Nourishing Minnesota: Improving health through food

March 11, 2024

Interns on the path to becoming dietitians are fulfilling CFANS’ mission to “nourish people."

Talking to a dietitian might feel stressful, says Therese Liffrig, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Dietetic Internship program. She offers assurance that dietitians are not the “food police” who will tell you what you can’t eat. “Nearly the opposite is true,” she assures.

“The work of the dietitians is to provide science-based evidence about what good nutrition really is for all ages, genders, races, in settings from ICUs to communities,” says Liffrig.  

The UMN Dietetic Internship Program started in 1917, and is the first program of its kind. Part of the career path to becoming a registered dietitian, interns have the opportunity to work closely with preceptors, allowing for supervised practice and hands-on experience in a variety of fields—including healthcare settings, eating disorder treatment programs, and community settings.

Interns choose one of two concentrations to guide their learning—eating disorders, in collaboration with The Emily Program, or medical nutrition therapy, in partnership with M Health Fairview.

The U of M Department of Food Science, and Nutrition trains the majority of the state’s dietitians, through the Dietetics Internship program or another program in dietetics. These professionals improve the health of urban and rural Minnesotans, and have an impact both socially and economically.