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History Made in Michigan: Legislature Passes State Licensure Law

Published April 10, 2024

Today marks a significant milestone in dietetics as 10 years after the repeal of Michigan’s dietetics and nutrition licensing law, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation to protect the safety of Michiganders by licensing dietitian nutritionists and the practice of medical nutrition therapy. This historic move underscores the commitment of Michigan lawmakers to prioritize the health and well-being of its citizens by ensuring that those seeking medical nutrition therapy services receive accurate, evidence-based care from qualified professionals.

Incorporating many principles from the Academy’s Model Practice Act, this newly passed legislation (HB 4608):

  • Narrowly licenses the practice of medical nutrition therapy, a service which, if provided by an unqualified practitioner, presents a significant risk of harm;
  • Establishes rigorous standards and criteria for individuals seeking to practice as dietitians within the jurisdiction by aligning licensing requirements with the prerequisites for obtaining the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential;
  • Aligns the scope of practice for licensed dietitians with current RD scope and standards, helping to ensure Michiganders have access to timely, cost-effective, qualified nutrition care.

This legislation empowers Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to oversee and enforce adherence to professional standards and ethics, thereby safeguarding the public against improper nutrition care and unqualified practitioners. By formalizing the licensure process, the Michigan legislature has taken a proactive stance in promoting public health by expanding access to nutrition care and preventing potential harm arising from unqualified individuals practicing medical nutrition therapy.

The passage of this legislation comes after extensive collaboration between the Michigan affiliate and the Academy, and consultation with key stakeholders, including health care professionals, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and other providers of nutrition care. The overwhelming support garnered for this initiative underscores the widespread recognition of the importance of professional standards in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

The Academy remains committed to supporting the effective implementation of this legislation and working collaboratively with stakeholders to promote the highest standards of practice in nutrition and dietetics.

Now, the bill goes to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to be signed into law.

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