Bradley in the News: Dietetic program commences at BU

July 18, 2011

By Dave Haney, Peoria Journal Star

Three years after Bradley University saw its first group of students complete its doctoral physical therapy program, another Bradley health-centered program holds its first graduation.

Ten students, the first to go through Bradley's dietetic internship program established a year ago, received their certificates over the weekend. College officials say it's another example of the central Illinois private college gaining recognition, not just in the health career field, but notice nationally.

Amanda Newell, director of the dietetic internship program, said hundreds of students from across the country are applying to similar programs nationwide.

"It's really a competitive field because a lot of people are interested in nutrition; only about 50 percent of students are getting placed," Newell said of the nationwide statistics.

Of the 10 students accepted at Bradley, only three were already on campus - four had attended undergraduate studies out of state and three students were at other Illinois institutions.

"I think it brings us recognition throughout the nation. We've got students coming from all over," Newell said, "and from our program's standpoint, we have students in a didactic program at Bradley, so it brings them recognition too."

Students must have completed an accredited program in dietetics, usually done in undergraduate studies, and enroll in an approved dietetic internship before they are eligible to take a nationalized test, which they must pass before ultimately becoming a registered dietician.

The Bradley program, which places its focus on wellness and can accept only 10 students at a time, includes 12 weeks of clinical practice, five weeks in community-based programs, six weeks in food service and eight weeks involved in wellness programs. Students were placed with dieticians and nutritionists at places including Heartland Community Clinic, Caterpillar Inc. headquarters, Bel-Wood Nursing Home, Valeska Hinton Early Education Center, the University of Illinois Extension and Hy-Vee. Each student is required to devise and implement their own research project.

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center also has a dietetic internship program.

Jill Borst, 24, of Faribault, Minn., one of the graduates through the Bradley internship program, said her research project at a local clinic compared the long-term blood sugar levels of Type-2 diabetics and the primary care information they received, whether it was from a nurse or whether a dietician also was involved.

Allison Tallyn, a nutrition graduate from the University of California-Davis, said she studied weight management compared to the nutrition and activities offered at a local nursing home.

"We were given a lot of opportunity to take our own interest into the education and the research project," Tallyn said, adding each student received individual faculty advisors. "I don't think a lot of other programs offer that kind of opportunity."