From the Academy| Volume 116, ISSUE 7, P1193-1198, July 2016

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Preparing Future Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for Working with Populations with Food Insecurity: A New Food Insecurity/Food Banking Supervised Practice Concentration Piloted with Dietetic Interns

Published:March 18, 2016DOI:
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      A 2012 Feeding America survey of food bank managers revealed a need to better prepare entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) for working within a food bank and/or working with populations with food insecurity. Feeding America is the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, with a network of more than 200 food banks in the United States.

      Feeding America. Our history. Accessed December 15, 2015.

      The Feeding America survey included responses from 100 food bank managers, the majority of whom (60%) reported working with RDNs and dietetic interns. The results of the survey suggest that although food bank mangers valued working with RDNs and interns, they also reported that many RDNs lacked necessary skills for working with a population with food insecurity. Examples of such skills include a gap in ability to translate science-based information into practical information and provide relevant food preparation techniques and recipe recommendations for food bank clients. One survey respondent stated, “Many [RDNs] who come to volunteer have little experience working with low-income communities and struggle to translate their science-based information to be more practical for clients; some seem to have difficulty meeting clients where they're at and making recommendations for incremental changes.” The results of this survey prompted exploring the feasibility of developing a Food Insecurity/Food Banking Supervised Practice Concentration (Concentration) to better prepare future dietetics professionals to be leaders in this area.
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      1. Feeding America. Healthy Food Bank Hub website. Accessed March 1, 2016.

      2. Feeding America. Our history. Accessed December 15, 2015.

      3. National Dairy Council’s Feeding America to form the Future of Food (FOF) initiative. 2012. Accessed February 10, 2016.

      4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. ACEND Accreditation Standards for Dietitian Education Programs Leading to the RD Credential. Version 1.04 of the 2008 CP Standards. Adopted February 24, 2012. Effective as of June 1, 2012. Updated July 31, 2013.

      5. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors Dietetic Practice Group website. Accessed December 15, 2015.


      D. Handu is a lead analyst/program manager, Research, International, and Scientific Affairs, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, IL.


      L. Medrow is a project specialist consultant, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, Kansas City, KS.


      K. Brown is chief global nutrition strategy officer, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, Chicago, IL.