The NFSC course 298I: Dietetic Practicum, is a six month, supervised training experience at an AUB affiliated medical facility. The experience includes all areas of dietetic practice: clinical, food service, and community settings. Students receive orientation sessions to assist in their transition from the academic to the hospital setting. AUB’s Nutrition and Dietetics (NTDT) Internship Coordinator guides the interns throughout their internship: advising, visiting hospitals, evaluating projects and checklists submitted, and reviewing performance evaluations. The program launched in spring 2018 with around 12 graduates per semester and has 34 graduates to date. Students engage in many projects and activities to spread awareness and integrate community engagement at affiliated medical facilities. The real-world experiences that prepare current NFSC students to become successful dietitians include:
1. Colon cancer awareness campaign, Hammoud Hospital (June 2018):
NTDT prepared an educational booth about the importance of healthy dietary practices in preventing colon cancer at Hammoud Hospital. Food models helped educate participants about recommended food portions and food groups. Leaflets about healthy dietary recommendations and tips were distributed during the event.
2. Fit-A-Thon Physical Activity Booth, AUB (October 2018):
Interns and Coordinated program (CP) students participated in the Fit-A-Thon event at AUB. The awareness-raising event focused on key nutrition and physical activity concepts to promote healthy lifestyle and dietary practices. Students prepared a physical activity booth with fun activities for the participants, who had the option of engaging in several forms of physical activity. Choices included a high intensity interval training (HIIT) challenge, several useful yoga and stretching moves, and the “hula hoop challenge”.
3. Diabetes Day, celebrated in 3 affiliated hospitals (November 2018):
a. Albert Haykel Hospital, Tripoli:
The booth, intended to increase awareness about diabetes and healthy dietary patterns for patients with diabetes, offered participants several fun and interactive games. They learned about healthy foods and recommended quantities for prevention and management of diabetes.
b. Hotel Dieu de France
The aim of the booth was to raise awareness about the importance of healthy diet in the prevention and management of diabetes. Participants learned about healthy food items and portion sizes through fun and interactive games. Brochures were also distributed which included dietary recommendation for individuals with diabetes and ideas for healthy snacks free of sugar.
c. St. George Hospital:
Fun, interactive games raised awareness in a booth about diabetes, healthy dietary patterns. Visual demonstrations of the sugar content of a variety of food items took place and handouts were distributed about portion sizes and foods recommended for a healthy diet.
4. Food & Drug Interaction Awareness Session, Sahel Hospital (March 2019):
The booth had fun and educational activities with information about the types of ingredients that can interact with various drugs. Participants received a useful reference brochure about food and drug interactions.
5. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) Awareness, Clemenceau Medical Center, (March 2019):
This booth increased awareness of CVD risk factors, warning signs, and the importance of healthy diet in preventing and managing CVD. Participants assessed their knowledge by classifying foods into healthy and not healthy groups. They received informative leaflets about CVD, healthy diet tips, and personalized assessments that used the body composition test to measure weight, body fat and muscle mass.
6. CVD awareness and presentation, Middle East Institute of Health University Hospital (MEIH-UH), Bsalim (March 2019):
A CVD awareness event, offered jointly by the dietary department and an MEIH-UH doctor of internal medicine from the Albert Nassar Foundation, Bkennaya, focused on CVD risk factors and healthy dietary recommendations for CVD prevention.