MPH/RD Supervised Practice Experience
Field experiences are comprised of 1000 hours over course curriculum activities and three primary field experiences: the Public Health Nutrition Management Experience, Clinical Nutrition Experience, and Advanced Nutrition Experiences. These experiences provide students an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through their coursework and further develop and demonstrate attainment of program learning outcomes. Field experiences prepare students for careers in clinical nutrition or public health and community leadership. Placements are decided based on input from both student and faculty. Detailed information about each of these experiences can be found in the UNC Nutrition Experience Handbooks.
Students assume full responsibility for their own safety in the course of travel to and from field sites, as well as for the cost of this travel. Students are also responsible for any injury that occurs during field placements. Students must complete onboarding documentation required by their site, including drug testing and criminal background checks. Students doing supervised field practice must not be used to replace employees. Any student being paid compensation as part of the program must adhere to policies set forth by the program.
Public Health Nutrition Experience
The Public Health Nutrition Experience (240 hours), completed during the second summer of enrollment, provides students with an understanding of how a public health department or organization supports its community. Students are assigned to a state or local health agency for their community field experience under the direction of a public health nutritionist/dietitian preceptor.
Clinical Nutrition Experience
The Clinical Nutrition Experience (400 hours), completed during the first summer of enrollment, offers learning experiences to provide basic competencies in clinical nutrition and dietetics practice. The student develops an understanding of the role of the clinical dietitian, the opportunities and constraints of the healthcare setting in providing nutritional care to patients, and awareness of the need for continuity of patient care between the healthcare facility and the public health agency.
Food Service/Systems Management Experience and Online Module
The Food Service Management Experience (110 hours) occurs at a local food service facility (university,hospital, etc.) or food service facility affiliated with the student’s clinical nutrition site during the first summer of enrollment. Students will complete online food service management modules (20 hours) and take a ServSafe Manager’s Training course and certification exam (10 hours) to prepare for their food service rotations (80 hours).
Advanced Nutrition Experience
The Advanced Nutrition Experience (240 hours), completed during the second summer of enrollment, is the final field experience for MPH/RD students. Students are placed in domestic and international organizations (governmental, non-profit, and private sector) that have a role in supporting nutritional health and well-being. This experience provides students with the opportunity to integrate theory with practice, facilitate the transition from student to professional status, and clarify short-term career objectives in a supportive and nurturing environment. The Advanced Nutrition Experience is tailored to the interests and professional goals of the individual student.