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Bahamian achieves historic accomplishment at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

  • Dr. Astrid Inniss.

Published: May 28, 2013

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Bahamian, Dr. Astrid Inniss is leading the efforts in achieving candidacy for accreditation for a Dietetic Internship at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, Texas. Accreditation of the program was granted by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) which is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ accrediting agency for education programs.

The decision was based on a peer review of a self-study report, a site visit report, the program’s response to the report, and recognition of the program’s compliance with the accreditation standards. The accrediting agency prepares students for careers as registered dietitians (RDs) or dietetic technicians, registered (DTR). The Dietetic Internship is part of UTMB’s Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, which was established in September 2011 in the School of Health Professions.

Three major steps must be taken to become an RD – complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equivalent, and coursework through an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD); complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited dietetic internship or an Individual Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) offered through an ACEND accredited program; one must pass the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

The UTMB Dietetic Internship which requires 1,240 hours of supervised practice will offer two options – the combined Master’s Degree with the Dietetic Internship (MS/DI) and the Dietetic Internship (DI) Certificate Program. The MS/DI option offers individuals both an advanced degree along with eligibility to write the CDR Registration Examination for Dietitians to become registered dietitians. The (DI) option is for individuals who already have a post-baccalaureate degree but who seek the clinical training needed to take the exam to become registered dietitians. The supervised practice will provide training in clinical nutrition, food service management, community nutrition and nutrition research.

The program will partner with other institutions in the Houston and Galveston areas including hospital facilities within the Texas Medical Center and with NASA. Additional information for UTMB’s Nutrition and Metabolism Program can be found at http://shp.utmb.edu/nutr/.

Dietitians may acquire additional certifications in specialized areas of practice such as nutrition support, gerontology, pediatric or renal nutrition and diabetes education. In addition, many states have licensure laws for nutrition practitioners. In addition, dietitians may work in numerous settings such as hospitals, clinics and other health-care facilities, food and nutrition-related industries and businesses, sports and corporate wellness programs as well as private practice settings. Dietitians with advanced degrees may work at universities or in research.

Dr. Inniss is the director of the Dietetic Internship. She serves as associate director of nutrition in the Institute for Translational Science; assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Metabolism; assistant professor in Preventive Medicine and Community Health (PMCH)-Human Nutrition Department and adjunct assistant professor in the School of Nursing. She has served as bionutrition manager at the Clinical Research Center (CRC) and NASA Flight Analog Unit for the past eight years and has made significant contributions in nutrition and dietary support to investigators utilizing the CRC. At the ACEND board meeting, Dr. Inniss was one of 30 individuals appointed to serve a three-year term as an ACEND program reviewer. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is a member of the Research, Nutrition in Aging and Integrative and Functional Medicine Dietetic Practice Groups.

Dr. Inniss has served as a dietetic internship preceptor for interns with an interest in research. Since joining UTMB, she has served on various committees including serving as the southern regional representative for the CRC bionutritionists. She is active in the community and has provided nutrition seminars at various health and wellness events throughout Houston and Galveston, Texas. Dr. Inniss is also a consulting member of the Bahamian Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (BAND).

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