Skip to main content

Military Health System

Dietetic interns train to better MHS beneficiaries nutrition, health

Image of Military health personnel wearing face mask while discussing food options . Army 1st Lt. Caitlyn Shaver and Army 1st Lt. Brittany Powers, dietetic interns at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, role play a nutrition consultation as part of their training in Phase 2 of the U.S. Military-Baylor Graduate Program in Nutrition at WRNMMC (Photo by: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness

Registered dietitians, exercise therapists and other team members in the Nutrition Services Department (NSD) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, assist patients and staff in making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Dietetic interns at WRNMMC also help Military Health System beneficiaries develop healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

The interns come to WRNMMC as part of the two-phase U.S. Military-Baylor Graduate Program in Nutrition (GPN). WRNMMC is one of the host sites for Phase 2 of the program, when interns continue their education and training with a goal of earning a master's degree in nutrition from Baylor University, as well as a Dietetic Internship Verification Statement, making them eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination for Dietitians.

Before entering the nutrition internship program, candidates must have completed a bachelor's degree in nutrition and/or dietetics and have a verification statement from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), which accredits the internship.

"WRNMMC is one of four hospital-based Phase 2 sites," stated Shawntel Green, a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist who serves as site coordinator for the U.S. Military Dietetic Internship Program at Walter Reed Bethesda. She explained the first phase of the program, the didactic portion, lasts approximately nine months at the Graduate School on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Phase 2, the internship and research portion, lasts a year.

In addition to WRNMMC, other locations for Phase 2 of the program are Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas; Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington; and Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"Currently, there are about 15 interns per class, however, with our increased mission of H2F [Holistic Health and Fitness], the goal will be to grow to approximately 30 interns," Green explained. "Typically, this equates to around five [to seven] interns per site," she added.

Military health personnel wearing face masks receiving instructions
Shawntel Green (right), a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist who serves as site coordinator for the U.S. Military Dietetic Internship Program at Walter Reed Bethesda, provides instruction to dietetic interns Army 1st Lt. Caitlyn Shaver and Army 1st Lt. Brittany Powers (Photo by: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

Holistic Health and Fitness, or H2F, published into Army Field Manual 7-22 Oct. 1, 2020, covers the force's doctrine on physical readiness training. "[H2F] is the framework to encompass all aspects of human performance to include physical, sleep, nutritional, spiritual, and mental fitness," explained Army Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training. This "optimizes Soldier's readiness, reduces injury rates, improves rehabilitation after injury, and increases the overall effectiveness of the total Army," he added.

"While at WRNMMC for the GPN, the interns complete research and supervised practice in accordance with ACEND requirements. Our interns are required to meet more than 1,300 hours in research, performance nutrition, community nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service," Green explained.

"Upon graduation, they sit for the registered dietitian exam. Once they pass, they are registered dietitians. Typically, they would then go to one of our medical centers or community hospitals. However, they can also be assigned to brigades now as H2F dietitians," Green furthered.

According to Baylor University officials, the first-time pass rate for interns who complete the GPN and take the National Registration Examination for Dietitians, exceeds the national average.

Proper nourishment key in sustaining the optimal physical, mental, and emotional stamina needed to carry out demanding military roles, as well as for patients recovering from injury and illness, according Army Maj. Joetta Khan, chief of education and research GPN at WRNMMC. Dietetic interns at WRNMMC contribute to these efforts by assisting in the planning meals, menus and diets for staff and patients at the medical center. In addition, the interns also research and write papers regarding nutrition during their internships at WRNMMC.

Military personnel wearing a face mask giving a presentation on food options
Army 1st Lt. Tanner James, a dietetic intern at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, discusses potential dishes that may be available in the dining facility at WRNMMC (Photo by: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

"This program has a heavy emphasis on research and leadership rotations along with clinical," stated Army 1st Lt. Brittany Powers, an intern in the GPN program at WRNMMC. "This is different from other internships and graduate programs, which have heavy emphasis on either clinical or food service only."

Army 1st Lt. Tanner James, also a dietetic intern in the GPN at WRNMMC, agreed. "I wanted to be part of this program because I knew it would challenge me more than a traditional internship. Here, I am challenged mentally, physically, and as an Army officer. Also, I have always felt a duty to serve and be a part of something bigger than myself, so this program was an avenue to serve in the Army and further my education," he said.

The diverse opportunities and challenges available to the interns through the GPN's clinical and food service components, is what also attracted dietetic intern Army 1st Lt Caitlyn Shaver to the program. "[It] has a vigorous pace with high academic standards. It requires long hours and forces students to practice not just their academic skills, but their leadership, military and interpersonal skills as well."

"I like working with the veteran population, and I've met people from all walks of life and got to interact with people from different medical disciplines," stated Army 1st Lt. Emily Lauer, another dietetic intern at WRNMMC.

"We are held to a high standard in this program and have a lot to learn, so we quickly learn time management and put in long days to meet the requirements," James added.

"Each week you have to actively work on leadership projects, research manuscripts, outside rotation projects, rotation assignments and projects, journals and logs for the research and the current rotation, as well as research diseases and conditions you encounter during your rotation, and anything involved with preparing for a patient and writing patient notes," Powers explained about the program. She added the interns also have to meet their military fitness requirements of running and strength training at least five or six days each week.

"I wanted to continue to grow as a professional, and this program has allowed me to get a master's degree and develop as a leader," Shaver concluded.

