiential opportunities which enable interns to develop skills, demonstrate professionalism, apply knowledge, and work effectively to improve the quality of nutrition for the people they serve. The program integrates faith and learning, preparing individuals to serve God and man.