The Dietitian Nutritionist Program offers opportunities for students to complete a 12-week rotation in a specialty area of nutrition. Specialty rotations are scheduled during the spring term of Year 3 in the program (Year 2 for DPD graduates). Students are guaranteed a Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) specialty rotation. Other available specialty rotations have a more limited student capacity. The availability of these specialty rotations will vary on an annual basis. Students must apply to be considered for a Limited Capacity Specialty Rotation.
Upon advancement to Year 2 of the Dietitian Nutritionist Program or entry to Year 1 for DPD program graduates, students will receive a link to the online application. If a limited capacity specialty rotation is desirable to admitted students, please complete all requirements and an online application opening on a date TBD and closing on a date TBD. Program faculty, as well as the specialty rotation preceptors, will review applications. Top applicants will undergo an interview and final decisions will be announced by a date TBD. This is a competitive application process.
If an applicant does not receive a specialty rotation of his or her choice due to the limited capacity, students are guaranteed a Medical Nutrition Therapy specialty rotation with a local hospital in the Pittsburgh area. Students are not permitted to locate experiential sites themselves. The Dietitian Nutritionist Program Director and Clinical Coordinator reserves the right to reassign a student to a different clinical facility and/or specialty rotation to best serve the learning environment for the student(s).
The Limited Capacity Specialty Rotations available for fall 2021 applicants include:
Community/Public Health Nutrition (1-2 students)
This Specialty Rotation will provide experiential practice beyond the basics in the area of community dietetics. It provides the students with the opportunity to apply knowledge of the nutrition care process and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to the practice of dietetics in the community setting. This involves planned learning experiences with a variety of populations of diverse cultures at various stages of the health/illness continuum. Students will have the opportunity to observe and then model the functions of both a community and public health dietitian. Through the combination of planned learning activities and professional interaction, the students will demonstrate an increased level of proficiency in providing comprehensive nutritional care to individuals within the practice setting. This rotation will provide the student with experiences in program development in non-profit organizations, nutrition education, food systems, population health and grant funding. At the conclusion of this rotation, students will have an increase in both knowledge and skills related to the education of persons from various populations and diverse backgrounds as well as public policy and program planning and evaluation arenas.
Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition (1-2 students)
This Specialty Rotation will provide experiential practice in maternal and pediatric nutrition including pregnancy, human lactation, and interaction with the pediatric population from infancy to adolescence. Students will learn about nutritional and lifestyle factors associated with fertility, pregnancy outcomes, and other high-risk groups in the pediatric population. Students will have the opportunity to observe and model the functions of dietitians providing nutritional care to individuals within the practice setting specific to maternal and pediatric nutrition. By the conclusion of this rotation, students will apply their advanced knowledge for medical nutrition therapy in the management of diseases specific to these life-stages.
Private Practice (1 student)
This Specialty Rotation will focus on the roles, responsibilities and daily functions required in a private practice care model. Students will shadow each of the Dietitians in the group, as well as work with the Dietitian on resource and meal plan creation when required. In addition to observing motivational interviewing and collaborative goal setting, students will be invited to join in the discussion for certain consults. Outside of counseling, students will view the billing, coding and accounting processes used in private practice, as well as the systems built to collaborate with various medical and community groups. Marketing and Social Media techniques will also be reviewed and new campaigns created and assessed during the course of the internship for analysis. At the conclusion of the rotation, the student will have a confident understanding of the day-to-day requirements to run an efficient private practice with multiple business models built for client referral.
Eating Disorders (1-2 students)
This Specialty Rotation focuses on individuals with eating disorders and will provide learning experiences in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. The rotation will provide exposure to three (3) levels of care where the dietitian is actively involved in the treatment of eating disorders, allowing the student to gain a more complete perspective of the vast and important role of nutrition therapy in recovery. It will be divided into three segments with one segment being spent with a registered dietitian on the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders inpatient unit at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. The second segment will be at Renfrew Pittsburgh and will be focused on learning more about the dietitian's role in the partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient level of care and nutrition counseling. The third segment will be spent with a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders in the outpatient private practice level of care. Students will be exposed to clients with a variety of eating disorder diagnoses and learn more about nutrition assessment, counseling, nutrition rehabilitation process, different treatment modalities for eating disorders, and the importance of a collaborative team approach.
Oncology Nutrition (1-2 students)
This Specialty Rotation will provide experience in clinical practice in the inpatient and outpatient oncology settings. With a focus in adult outpatient oncology, this rotation will include nutrition care in medical oncology, surgical oncology, infusion, and radiation oncology. Students will learn about all aspects of nutrition and lifestyle in cancer, specifically for cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. Students will work with and model oncology dietitians who perform a nutritional assessment of the adult oncology patient as well as individualized nutrition education and counseling specific to that patient’s treatment plan. Students will be able to attend tumor board conferences and other educational meetings, presentations, nutrition classes and support groups as available. By the conclusion of this rotation, students will be able to apply their advanced oncology knowledge to the management of cancer patients by providing appropriate medical nutrition therapy for this population.
An application for this year is coming soon (for Dietitian Nutritionist Program students).
Guaranteed Specialty Rotation (students do not need to apply):
Medical Nutrition Therapy (maximum of 25 students)
This Specialty Rotation will provide extended experiential practice in high-risk populations in the area of clinical dietetics. It provides the students with the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge of the nutrition care process and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to the practice of dietetics in the acute care setting. This involves planned learning experiences with a variety of patients at various stages of the health/illness continuum. Students will have the opportunity to observe and then model the functions of a clinical dietitian. Through the combination of planned learning activities and professional interaction, the students will demonstrate increasing levels of proficiency in providing comprehensive nutritional care to high-risk patients within defined areas of practice depending on student specialty interest and preceptor availability. At the conclusion of this rotation, students may acquire expanded practice in the application of nutrition-focused physical examination skills, counseling, nutrition support or specialized MNT dependent on the specialty interest area.
Letters of Recommendation
If you were asked to write a letter of recommendation, please fill out a form (which will be released soon).