"Throughout history, people have bartered, decided the fates of nations, and built friendships all over meals," Khan explained. "The sharing of meals has been shown to improve feelings of closeness, increase satisfaction with life, enhance team performance, and influence food choices," she added.

If you need help with your diet and/or exercise program, contact you registered dietitian or exercise therapist at your local military medical treatment facility.

You also may be interested in...

Enjoy Your Super Bowl Snacks with a Side of Food Safety

Article
2/11/2022
Military personnel grilling food

While millions watch NFL players battle it out in the Super Bowl, the real MVPs on Sunday will be chicken wings—more than 1 billion will be consumed before, during and after the game! Whether you bake, roast, fry or order in your chicken wings, don’t forget the four food safety steps that night.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Don't Fumble Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday

Article
2/10/2022
Marine with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit participate in a football tournament in Spain.

Here are some USDA food safety tips to enjoy a safe Super Bowl Sunday.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Article
2/8/2022
Military personnel during boot camp

Today’s military recruits are more likely than ever to sustain a serious injury at their initial military training. Here’re some tips for how to prepare before shipping out.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

How a Dietitian Can Help You Lose Weight and Maintain Readiness

Article
1/31/2022
Military personnel posing for a picture with a banana

Working with a professional dietitian or nutritionist can help people reach and maintain their weight management goals safely and with positive, long-term results.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

The 'BodPod' Measures Body Fat and Fat-Free Mass

Article
1/27/2022
Meagan Loughanne, a health educator at Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Wellness Center, Maryland, conducts a BodPod assessment on Sgt. Abdel P. Moluh. This simple and effective assessment provides clients with an accurate measurement of their body fat percentage, fat-free mass and fat mass in pounds. Based on the client’s goals, the health educator will provide tailored education and coaching.

The BodPod is an egg-shaped machine that will give a detailed analysis of your body composition in five minutes, including measuring your fat mass, your fat-free mass, including blood, organs, and muscle.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Mobile Apps

A Healthy Mind and Body: The Psychological Aspects Weight Loss

Article
1/27/2022
Marines with 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, participate in a regimental run to celebrate St. Barbara’s Day at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 13.

It’s essential to dispel the belief that weight loss is a reflection of willpower or discipline – basically, that you can’t lose weight because you don’t want to or you’re not trying hard enough.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Weight Management for Lasting Health

Ask the Doc: The Dangers of Yo-Yo Diets and How to Avoid Them

Article
1/26/2022
Senior Airman Thomas McMurray with the 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron Force Protection prepares for a bench press at Al Mubarak Air Base, Kuwait, May 13, 2021

Find out what you can do to avoid "yo-yo dieting" or "fad diets" such as Keto, intermittent fasting, Paleo? And what are the dangers of these types of diets?

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Ask The Doc

You’d Be Surprised How Eating Habits Affect You, and Your Readiness

Article
1/20/2022
Military personnel picking out broccoli

From Overweight to Fit: Experts Advice

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Make Healthy Choices Even When You Are Dining with Others

Article
1/19/2022
A soldier is eating healthy foods.

It can be tough enough to fight your own cravings and busy schedule, but it can be even harder when you throw family, friends, and social outings into the mix. So how can you stick to your meal plan, even when you’re not dining alone? The key is planning ahead, asking for support, and taking it one step at a time.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness

Six Immediate Health Benefits You Will See If You Lose a Little Weight

Article
1/14/2022
A soldier assigned to the 256th Combat Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio, drinks water from a gallon-sized jug during Combat Support Training Exercise 18-03 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, March 26, 2018. The 256th CSH implemented a goal setting competition, dubbed Dandy Camp, to teach and encourage soldiers to monitor their total carbohydrate intake during the field exercise. The overall goal of Dandy Camp is to educate soldiers about healthy eating choices and encourage soldiers to set and meet goals for themselves.

Losing even a little weight now can have a major impact on your health and quality of life. This long list of benefits might help motivate you to adjust your habits to achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Women's Health | Heart Health | Nutritional Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Sleep

The British 'Limeys' Were Right: A Short History of Scurvy

Article
1/10/2022
Scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C, sickened sailors who had no access to fresh food supplies, and killed more than 2 million sailors between the 16th and 18th centuries alone.

How citrus fruits quelled the scourge of scurvy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Nutritional Fitness | Our History

Quality of Life

Video
1/5/2022
Quality of Life

Nearly half of people making resolutions for the new year are resolving to lose weight. While there are several long-term benefits to losing weight - avoiding or managing other chronic health conditions among them - losing just a little bit of weight right now can have immediate effects on your quality of life. From less joint pain to more energy to better sleep, you can start seeing and feeling the benefits of healthy weight loss nearly right away. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Safe and Effective Weight Loss

Video
1/5/2022
Safe and Effective Weight Loss

If you're resolving to lose weight in 2022, make sure to do it safely by avoiding crash and yo-yo diets. Talk to your doctor to make a plan for the safest and most effective way for you to manage a healthy weight in 2022. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement for even more tips.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

Dietary Supplements: Educate Yourself First Before Trying Them

Article
12/28/2021
Photo of a dinner plate with food and dietary supplements next to it

Operation Supplement Safety is your one-stop guide to dietary supplement information

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Weight Management for Lasting Health

Fort Knox dietician reveals personal staples for healthy family meals, picky eaters

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Vegetables displayed at a grocery store.

Making sure everyone in the family is eating healthy can sometimes be overwhelming and oftentimes, families aren’t sure where to start.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 5
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 05, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery