Latest Updates from ACEND


ACEND®'s 2019 Annual Report: Deadline December 18, 2019

On October 30, 2019, all program directors were sent an email from annualreport@eatright.org with a unique ID number and a password to enable them to access the 2019 Annual Report survey. Program directors must submit information through the online survey about their program enrollment, student completion, graduate outcomes and other program characteristics as part of their assessment and management responsibilities to maintain accreditation. The submission due date is December 18, 2019. A late submission fee of $150 will be assessed after the due date. Program directors who did not receive the email message should contact ACEND staff at annualreport@eatright.org.

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April and November 2019 Computer Match Results

Every spring and fall, graduates of didactic programs in nutrition and dietetics participate in a computerized match process run by D&D Digital for placement in a nutrition and dietetic internship program. The combined results of the first round of the April and November 2019 computer match and a comparison with the previous two years are shown below.

A table displaying April and November 2019 computer match results.

As shown in the table, the match rate (i.e. the percent of applicants who match to a DI program in the first round of the computer match process) has steadily improved over the past three years. Factors contributing to this improved match rate likely include:

  • Decreased number of graduates from didactic programs in nutrition and dietetics (DPD): Data from DPD programs indicate that the number of graduates in 2018 (6,281) was 9% less than the number of graduates in 2016 (6,887) reflecting a nationwide trend in declining university undergraduate enrollment.
  • Decreased number of applicants participating in the computer match: The overall number of applicants participating in the computer match in 2019 was nearly 800 (14%) less than the number of applicants in 2017.
  • Increased number of supervised practice options: ACEND® has encouraged growth in nutrition and dietetics internship and coordinated programs. Between 2010 and 2018, 10 new CPs and 17 new DIs have opened and 2018 enrollment (compared to 2010 enrollment) increased by 22% in CP (n=347) and 47% in DI (n=1,330) programs. In addition, more than 800 individuals completed an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway during that time. In 2019, 12 newly accredited future education model graduate programs began admitting students.
  • Moratorium on new Didactic Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics: ACEND® has not accredited any new DPD programs since 2009.

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ACEND® Board Approves Enrollment Monitoring Policy Revisions

The ACEND® Board recently reviewed and revised its Enrollment Monitoring for ACEND Accredited Programs policy. Enrollment monitoring requirements are now the same for all program types.

The policy states that each ACEND® accredited program must establish an enrollment maximum, taking into account normal attrition rates, enrollment history, projected enrollment increases, and adequacy of resources to support student/intern success. Any program wishing to increase its maximum enrollment by three students/interns or 20%, whichever is greater, in one year will be required to submit a Substantive Program Change Request. The request would consist of current enrollment, proposed enrollment and resources to support an increase in enrollment.

More information about the documentation required to be submitted to request an increase in enrollment can be found in the ACEND®'s Guidelines for Requesting Substantive Changes.

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Reminder: Virtual Town Hall Meeting January 14, 2020

The next Virtual Town Hall Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 11 a.m. - noon (Central time). ACEND® hosts periodic virtual meetings to answer stakeholder questions about the accreditation standards.

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The ACEND® Board Endorses the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education

There are currently 53 million people with disabilities in the United States and this number with continue to grow as baby boomers age. Americans with disabilities still experience barriers to access routine clinical and preventive services as well as public health and wellness initiatives.

The Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education defines standards for disability training, including social, environmental and physical aspects of disability, to improve health care for people with disabilities. ACEND® supports these Core Competencies on Disability and is committed to continue to promote the development, implementation, and rigorous evaluation of nutrition and dietetics programs and ensure appropriate training of future graduates on health care quality and health outcomes for people with disabilities.

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Webinar Series on Interprofessional Practice and Education

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is learning important lessons about how to redesign impactful interprofessional practice and education programs in ambulatory and community settings. Join them on webinars on "Real Stories with Real Impacts: What Worked for Accelerating Initiative Teams."

