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Health Begins on the Plate

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 04/11/2011 More stories >>

Dietetics Program students Catherine Tong and Dustin Lee collect data at a local open market. (Photo: Corilee Watters)

Dietetics Program students Catherine Tong and Dustin Lee collect data at a local open market. (Photo: Corilee Watters)

The Didactic Program in Dietetics is not one of CTAHR’s more commonly known academic programs. Yet for over 20 years, Anne Shovic has directed this rigorous accredited program, preparing UH students to become Registered Dietitians (RD). Students earn baccalaureate degrees in Food Science and Human Nutrition, through the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences (HNFAS).

Dietitians work as part of health care teams assessing the nutrititional status of patients and providing medical nutrition therapy. Others are important components of public health, improving targeted populations’ nutritional well-being. Dietitians also manage food service operations in institutional and hospitality industries. They offer education and outreach, like HNFAS faculty members Naomi Kanehiro, Rachel Novotny, Corilee Watters, and Julia Zee. The program has close ties to the Hawaii Dietetic Association and is guided by a Dietetics Advisory Council made up of professional dietitians.

CTAHR strives to meet the growing demand for dietitians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9-percent growth in demand for dieticians over the next decade.

HNFAS’ Didactic Program in Dietetics must meet stringent standards established by the American Dietetic Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. In April 2011, the program will seek re-accreditation. Here are some of the standards the program must meet:

  • Over a 5-year period, 90% of enrolled students will complete the program within 3 years. In the HNFAS program, between 2006 and 2011, 96% of the students completed the program.
  • 60% of the graduates will apply to a supervised practice program, or internship, the year they complete the program. Here 62% applied to internships. In addition, 16% of the students were accepted into nationwide health-related institutions of higher learning such as medical, pharmacy, and nursing schools, departments of health and graduate schools.
  • Graduated students must achieve a pass rate of 80% or above for first-time test takers of the RD examination. Here, over 85% pass.
  • Within 6 months of graduating from a dietetics internship, 80% of the program graduates residing in Hawai‘i must have obtained employment related to nutrition. Here, 100% were employed, most within 2 months.

The dietitians doing good work throughout Hawai‘i and the American Territories can thank Anne Shovic and the faculty of the FSHN program for their success—and so can those they help.

More information on the Dietetics Program can be found at