Welcome to Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program
Since its inception in 1989, Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship Program has provided training in the areas of clinical nutrition, foodservice management, sales & marketing, research and public health/community nutrition. The 45-week internship experience provides a unique and broad spectrum of opportunities to fulfill the core competencies for dietetic interns, as established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Our program has a declared emphasis in Clinical Nutrition, and we are proud to offer challenging training in the areas of ICU, nutrition support, pediatrics, intestinal rehabilitation and transplant, and nutrition-focused physical assessment. Recognizing that individuals have different interests and priorities; our program is structured to allow interns several choices for specialty experiences.
Introductory rotations allow interns to develop their skills and achieve comfort in practice at a large hospital facility. As the interns’ skills and knowledge increase, there is a simultaneous growth in their level of responsibility, autonomy and complexity of experiences.
The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship is a proud affiliate of Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Nutrition. Interns who are matched to the Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship will now have the option to complete a Master’s in Nutrition through Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). This program is 30 credit hours and typically takes 16 months to complete. Classes most often start in August in conjunction with the start of the internship. All interns (degree and non-degree) will finish their supervised practice experience in July and will be eligible to sit for the National Examination for Registered Dietitians. Master’s students will continue their schooling through December.
- Find more information on the Master’s in Nutrition program (Click on “Curriculum” under the CDI Program sidebar to learn more about courses offered)
Our program is also affiliated with Rosalind Franklin University (Chicago, IL). Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Interns have the option of pursuing a graduate degree in the following disciplines: Clinical Nutrition, Nutrition Education and Healthcare Administration. All coursework is completed online.
About the Dietetic Internship
Mission & Goals
The mission of the Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship is to create entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists who will become future leaders in the nutrition profession. Critical thinking, collaboration and decision-making are skills that the interns will practice and refine throughout the program. The intention of our program is to foster cutting-edge, advanced practice dietitians who envision providing nutrition therapy in innovative ways. Our program’s mission is a reflection of the Center for Human Nutrition’s mission – to provide the highest quality nutrition care through leadership in clinical practice, education and research. Both mission statements are connected to the greater Cleveland Clinic mission – to provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve. As leaders in the dietetics’ profession, our graduates will meet the needs of their clients and provide superior care, applying advanced clinical skills and research-based practice.
Over the years, our program has continued to grow. More than 150 internship graduates have gone on to pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians. Each member of the last 18 classes who chose to take the exam has passed. The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship has a 91% first-time pass rate and a 99% one-year pass rate. On average, internship graduates find employment within three months of completing the program, with some transitioning directly into advanced clinical and/or leadership opportunities. Program outcomes related to our goals listed below are available upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dietetic Internship Program Goals and Objectives
- Facilitate interns’ transition from academic programs through successful completion of the internship to attaining entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist credentialed status, employed in the dietetics field.
- Foster interns’ professional growth and provide opportunities to acquire and demonstrate skills to become future leaders of the dietetics profession.
- 90% of dietetic interns will complete the program within a 16-month time frame.
- 90% of program graduates will 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%.
- Of program graduates who seek employment, 90% are employed in dietetics or a related field within 12 months of graduation.
- 100% of graduates’ employers report that knowledge level and skill competency is satisfactory or better overall for entry-level dietetics-related work.
- 100% of graduates self-report overall scores of at least satisfactory regarding internship preparedness in dietetic-related professional skills and competencies.
- 90% of graduates report leadership responsibilities in professional areas within five years of graduation.
Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship is fully accredited through 2025 by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Recognition by USDE affirms that ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition/dietetics education programs.
ACEND may be contacted at:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312.899.0040, ext 5400
- Application Fee – $50, nonrefundable
- Tuition – $10,000 nonrefundable - paid in four installments
- Academy Student Membership – $58
- Cleveland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership – $15
- Health Insurance – Variable; REQUIRED; responsible for own arrangements
- Liability Insurance – REQUIRED; ~$35-$55 for student coverage.
- Parking – Currently free for interns
- Identification Badge – Currently free for interns
- Housing – Variable; responsible for own arrangements. Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $650-900/month. Utilities can cost about $75 – search for apartments where heat and other utilities are included in rent.
- No meals are currently provided.
- Equipment- recommended Littmann Lightweight Stethoscope- ~$55.
- Transportation - A vehicle is REQUIRED due to varied schedules and travel to affiliations. Cleveland does have a public transportation system, but this will not be helpful for all sites.
- Travel Expenses – Interns will be responsible for travel and living expenses for elective rotations (if sites outside of Cleveland are selected).
- Mantaux IPPD tuberculin test – REQUIRED prior to start. Responsible for own arrangements.
*All fees and expenses are subject to change
As an intern at Cleveland Clinic, you are not considered a student and therefore are not eligible for federal loans, grants, etc. If you are not enrolled in academic coursework, payments on student loans may be deferred while you are in the internship. In the past, students have been awarded scholarships through The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Foundation.
Financial aid for the Master’s in Nutrition program is available through Case Western Reserve University. For more information please contact their Office of Financial Aid.
The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship Program does not participate in Title IV Federal Financial Aid.
- Upon admission to the program, background checks are automatically completed through the Center for Health Sciences Education at no cost to the intern.
- All interns are required to complete several modules of online training, completed prior to the start of the internship program.
- As an intern, you will be required to drive to affiliated sites during certain weeks of the program. A valid driver's license is necessary.
- As an intern, you may be required to lift boxes or pans weighing up to 30 lbs. during your foodservice management rotation.
- Without appropriate time management, the dietetic internship may be stressful, as there are many deadlines in a fast-paced work environment. You will be required to work on projects and assignments within your rotations, but will not always have time during the day, spending many evenings and weekends on readings and tasks. Student enrolled in the CWRU graduate program will have time off for class, but will need to be prepared for rotations when they are not in classes.
- As an intern, you will be expected to learn from, interact with, and counsel a diverse population.
- Our facility is a non-smoking environment.
- As a full-time intern, you will be expected to work at Cleveland Clinic a minimum of forty hours each week, in addition to completing assignments and attending some evening meetings. Your schedule will mimic that of the preceptor you are working with, and will vary every few weeks, from rotation to rotation, and may include some weekends.
Once accepted into the program, all learning experiences specified in the program curriculum must be completed at a level of sufficient competency. Interns will receive frequent evaluations and feedback from supervising faculty and the Program Manager. Interns who fulfill all program requirements will receive a certificate of completion and will be eligible to take the National Examination for Registered Dietitians. Graduating interns must also:
- Complete all required rotations, experiences and assignments to meet graduation criteria.
- Fully prepare for and satisfactorily complete each rotation.
- Attend all classes, held approximately once a month.
- Work as a team on group projects and presentations.
- Complete multiple clinical case study presentations.
- Present on research project completed to Center for Human Nutrition staff.
- Attend internal and external (local) meetings or events as specified by the Program Manager.
|Interns are introduced to Cleveland Clinic and the Center for Human Nutrition, including the various teams: inpatient nutrition therapy, outpatient nutrition therapy, nutrition support, pediatrics and food service management. Training classes include a review of enteral nutrition, nutrition calculations, communication and listening skills, utilizing the Nutrition Care Process, and how to navigate the electronic medical record. Policies, procedures and expectations are also discussed.||2 weeks|
|Interns gain comfort and familiarity with navigating the hospital, interviewing patients, providing diet education and charting in the electronic medical record.||1 week|
|Clinical Nutrition is the basis for this internship, and interns are required to master skills related to Medical Nutrition Therapy among various patient populations.
