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Dietetic Intern Training Opportunities at The Emily Program

The Emily Program offers eating disorder training experiences for dietetic interns currently enrolled in an ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education Nutrition and Dietetics) accredited supervised practice/experience program and affiliated with Accanto Health/The Emily Program. Accredited supervised practice/experience programs include Dietetic Internships (DI), Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP), Graduate Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics (GP), or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP).

Dietetic interns are offered training and supervised practice opportunities in the nutritional care of individuals within the full spectrum of eating disorder diagnoses and the populations served, including children, adolescents, adults, and their communities of support. Rotations are 4 weeks in length.

During the training rotation, interns will be immersed in The Emily Program’s programs providing comprehensive, personalized treatment for eating disorders – specifically, you will work alongside Registered Dietitians as your preceptors to experience observation of and active involvement in RD services including nutrition assessments, individual nutrition sessions, nutrition groups, therapeutic support meals/snacks, and treatment team meetings.  Dietetic interns will also experience working with a multidisciplinary team including therapy, culinary, psychiatry, medical, behavioral health technicians, yoga, and expressive arts staff. 

The training program is offered across all levels of care depending on a specific location’s ability to host a dietetic intern, the level of care offered at the placement location, and the interest areas expressed by the dietetic intern. Level of care options may include Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)/ Intensive Day Program (IDP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Outpatient (OP). Virtual programming experience is also available.

What is expected of our dietetic interns?

All dietetic interns are expected to act in a compassionate and professional manner. This includes dressing comfortably yet professionally, arriving on time, meeting weekly with your preceptor at their clinical treatment center, and completing projects and assignments by the due date. We expect a complete commitment to the internship, our clients, and our personalized treatment approach.

We expect high motivation and a desire to help this population. We expect an ongoing willingness to learn, accept challenges, and grow in skill. We require that dietetic interns uphold the confidentiality of our clients, and abide by The Emily Program’s confidentiality, compliance, and human resource policies and processes.

The Emily Program’s Nutrition Philosophy endorses the inclusiveness of all foods and values the absence of food judgment. We understand the complex role food plays and the diverse eating situations life presents. As such, we aim to provide nutrition and food-related experiences, education, counsel, and skills that enable an individual’s journey to a more mindful, flexible, balanced, autonomous, and sustainable relationship with food. We foster a Can Eat Culture believing that individuals can positively influence their eating disorder behavior by engaging in staff-facilitated therapeutic supported meals and snacks. Ultimately, a Can Eat Culture paradigm supports overall health and well-being, with a sense of freedom and true choice in finding ways to purchase, prepare, and consume food. 

As a dietetic intern, you will support clients during therapeutic meals/snacks (TSMs) and will be expected to promote and model eating in alignment with the Nutrition Philosophy.  

The Emily Program provides gender-affirming, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive treatment. We are committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at The Emily Program and would expect our trainees to embrace these approaches to care.

Given the nature of the work we do in specifically treating eating disorders, applicants currently in treatment for an eating disorder, recently in recovery from an eating disorder, or in long-term recovery from an eating disorder should strongly consider if they can sufficiently separate their own eating disorder struggles from those of our clients in order to effectively intervene with clients, and whether this environment is conducive to their overall wellbeing.  Applicants with these histories are strongly encouraged to consult with loved ones and their healthcare professionals prior to applying.

Qualifications

Our dietetic intern training program will seek candidates who are highly motivated to learn and work with clients with eating disorders and the nutrition interventions offered in various levels of care at The Emily Program.

Placement requires the following prior to starting with The Emily Program:

  • Currently enrolled in an ACEND-accredited supervised practice/experience program which is affiliated with Accanto Health/The Emily Program
  • 4-week minimum rotation 
  • Stated desire to work in the field of eating disorders via 1-page personal statement provided to location RD preceptor
  • Virtual 30-minute interview with location RD preceptor 

How to apply

For those interested in placing a dietetic intern with The Emily Program:

Please contact the Dietetic Internship Director, Kirsten Nielsen, RDN, LD (she/her) at dietetic.training@accanto.com to coordinate rotations for dietetic interns or to inquire about affiliation agreements with The Emily Program. 

Dietetic internship rotations at a The Emily Program treatment center will require:  

  • Signed affiliation agreement between Accanto Health/The Emily Program and the ACEND-accredited supervised practice/experience program
  • Preferred timeline for requests is early in internship’s rotation scheduling to allow for coordination with TEP locations, interview process, and onboarding
  • Coordination with Dietetic Internship Director for preferred location availability 
  • Minimum of 4-week full-time in-person rotation 
  • Intern to provide location RD preceptor with 1-page personal statement followed by a 30-minute virtual interview 

What challenges might come up during this internship rotation?

Food and eating are central to all our lives. Meanwhile, the prevalence—and normalization—of disordered eating behaviors is on the rise in our culture. Given these realities, it’s no surprise that challenges and concerns arise when an intern actively participates in this rotation. Some of those challenges may include:

Discovering personal eating and/or body image issues

If a dietetic intern is struggling with their own food or body image issues, spending time with eating disorder clients can trigger one’s own eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. It is essential that you are aware of and are addressing your own food or body image struggles—and that you have a support plan in place if those problems arise during the rotation.

Unearthing personal preconceptions and bias

Our culture is rife with positive and negative preconceptions, prejudices, and biases based on a person’s size, weight, and appearance. We are all influenced by this cultural environment. To be effective with our population, you will probably need the support of preceptors and colleagues to explore, challenge, and revise some of your existing (if still unconscious) preconceptions and biases.

Discussing uncomfortable topics

Many clients in treatment for an eating disorder have a traumatic personal history or a challenging past that contributes to the eating disorder. You are likely to hear sometimes graphic conversations about domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide attempts, self-induced vomiting, self-harm, extreme exercise abuse, laxative, and drug abuse, and other serious mental health and physical health problems. You are likely to interact with individuals whose appearance has been altered by starvation or self-harm.

Taking it personally

Emotions can run high for a client, especially before, during, and after a meal or snack. For example, a client may be experiencing high levels of anxiety, anger, sadness, fear, frustration, mistrust, and excitement when a meal is presented or eaten.

Sometimes, clients direct these emotions toward the dietitian or intern, blaming them for how they feel. You will need to work with your preceptor and colleagues to learn how to best manage the situation and not take it personally. You will need to develop and use skills like humor and helping a client reframe perspective.

It is important to remember that it is often a good thing when a client is able to express their emotions with a provider. It can be a sign that they trust the treatment team and are willing to allow the team to help express their emotions in a more beneficial way.

Of course, other unforeseen challenges may arise. We encourage interns to discuss any and all challenges with the preceptors.


Thank you for your interest in training with The Emily Program, there are limited training slots for dietetic interns across The Emily Program locations and preference will be provided to programs with existing affiliation agreements with The Emily Program. Please contact dietetic.training@accanto.com to inquire about available spots at your desired location. Dietetic training experiences at our Minnesota locations occur via the University of Minnesota’s Dietetic Internship – Eating Disorder Concentration.

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