Working to increase the number of qualified registered dietitians/nutritionists to the region

September 22, 2017

New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Dietetic Internship Program recently received a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s HEAL Initiative to increase the number of qualified registered dietitians/nutritionists in the region.

The overall goal of the grant is to double the number of students accepted and placed in clinical rotation throughout New Mexico. This will allow for qualified registered dieticians to be available for jobs in the region so area residents can benefit from their expertise and help to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and a reduction of sedentary lifestyles.

“To effectively promote good nutrition, the region needs more registered dieticians,” said Michael Kelly, vice president of programs at the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “To help meet this need, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation turned to our trusted partner, NMSU. It is our hope that this grant will support a sustainable increase for enrollment in and graduation from the Dietetic Internship Program at NMSU.”

The program is housed in NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Students in the program collaborate with Cooperative Extension Service professionals in county and state offices to implement nutrition intervention. Students conduct a community needs assessment for every county in New Mexico, and develop community nutrition programs that can be used statewide. Students also complete rotations in multiple settings including schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and lead in-service classes for various institutions throughout the state in partnership with the New Mexico School Association.

“Demand for RDNs will grow faster than the supply as current RDNs retire and more employers realize the benefits of having RDNs on staff,” said Gaby Phillips, Dietetic Internship Program director. “To help fill this demand, NMSU developed a master’s degree with a dietetic internship program to increase the number of graduates who will be hired as registered dietitians or RDNs.”

The Dietetic Internship Program is the only one in the region. The three-year grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation will allow NMSU to admit and train additional future RDNs, many of whom are likely to remain in the region.

For more information on the Dietetic Internship, visit

To learn more about Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s HEAL Initiative, click here.

Source and photo: New Mexico State University

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