|Interns have a two-week elective rotation. They can request to visit a Cleveland Clinic specialty area, such as the Center for Functional Medicine; Wellness & Preventive Medicine; Neonatal Intensive Care; or Endocrinology. They can also work with a dietitian specialist outside of the Cleveland Clinic and may choose to pursue an opportunity in another city or state.||2 weeks|
|Interns are able to return to one of their favorite experiences from the clinical core rotations and will be responsible for seeing 100% of their preceptor’s assigned patients, functioning independently in the RD role.||2 weeks|
|Interns work with a clinical nutrition manager for one week to develop a greater understanding of management styles, employee performance evaluation and coaching and leadership initiatives to encourage better patient care and employee satisfaction.||1 week|
Fall and Spring (1 week each, split)
|Interns are matched with a dietitian who is actively working on a research project. Because projects may be at different phases of the process, interns will have various responsibilities to their research team, including but not limited to: IRB completion and submission, assisting with data collection and entry, reviewing current research literature, and working with the team to develop a manuscript or abstract for professional submission.||2 weeks|
|Hospital Foodservice||6 weeks|
|Patient and Retail Foodservice Management
Fall or Spring
|Interns will work on either Main Campus or at a Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital to learn about the patient and retail foodservice structure; bedside menu entry; supplement distribution; cafeteria and commercial foodservice; menu development; safety and regulation of foodservice areas; supervision and training of patient foodservice employees; and selection of products to best meet patient needs. A foodservice manager will work with the intern to provide directed training toward good management practices in the supervision, training and coaching of foodservice employees and preparing to address issues related to customer and patient satisfaction.||6 weeks|
|*Community/Public Health Nutrition||2 weeks|
|Interns will work with the Program Manager to select a community/public health site. This rotation is tailored to the intern’s interest, but should focus on nutrition practice among specialized populations in a not-for-profit environment. In the past five years, interns have utilized various sites in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, but also in New York, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Chicago and Columbus. Some of the agencies who have hosted Clinic interns include: Food Pantries, Cooperative Extension Services, Women Infants and Children’s Programs, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, school nutrition and the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.||2 weeks|
|*Sales and Marketing in Nutrition||2 weeks|
|Interns will work with the Program Manager to select a sales and marketing site. This rotation is tailored to the intern’s interest, but should focus on dietitians working in business, private practice, industry or any other for-profit environment. In the past five years, interns have utilized various sites in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, but also in Columbus, OH, Battle Creek, MI, Dallas, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA, and Orlando, FL. Many dietitian entrepreneurs have hosted Clinic interns, including Kristin Kirkpatrick, Brigid Titgemeier, Sharon Palmer, Tara Collingwood, and Alicia Galvin Smith. Some of the industries and businesses include: Covidien; Nestle Frozen Foods; Abbott Nutrition, Giant Eagle, and the Dr. Oz Show.||2 weeks|
*Additional classes and site visits will supplement interns’ learning in the areas of public health/community nutrition and sales and marketing.
As a full-time intern you will be expected to work at least 40 hours per week, typically 8+ hours each day, in addition to completing some assignments, required readings and attending early morning or evening meetings/conferences. Some of our staff has elected to work four-day work weeks. This schedule requires rotations that may be scheduled at least ten hours a day (four days a week). Also, with notice, you may be required to participate in rotations that are scheduled on weekends.
Being a Cleveland Clinic dietetic intern requires great responsibility, organization and management of time. Because of these reasons, and that it can be difficult to predict your schedule (and your schedule changes often), it may be difficult to hold an outside job during the program. Working is permitted as long as it does not hinder your performance in the dietetic internship program.
Time Away from the Program
Interns will be scheduled off on most weekends and on the following Cleveland Clinic-designated holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Interns are also off Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week and receive two weeks off around the December holidays. There is also a flexible week-long spring break, dates chosen by the intern, sometime between April and June.
Each intern has four personal days to use as needed. Any time off beyond these four days must be made up.
Interns do not receive additional time off for vacation or personal holidays.
To be considered for acceptance into Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program, candidates must:
- Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US accredited university or college.
- Complete all required course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Present a Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent prior to admission into the internship.
To be considered, the minimum overall grade point average must be at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
The policy of Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship is to provide equal opportunity to all applicants for admission into the program. Decisions concerning selection are all made upon the basis of the best qualified candidate without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, age, nationality, ethnicity, ancestry, disability, military status, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other factor or characteristic protected by law.
