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Southwestern Dietetic Internship (SWDI)

Southwest Dietetic (SWDI)
 

Program Description  |  SWDI Handbook  |  Interns  |  Mission  |  Calendar  |  Graduation  |  Cost  |  Application  | FAQ  |  Deadlines |  Accreditation

Program Description

The Southwestern Dietetic Internship (SWDI) is an accredited dietetic internship offered by the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC) in Phoenix, Arizona and the Pinon Health Center (PHC) in Pinon, Arizona. The PIMC and PHC are Indian Health Service (IHS) healthcare facilities. The IHS is an agency of the federal government under the Department of Health and Human Services. The IHS provides health care for American Indian and Alaska Native people. The mission of the IHS is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) to the highest level. This internship has an emphasis in AIAN nutrition.

The SWDI is designed to produce competent, well-rounded dietetics professionals prepared to work in AIAN communities. Interns will have the unique opportunity to learn about and gain hands on experience in both rural and urban Native American communities. The SWDI is full-time program with a minimum of 40 hours per week for a total of 32 weeks. The SWDI participates in the Spring Computer Match and selects 2 interns per year and begins annually in August.

Upon successful completion of the SWDI, the intern will be awarded a Dietetic Internship Verification Statement and will be eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Passing the Registration Examination is the final requirement to becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD).

In accordance with laws regarding Indian Preference, preference is given to applicants who are members of a federally recognized tribe. Applicants who wish to be given Indian preference must submit BIA Form 4432.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (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 Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov . . 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 Southwestern Dietetic Internship program at the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service are eligible to apply to take 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 Click Here Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov .

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN Click Here Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov .

 

SWDI Handbook

The internship handbook provides detailed information on the internship, preparing to be a SWDI intern, what to expect in the SWDI and how to successfully pass the SWDI.

Intern Handbook [PDF 349 KB]

 

Intern Learning Experiences

Interns

Interns begin their supervised practice experience at PIMC. The PIMC is Joint Commission accredited and provides comprehensive health care services for AIANs. The PIMC Dietitians provide nutrition care to hospitalized and ambulatory care patients, manage hospital food services, and provide community nutrition services by traveling to tribal communities located in the Phoenix area.

Interns will work in the acute care setting and participate in nutrition intervention for hospitalized patients with complex conditions. Interns will function as members of interdisciplinary teams i.e. nutrition support, wound care, and diabetes education. Outside the hospital, interns will travel to field clinics and participate in tribal nutrition programs located in the Phoenix Area. Aside from direct patient and community practice, interns will learn about managing a hospital food service operation.

Interns will continue their experience in Pinon, Arizona. Pinon is located on the Navajo Reservation in the scenic "Four Corners" region of the Southwestern United States. The Navajo Reservation is the country's largest Indian Reservation. Interns will participate in the development of community health promotion and disease prevention programs. Interns are not expected to pay for housing cost during this rotation. Government housing will be secured and provided for interns.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Students must complete the following steps to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:

  1. Complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and obtain a DPD Verification Statement from the program. Students who have not yet graduated may obtain an Intent to Complete DPD Statement when applying for an internship, but must provide a final DPD Verification Statement prior to beginning the internship. A DPD grants at least a bachelor's degree (some grant a master's degree) and is ACEND-accredited for only the required dietetics coursework. A list of accredited programs is available on the ACEND website.
  2. Complete an accredited dietetic internship program and obtain a Dietetic Internship Verification Statement. After you complete DPD requirements you will then need to apply for and be accepted into an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) to complete the supervised practice experience requirement. You must successfully complete an accredited DI and obtain a Verification Statement from the internship director in order to be eligible to take the Registration Examination. Successfully completing the SWDI qualifies the intern to be eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians as required by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  3. Pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (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 Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov . . 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 Southwestern Dietetic Internship program at the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service are eligible to apply to take 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 Click Here Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov .

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN Click Here Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov .

 

Mission, Goals and Expected Outcomes

Mission

The mission of the Southwestern Dietetic Internship is to prepare entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to provide culturally appropriate, comprehensive nutrition services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It is consistent with the mission of the Indian Health Service, which is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Goals

  1. To prepare graduates to be competent entry-level RDNs.
  2. Program graduates will improve access to nutrition care provided to AIAN communities by qualified dietetics professionals.
  3. To increase diversity in the dietetics profession by increasing the numbers of AIAN dietetics professionals.

Objectives

  • At least 80 percent of program interns complete program requirements within 15 months (150% of the program length).
  • 80 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.
  • 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%.
  • 90 percent of employers will evaluate graduates’ entry-level skills as meeting overall competency requirements.
  • Of graduates who seek employment, 70 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • At least 30% of employed graduates will be employed in programs serving AI/AN people.
  • At least 30% of graduates will be registered with a federally-recognized tribes.
  • Each year the mean program score on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists will meet or exceed the national mean score.