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ACEND® Welcomes New Program Accreditation Manager

Laurie Kruzich, MS, RDN, LD, joined ACEND® as a Program Accreditation Manager on November 11, 2019. Laurie previously worked as a clinical associate professor with the dietetic internship program at Iowa State University. She has experience with distance education, online learning, and coordinating an ISPP program. She served as the interim program director from 2017-2018. She is excited to apply her experience in dietetics education to her new role with ACEND®. For a list of updated Accreditation Manager state assignments, which includes the states assigned to Laurie, view ACEND Staff.

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FAQs: Future Options for Free-Standing Dietetic Internships

ACEND® hosted and recorded a topic-specific Virtual Town Hall meeting on Tuesday September 24, 2019. Program options for free-standing dietetic internships were discussed regarding the 2024 CDR graduate degree eligibility requirement and the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards. You can access the recorded webinar and slides here.

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Guidance for Future Education Model Programs about the Partnership Agreement

Two organizations interested in collaborating in the interest of offering a Future Education Model Program must have a detailed agreement in a memorandum of understanding (MOU). One of the collaborating institutions must be a regionally accredited college or university. The MOU must indicate which organization is the lead sponsor and detail responsibilities, resources, financial management and time spent by the student in each collaborating organization. Financial agreements must be established to separate tuition collected by the regionally accredited college or university from fees collected by the organization that is not accredited to offer a degree. Students may apply for personal loans for this portion of the education that is provided by the collaborating institution that is not regionally accredited. A minimum of 75% of the student’s time or credit hours must be at the college or university for the student to apply for federal financial aid or student loans. The Guidelines for Partnership is available on the ACEND website at: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/accreditation-standards-fees-and-policies/future-education-model.

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Opportunity to Provide Feedback for Evaluation of the 2017 Standards

The ACEND® Standards Committee requests your feedback regarding the current 2017 ACEND® Accreditation Standards for nutrition and dietetics education programs. Per United States Department of Education (USDE) requirements, the ACEND® Accreditation Standards are revised every five years. Results of this survey will be used to revise the 2017 Standards.

Your feedback will be critically important as the 2022 Standards are being developed. The survey may take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. You can stop the questionnaire and re-enter at a later time to finish your responses. Please feel free to share this survey with your program stakeholders and anyone that might be interested in providing feedback on these standards.

The survey may be accessed until November 13, 2019. Survey responses will remain anonymous. Your input is extremely important to ACEND® as we review the current standards. We greatly appreciate your taking time to complete the survey.

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2020 ACEND® Annual Accreditation Fee due December 13, 2019

On September 5, 2019 an email message was sent to all program directors with a unique link to the ACEND® Quick Pay online system to access their annual accreditation fee invoice. Programs can either make an online payment or print the invoice and mail in a check for payment. The annual fee covers costs associated with accreditation activities, program support, communications, staffing and office expenses. The fee will be due December 13, 2019. Please note the earlier due date for the fee payment. Payments received after the due date will incur a 10% late fee and the initiation of the Administrative Notification process.

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Language for Accredited Program Website regarding CDR's Master's Degree Requirement

The following language has been developed for programs to post to their websites regarding the requirement for a minimum of a master’s degree prior to taking the CDR exam for RDNs beginning in 2024. It is recommended that four-year programs such as the DPD or CP post this information for potential students and the public in 2019 when students are applying to universities and programs and no later than prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. This language is intended to serve as a guide and does not need to be posted on the website verbatim. Dietetic internships will also want to post similar information for their prospective interns as well.

"Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited [program type] program at [Institution name] are eligible to [apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN].

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN please click here."