Selection of interns will be based upon the following criteria:
- Knowledge: Overall and professional coursework; GPA’s (overall, science, DPD course-specific); college achievement scholarships, awards and honors.
- Work Experience: Paid or voluntary work experience. Nutrition-relevant opportunities and those of high quality and/or with responsibility are recognized.
- Leadership and Self-Motivation: Positions of leadership in extracurricular activities or work experiences; ability to set goals, take initiative, make decisions, use good judgment, and work independently. Previous and future goals are realistic and clearly identified.
- Management of Multiple Responsibilities: Coursework taken per semester/quarter in conjunction with work experience or family responsibilities; involvement with extracurricular activities; organizational skills, dependability, adaptability, and ability to handle stress.
- Communication Skills: Letter of application; experience communicating with groups and individuals; empathy; self-confidence; interview (if selected).
International students wishing to apply must follow procedures set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for international students. Please refer to the ACEND website, and their "International Fact Sheet" for additional information.
Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship Program participates in the on-line Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services process, DICAS. Check out the DICAS site for details including important dates, fees and Q & A.
Candidates must complete all application materials in the DICAS platform, register with D&D Digital for computer matching and program selection, and submit to Cleveland Clinic a separate application fee. All materials are due by the February deadline. The code for Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program is 395.
In addition to the standard application, starting in 2019, we will also require a video clip submission; 1-2 minutes long, where applicants have the opportunity to introduce themselves and share why they are interested in being a Cleveland Clinic dietetic intern. This clip needs to be web-based and can be posted on YouTube or Vimeo. Please provide the video link and password, if necessary, at the top of the DICAS resume, in the personal contact info section.
The Cleveland Clinic application fee of $50.00 is paid online:
Interning at Cleveland Clinic
Intern Office Space
Dietetic interns at Cleveland Clinic have their own office space to work independently, complete projects, hold meetings, and access electronic medical records. The office space contains 9 desks with overhead storage shelves, 6 computers, and a mini refrigerator. The classroom is across the hall from the intern office, making it easy to work and learn as a group. In addition to their office, interns have their own login for all user systems, Clinic Outlook email, and Epic (Electronic Medical Record) that can be accessed from all computers on Main Campus.
Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) Training to Assess and Diagnose Malnutrition
All dietetic interns participate in a two-part didactic and hands-on training that teaches them to assess and diagnose patients for malnutrition using the Nutrition- Focused Physical Exam (NFPE). This training is completed at the Cleveland Clinic Simulation Center and utilizes the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) format. Traditionally used in educating medical students, the OSCE method allows students to perform the NFPE and identify malnutrition in a simulated environment and receive immediate feedback from a trained observer. Interns are introduced to a patient case and will then interview and perform the NFPE with a standardized patient. The observer gives the intern feedback on both their examination technique and their ability to arrive at the correct malnutrition diagnosis.
Dietetic interns participate in several activities each year to benefit the greater Cleveland community, including:
- Developing and facilitating cooking demonstrations for low-income audiences at the Clinic's Langston Hughes Community Outreach Center.
- Working with local public and parochial elementary schools to implement interactive nutrition education.
- Volunteering at the Cleveland Food Bank with packing food boxes for local pantries and preparing hot meals in the kitchen.
Interns also gain exposure to public health/community nutrition initiatives taking place in Northeast Ohio by:
- Touring urban farms and community gardens that are part of Cleveland's thriving local foods scene.
- Meeting with Cleveland City Councilmen to discuss issues related to health and nutrition.
- Visiting local agencies that work with public audiences to provide nutrition education, including The Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County.
Please join us for Dietetic Internship Open House on Saturday, December 15th, 12p-2p. The Open House will include an info session, tour and Q & A.
More details, including virtual participation options, will be available on our Instagram page closer to the event date.
For any additional information or questions about the Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship, please contact:
Naomi Barbor, MS, RD, LD
Program Director: Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship Program
Center for Human Nutrition—Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute
9500 Euclid Avenue/M17
Cleveland, OH 44195