Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics honored 16 postbaccalaureate students recently during the department’s first internship white coat and patch ceremony. Evelyn Crayton, president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was guest speaker.
Crayton spoke about her personal journey in the field of health care and discussed emerging opportunities. As president of the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, Crayton had great insight and encouragement for the new interns.
“This is a really, really great profession,” Crayton said. She mentioned that the U.S. Department of Labor reports a rapid increase in the demand for dietitians, especially compared to other professions. “It is a good time to be a dietician.”
Rebecca Cline, a 2015 graduate of Samford’s dietetic internship program, attended the ceremony. She now works with the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability at Birmingham’s Lakeshore Foundation and enjoys staying in touch with Samford faculty and students.
“The public health concentration broadens your mind, not just to help one person or individual, but how many people you can help all at once through a program or policy,” Cline said.
Samford’s internship director Miriam “Mim” Gaines spoke about the white coat’s historical significance as a symbol of hope.
“We are showing you that we trust you,” Gaines told the students. “You are going from the nonmedical role of a student to the medical role of an intern.”
Additionally, Gaines commended the students for making history at Samford by taking part in the first white coat ceremony for nutrition and dietetic interns. “You are forming the internship culture.”
After completing the yearlong program, interns will be eligible to take the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. Additionally, they will have earned 21 hours of graduate credit toward a Master of Public Health degree at Samford.
Rachel Sinclair is a journalism and mass communication student and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.