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FEM Options for Existing ACEND® Accredited Programs

As ACEND® accredited nutrition and dietetics programs explore the Future Education Model, ACEND® would like to respond to inquiries about potential options for programs. An institution with one or more accredited nutrition and dietetics programs that desires to propose a future education model associate, bachelor's or graduate degree demonstration program likely would need to make a decision on how to proceed. Please note that ACEND® encourages directors of undergraduate and graduate coordinated programs in dietetics and master's degree dietetic internships (MS/DI) to consider applying to become a demonstration program in cohort 4. There are three options for existing programs to consider:

Reorganization of Existing Program:
The institution could decide to reorganize its existing accredited program into one of the FEM programs. For example, an MS/CP or an MS/DI may reorganize into a Future Graduate (FG) program. ACEND® policies (Policy and Procedure Manual p. 68-69) about reorganizing an existing ACEND® accredited program into another program type describe the steps that would be involved in such a reorganization. If the ACEND® Board accepts the program’s initial application to reorganize (Phase 1), the program director will attend the required competency-based education training, followed by a report and a phase out plan for the existing accredited program (Phase 2).

Continuation of Existing Program and Opening New Program:
The institution could decide to continue the accreditation of its existing program under the 2017 Standards and apply for candidacy of a newly developed program under the FEM standards. For example, a program may keep its DPD and open an FG program or a Future Bachelor's program. ACEND® policies for newly developed programs (P&P Manual p. 38-41) describe the current candidacy process. If the ACEND® Board accepts the program's initial application for candidacy (Phase 1), the program director will attend the required competency-based education training followed by a self-study report and a site visit (Phase 2).

Opening New Program and Closure of Existing Program:
The institution could decide to apply for candidacy of a newly developed program under the FEM Standards and close its existing accredited program. For example, a program may phase out its BS/CP and open a master’s level FG. ACEND® policies for newly developed programs (Policy and Procedure Manual p. 38-41) describe the current candidacy process and policies for program changes (Policy and Procedure Manual p. 66-68) describe the steps that would be involved in a program closure. If the ACEND® Board accepts the program's initial application for candidacy (Phase 1), the program director will attend required competency-based education training followed by a self-study report and a site visit (Phase 2).

The process to begin the first class of students in a demonstration program typically takes at least nine months for programs categorized as a reorganization and more than a year for those categorized as a candidacy. ACEND® acknowledges that it takes time to develop the competency-based curriculum and obtain necessary approvals; therefore, once a program director attends the required competency-based education training, the program can take as much as five years to submit its Phase 2 report and must start its first FEM class within six years.

Cohort 3

Initial Application Due Date: January 8, 2019

Trainings: May and June 2019

Submit the Following no Later Than:

  • Reorganization Follow-up Report: September 2024
  • Candidacy Self-study Report: Spring/Summer 2024

Begin the First Class No Later Than: Fall 2025

Cohort 4

Initial Application Due Date: December 2, 2019

Trainings: May and June 2020

Submit the Following no Later Than:

  • Reorganization Follow-up Report: September 2025
  • Candidacy Self-study Report: Spring/Summer 2025

Begin the First Class No Later Than: Fall 2026

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Cohort 4 Applications for Demonstration Programs Under the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards Due December 2, 2019

The ACEND® Board has issued the call for applications for those interested in being part of cohort 4 demonstration programs under the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards. Applications for cohort 4 are due December 2, 2019 at 11 a.m. (Central time).

A workshop for those interested in learning more about the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards will be held in Chicago on August 15-16, 2019.

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Program Director Webinars – How to Develop Mission, Goals and Objectives and a Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan

ACEND® staff have developed webinars to train program directors on the following 2017 ACEND® Accreditation Standards:

  • How to develop the program's mission, goals and objectives (Standard 3)
  • How to develop the program's Program Evaluation Plan and Continuous Program Improvement Plan (Standard 4)
  • How to develop the program's Student Learning Assessment Plan (Standard 6)

View the webinars.

Please review the webinars to help further your knowledge on ACEND® 2017 Accreditation Standards 3, 4 and 6. Do not hesitate to contact your ACEND® staff manager if you have any questions.

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