Program History

Dietetic Interns class photo in white coats

The field of Dietetics has a long and storied history at the University of Minnesota. Starting in 1917, UMN had the first ever Dietetic Internship (DI) program in the nation, which was administered by the University of Minnesota Hospitals system. This program produced many of the first ever registered dietitians (RDs). After several instances of administrative restructuring, the program eventually became known as the ‘University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview Dietetic Internship’ (i.e. ‘UMMC, FV DI’) until 2015 when administration of the program was moved from the hospital to the University, within FScN. 

Beginning in 1990, the Department of Food Science and Nutrition housed its own, separate DI program, referred to as the ‘Dietetic Internship of Graduate Students’ (DIGS). This program evolved over the years until it was renamed ‘The University of Minnesota Dietetic Internship’ (‘U of M DI’) in 2011. At that time, FScN’s ‘U of M DI’ program became the first internship program in the country to create a program emphasis in the specialty area of eating disorders, partnering with The Emily Program, a national leader in eating disorder awareness, treatment, and lifetime recovery. A short time later, in 2015, the longstanding ‘UMMC, FV DI’ was adopted into FScN’s ‘U of M DI,’ becoming its second emphasis area: Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT).

In the century since the program’s first iteration, it has trained over 2,000 registered dietitians! These health professionals have gone on to:

interns with dietitians in hospital wearing white coats MNT
  • Improve the eating habits, health, and athletic performance of millions of patients and clients
  • Improve hospital outcomes, especially crucial during the COVID pandemic
  • Transform the fields of nutrition and dietetics across the nation and the world, by shaping nutrition and food policy to improve access to healthier food

Even now, the U of M DI continues to innovate and lead the way in the dietetics profession. Recently, they instituted a unique program opportunity for aspiring dietitians who hold doctoral degrees: the Individual Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP). This revolutionary program offers prospective postdoctoral interns an accelerated path toward meeting dietetic board certification requirements. The U of M DI is also an important player in the health of the Twin Cities community and has an extensive number of local partner sites.