The SWDI program outcomes data are available upon request.

 

Program Calendar

Rotation Location Week(s)
SWDI Orientation PIMC 1
Clinical Nutrition PIMC 14
Urban Community Nutrition PIMC, Phoenix Area Tribal Communities 3
Rural Community Nutrition PHC, Pinon, AZ 3
Food Service PIMC 3
Management PIMC 3
Enrichment PIMC 2

2021-2022 SWDI Calendar is available here. [PDF 108 KB]

 

Graduation and Program Requirements

In order to complete the SWDI program, interns must have received the following:

  • Passing grades (at least a 3 or above on all curricula and “meets expectations” or above on all professional attributes) for all rotations
  • All curricula completed and signed by preceptors
  • Passing grades on all projects
  • All work must be completed and competencies met within 150% of the 1280-hour schedule for completion (i.e., 2400 hours)

If an intern does not successfully pass a rotation, the rotation may be repeated one time only. If the intern fails to successfully complete a rotation after the second attempt, the intern will be dismissed from the program. Please see internship handbook for How to Successfully Complete the SWDI.

Upon successful completion of all requirements, including evaluations, interns will receive a Dietetic Internship Verification Statement of completion indicating their eligibility to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

 

Cost to Intern

There are no tuition or application fees for the SWDI.

Costs to the intern may include:
  • Relocation to Phoenix, Arizona (if required).
  • Personal Vehicle and Travel Expenses: Travel from PIMC to Pinon Health Center. The distance is about 275 miles and requires 5 hours of travel time (one-way). One trip from Phoenix to Pinon and one trip from Pinon back to Phoenix is required. Additional trips on the weekends will obviously increase travel costs. Note: During the internship, the intern will be permitted to ride in a government vehicle on official duty, but will not be permitted to operate the vehicle. Passengers in government vehicles are covered by the federal government in the event of an incident. Interns traveling in their personal vehicles will assume all safety and liability responsibilities.
  • Housing in the Phoenix area: please check the many online resources for housing in the Phoenix area. Average monthly rent for apartments in Phoenix is $900-$1100.
  • Books and other reference materials not available on-site.
  • Medical exams and immunizations prior to arrival and health care services during the internship.
  • AND Student Membership is required (~$64 per year).
  • Liability Insurance is a requirement and cost ~$24 per year for Student Members of the AND.

Please note: Financial aid is not available for the SWDI interns.

 

Application and Admission Requirements

The following are required and/or must be received to be considered for the SWDI:

All documents must be uploaded to DICAS by the deadline corresponding with the Spring Computer Match.

 

Deadlines

Application with DICAS

The SWDI uses the on-line Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS). The on-line application must be completed for our program by 11:59PM Central Time on the deadline date. Please refer to the DICAS website for applicable dates and fees. Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be sent to DICAS. When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference.

Contact information for DICAS

Computer Matching

Applicants to the SWDI must participate in computer matching. See D & D Digital website for computer match information and deadlines.

Contact information for D&D Digital

 

Accreditation Status

The SWDI is currently accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Email: ACEND@eatright.org
Phone: 800-877-1600, ext. 5400
Mail: 120 South Riverside Plaza
Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Website: Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov 

SWDI Contact Information

CAPT Rob Collison, MS, RD, CSG, CDE
Director, Southwestern Dietetic Internship
Phoenix Indian Medical Center
4212 N. 16th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Phone: 602-263-1200 ext. 1057
Email: robert.collison@ihs.gov

 

FAQs

  • No. All graduates of DPD programs are encouraged to apply. The program does grant preference to qualified applicants that are members of federally-recognized tribes. In the event that there are no qualified Native American applicants, the selections will be made from the pool of qualified applicants that apply.
  • Yes, the applicants selected must have the following:
    • BLS/CPR certification. If the applicant does not have this, it will be scheduled during the first rotation.
    • Background check. This will be completed in Phoenix and Pinon. The following documents are required as proof of identification: (a) Passport or (b) Driver's license PLUS Social Security card OR birth certificate.

    The SWDI Handbook details additional requirements that must be submitted.

  • You are responsible for your own housing while in Phoenix. During the Pinon rotation, government housing arrangements will be made for you by the Site Coordinators. Family, friends and pets may not occupy government housing.
  • No, you are responsible for your own transportation, including auto insurance and a current driver’s license.
  • No, but our program provides information to interns on available jobs in the Indian Health Service and on the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics listserve.