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    Program Planning for Distance Interns

    Distance (On-line) Interns are required to locate their own preceptors, and to be sure that the prospective preceptors are qualified, ready and willing to precept at this time.

    A complete program plan, including ALL preceptors, with a letter-of-intent from each one, is to be included with the Internship application.

    Submitting an incomplete preceptor list is considered an incomplete application.


    Preceptor Qualifications for Distance Internship Sites

    It is the intern’s responsibility to be certain that each prospective preceptor is qualified, and desires to precept at this time.

    Preceptors identified by distance interns will be required to meet the qualification requirements to serve as a preceptor described below, and their site must execute an affiliation agreement with the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy prior to the intern commencing a rotation at that site.

    According to ACEND’s 2022 Standards for Dietetic Internships, “preceptors must have the education and experience needed to provide appropriate guidance for supervised practice experiences. Preceptors must be licensed, as appropriate to meet state and federal regulations, or credentialed, as needed, for the area in which they are supervising interns.”

    Consistent with the policies of the CUNY SPH, preceptors must be a Registered Dietitian (RD/RDN) with at least 1 year of practice experience post-registration to supervise the clinical / MNT rotations. For other rotations, the RD/RDN credential is desirable, and all preceptors must have a degree, certification, or at least 1 year of experience in a nutrition or dietetics related field.

    Prospective preceptors must demonstrate excellent communication skills orally and in writing and collaborate with Internship Director on a continual basis.

    Any questions regarding qualifications and/or responsibilities of preceptors are to be referred to the Internship Director.


    How to identify prospective preceptors and rotation sites

    Start with who you already know. As a DPD student, you began your professional networking with classmates, faculty, supervisors for fieldwork, practicum, or volunteer work, employers and others. Attending local nutrition and dietetics activities may have further expanded your network. So, the first people you should ask about prospective preceptors and rotation sites are your friends and acquaintances, especially if any are RDs. People you may know in related health professions, such as nurses or speech pathologists, may work with RDs in clinical practice who can help you to secure a rotation site.

    Look around your neighborhood. What are the organizations and institutions that serve your area? Schools, Head Start, WIC, Cooperative Extension, Department of Health, faith-based or civic organizations, food pantries, soup kitchens, or community gardens, all may provide opportunities for practice experiences in food and nutrition education, food service management, or other areas. Your local community college or health-related charity may be a good place to explore community-based research.

    Cast a wider net. When looking for additional opportunities, or an experience in a very specific specialty, an internet search may be the way to go. Search for potential opportunities and contact the organization(s) you find. Even if they are too far away, or are unable to serve as your preceptor(s), they may know of a better option for you.

    Have an attitude of service to the sites. When seeking locations and preceptors for your dietetic internship supervised practice, make it a two-way street. Think of how what you will do can be of benefit to the preceptor, her/his organization, and their patients/clients. In addition to what they will do for you in providing you with an opportunity for supervised practice, what will you be doing for them? Think this through before you call or visit the site. Being prepared to be of benefit can be the key to winning over a preceptor. Some examples of potentially beneficial abilities include fluency in a second language, computer skills, or skills acquired in a previous career or hobby. Be creative in arriving at a mutually beneficial plan.

    To assist you in creating your program to parallel our on-site program, a sample rotation schedule is posted below.

    All supervised practice sites are required to execute an affiliation agreement (contract) with the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy before an intern starts a rotation there. Note that these are not initiated until after an individual has been accepted into the Internship.

    CUNY Affiliation Contracts 

    Vacation and Holidays at the CUNY SPH are according to the CUNY Academic Calendar. However, interns’ supervised practice hours are set in collaboration with the preceptor(s) at each site. Scheduled work hours set with a preceptor take precedence over the CUNY calendar.

    Technology Requirements

    Students will access the Blackboard learning management system for all instructional materials. Students will be issued a username and password by the Blackboard administrator. Unless stated otherwise, students are to upload assignments, review announcements, and communicate regularly via the Blackboard system.

    Students are also required to have the following items and complete the following tasks:

    • Use or create an email account that will be available during the entire Internship term
    • High speed internet connectivity
    • Computer or laptop with at least 128MB RAM – regularly updated with antivirus and anti-malware programs
    • Microsoft Office installed on the computer or laptop
    • Access to a scanner