Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

METC trains dietician techs to build, support a Medically Ready Force

Image of Military health personnel preparing food trays while wearing a face mask. Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prepares a tray of steaks in the kitchen training laboratory.

Good nutrition is the mainstay of health. It is well known that eating the right foods can oftentimes make a big impact on our physical - and mental - wellbeing.

A healthy diet could help fight off illness and control diseases, improve our mood and mental health, and prevent obesity. In fact, the benefits of healthful eating are so well established that medical practitioners employ nutrition therapy to treat certain diseases and chronic conditions.

National Nutrition Month, observed during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits along with physical activity. Being that health and fitness are synonymous with force readiness, it's no surprise that nutrition plays an important role in the military.

The Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC), located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, trains students to become Army nutrition care specialists or Air Force diet therapy apprentices.

The eight-week long course prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings. Students are taught to perform patient nutrition screenings and assessments, basic medical nutrition therapy, menu and food modification for therapeutic use, how to operate and clean food service equipment, and participate in procurement, storing and administration of dietetic foods and supplies. Students also learn how to prepare an individually-tailored meal based on a nutrition plan designed by a dietician and serve it to a patient.

Military health personnel wearing face mask speaking to each other Army Pvt. Tobin Roche, left, conducts a simulated nutrition screening during a practical exercise in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In this portion of the training Roche is learning to conduct nutritional screenings, assessments, and document finding for a simulated patient.  Maj. Stephanie Gasper, program director, acts as the patient in this scenario. The METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings (Photo By: Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus).

According to Army Maj. Stephanie Gasper, METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program director, the diversity of the career field covers a wide range of areas that promote and maintain nutrition, health, and readiness within the force.

"Military nutrition technicians can work in food service operations and medical field feeding, sports nutrition to optimize performance and support the warfighter, nutrition for general health and wellness or disease prevention, or perform patient care through medical nutrition therapy for diseases or other conditions in both a hospital and inpatient or ambulatory settings," she explained.

"I think there are so many opportunities for soldiers and airmen in the nutrition career field today compared to several years ago, so I'm excited for what lays ahead of them once they leave here. The majority of our students are excited and ready to take what they learn here to improve the health of our force," Gasper added.

Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the program, said that Nutrition and Diet Therapy is his dream career field. "The military allowed me to get this training so that I can make a positive impact to the long-term health of my fellow airmen and soldiers. With a large aging population, the country needs more skilled diet therapists to help our currently serving and retired military customers."

The importance of good nutrition cannot be over emphasized.

"Everyone has to eat, and what we eat and how much we eat can have a real impact on our physical and mental wellbeing," Gasper pointed out.

You also may be interested in...

Report
May 8, 2015

Mustard Disaster at Bari

.PDF | 107.26 KB

Bari lies along the Adriatic Sea at the top of the heel of the boot of Italy (See Figure 1). During World War II, the port of Bari was under the jurisdiction of the British and was the main supply base for General Montgomery’s Eighth Army as well as the headquarters for the American Fifteenth Air Force which was activated in November 1943.

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 11 - November 2015

.PDF | 1.37 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rates of acute respiratory illnesses of infectious and allergic etiologies after permanent changes of duty assignments, active component, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, January 2005–September 2015; ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 10 - October 2015

.PDF | 1.01 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Chikungunya infection in DoD healthcare beneficiaries following the 2013 introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2015; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 12 - December 2015

.PDF | 862.38 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Follow-up analysis of the incidence of acute respiratory infections among enlisted service members during their first year of military service before and after the 2011 resumption of adenovirus vaccination of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 9 - September 2015

.PDF | 2.17 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Assessment of ICD-9-based case definitions for influenza-like illness surveillance; Incidence of syphilis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 January 2010 through 31 August 2015; Brief report: Rate of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 1 - January 2015

.PDF | 985.25 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014; Influenza A(H3N2) outbreak at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, 2014; Incidence of Salmonella infections among service members of the active and reserve components ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 8 - August 2015

.PDF | 542.02 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2010-June 2015; Durations of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 5 - May 2015

.PDF | 481.95 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence of joint replacement among active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004-2014; Case series: Chikungunya and dengue at a forward operating location; Tdap vaccination coverage during ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 6 - June 2015

.PDF | 739.84 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Accidental drownings, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005-2014; Risk of mental health disorders following an initial diagnosis of postpartum depression, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998 ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 2 - February 2015

.PDF | 2.04 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Whither the "signature wounds of the war" after the war: estimates of incidence rates and proportions of TBI and PTSD diagnoses attributable to background risk, enhanced ascertainment, and active war zone ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 7 - July 2015

.PDF | 1.21 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Epidemiology, microbiology, and antibiotic susceptibility patterns of skin and soft tissue infections, Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, Texas, 2012-2014; Post-deployment screening and referral for risky ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 3 - March 2015

.PDF | 2.12 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Characterizing the relationship between tick bites and Lyme disease in active component U.S. Armed Forces in the eastern United States; Incidence and prevalence of diagnoses of eye disorders of refraction and ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery