In school, we were always taught that the "bread and butter" of RD's is in the clinical setting. Heading up the clinical nutrition department and working one on one with patients and their families. Foodservice was probably the one other place I knew dietitians found careers. When entering this internship, I was intrigued that the focus was on information technology and nutrition informatics. RD's in technology? How'd that work? I wasn't really sure and very eager to get into my "IT" rotations to see RD's in action.
My two information technology rotations were at the International
Food and Information Council (IFIC) and the Center for Nutrition Policy
and Promotion (CNPP) under the USDA. Drastically different, both of
these unique work places featured RD's working with information
technology, nutrition informatics and social media campaigns. It was an
amazing opportunity see this out-of-the-box career path for
dietitians. I think it was a unique opportunity that the UMD internship
was able to provide us.
IFIC was a really fun place to work. We were there for a total of 3
weeks and spent a lot of time learning how the RD's on staff worked
with the food industry to promote sound nutrition knowledge and facts to
the public. They relied heavily on social media and a lot of marketing
and PR techniques to promote the nutrition information. I was able to
help them write blogs, create graphics and research social media
campaigns. The second rotation was (and currently I'm still here) at
CNPP. This rotation is very fun because I get to work at a government
facility and be able to participate with the MyPlate project! It's a
great to really feel like you're working on and adding to projects that
go out nationally to the public. Much of the work done at CNPP is "top
secret" and I can't divulge everything that I get to do. But I can
promise you this, it's a very cool opportunity for dietitians!
Overall, both of these rotations have exposed me to really unique
career opportunities for dietitians. It might not be something you
think you'll be interested in, but once you see how passionate these
dietitians are about educating the public you'll get hooked! I love
being able to work with these "nutrition experts" and feel confident in
the information and facts they promote to the public. It's great to
feel like you're helping out our country in this very unique way. I'm
thoroughly enjoying these weeks and will update you on the remainder of
my rotations on my next post!