Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Patton

Dietetic Internship Program

Picture of Patton Hospital

Program Offerings | Program Mission, Goals & Objectives | Program Experiences | Financial Information | Admission Requirements | Application Process | Contact Information


To become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, you need to:

  • Complete a minimum of a master’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and coursework accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
  • Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run 6 to 12 months in length.
  • Pass the CDR credentialing examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at
    • 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). For more information about this requirement, refer to CDR’s website at
  • State licensure is required to practice dietetics in some states, however state licensure is currently not required in California. For more information regarding state licensure or certification, refer to CDR’s website at
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.


The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program is proud to offer two tracks to those seeking credentialing as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). A maximum of six appointments will be available between the two program tracks each year during the Spring match.

Track 1-Dietetic Interns with Master’s Degree: This track is for applicants who have already earned their master’s degree and are seeking to complete their supervised practice in an ACEND accredited dietetic internship program. Upon completion, graduates, will earn their verification statement from the dietetic internship program. A minimum of two appointments are available for this track each year.

Track 2-Master of Science in Nutrition Science (MSNS)/DI: This track is offered for applicants seeking to complete a combined master’s degree and dietetic internship to be eligible to take the credentialing exam for RDN’s after completion of both programs. The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship has partnered with California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB) to offer a 2-year combined master’s program and dietetic internship. The MSNS degree will offer a minimum of 32 semester units in a hybrid class setting to be completed in two years. The supervised practice will be completed during year 2 of the program. Upon successful completion of this track, students will earn a MS degree in Nutrition Science and a verification statement from the dietetic internship program. A maximum of four appointments are available for this track each year. Because classes will be hybrid during both years, students are required to be available to attend in-person for graduate coursework both years. If you are interested in this program track, please visit our other program webpage here.


DSH - Patton is located at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, 50 miles east of Los Angeles and 50 miles west of Palm Springs. The hospital is a low to moderate security hospital which serves over 1,500 mentally ill adults. All admits to the hospital have a civil commitment ordered by a judge for rehabilitation. The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program is a generalized program with a concentration in psychiatric disabilities and medical nutrition therapy.

DSH-Patton provides equal opportunity to all regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, disability (mental and physical disabilities), medical condition, genetic information, family and medical care leave, political affiliation or opinion, or sexual orientation. A.D. 3.03 “Discrimination Complaint Process” outlines the hospital policy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Officer can be contacted at 909-425-7362.

The program is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) which is the accrediting body for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

ACEND Contact Information:
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
(800) 877-1600, ext. 5400

COVID-19 Impact

All employees of DSH-Patton were required to obtain COVID-19 vaccination and booster by March 1, 2022. Please note that although the DSH-P facility has medical and religious exemptions available, some of our affiliate sites do not have exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine and booster requirements. The dietetic internship program will adhere to all affiliate site requirements as outlined in contract agreements and will not place an intern at a site who does not meet their requirements. Please note, this may impact intern placement at certain sites and may impact intern’s ability to complete the program if competencies are not met elsewhere. Interns are expected to be prepared to show proof of vaccination before starting such rotations whose requirements are in place.


The mission of the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program is to utilize scientific evidence-based education to prepare interns to be competent entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, committed to promote health and prevent nutrition-related diseases; who are well-rounded contributing members to the field of dietetics, with a sensitivity and awareness to diverse populations, particularly in the area of mental health.


In accordance with ACEND standards, the program is designed to provide didactic and supervised practice to meet the eligibility requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The program will promote individual learning that bridges academia with practical experience to develop and promote teamwork and other operational skills for employment in the field of dietetics; establish life-long learning to maintain a credentialed status, encourage involvement in the professional organization, and offer an effective learning environment.

Program Goals:

  1. The program will prepare graduates to be competent, entry-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for employment.
    Outcome Measures:
    1. At least 80% of program interns complete program requirements within 15 months (150% of the program length). This measure applies to interns who have already obtained a master’s degree.
      At least 80% of interns complete program requirements within 33 months (150% of the program length). This measure applies to interns in the MSNS/DI pathway.
    2. 80% of program graduates take the CDR dietitian credentialing exam within 12 months of program completion.
    3. The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR dietitian credentialing exam is at least 80%.
    4. Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
    5. When surveyed at program completion, 80% of graduating interns indicate on their program evaluation that they are “satisfied” and/or “highly satisfied” with the quality of their preparation for professional practice.
  2. The program will graduate interns that are well prepared to demonstrate professionalism and leadership in the field of dietetics.
    Outcome Measures:
    1. When surveyed 12 months after graduation, at least 80% will rate themselves “satisfied” and/or “highly satisfied” with their ability to perform as an entry-level RD.
    2. When surveyed 12 months after graduation, at least 80% of graduates will indicate having “significantly” improved their leadership skills and abilities.
    3. When surveyed 12 months after graduation, 80% of employers will rate graduates as “meets expectation” or “exceeds expectation” in professionalism, knowledge and skills as expected in entry level dietitians.


Supervised practice experience is provided in clinical dietetics, food service administration (hospital and school settings), community nutrition, and business/entrepreneurship. As the host facility, DSH-Patton provides a unique learning experience in the treatment for forensic psychiatric patients. In addition, interns have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills by learning from preceptors at various affiliations such as: Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Banning Unified School District, and San Bernardino Public Health Department. Interns develop personal goals to accomplish in each rotation. Although the program primarily runs during the work week, occasional work and projects may need to be completed on weekends and after work hours.

Clinical Nutrition: This component is designed to provide practical experiences in nutritional care including nutrition assessment, nutrition diagnosis, nutrition intervention, nutrition monitoring and evaluation. The intern actively participates in the client education and interdisciplinary team meetings. Clinical experience involves clients in outpatient, long-term, sub-acute, and acute care settings. The clinical rotations provide experience in diabetes, obesity/weight management, renal, nutrition support, cardiology, GI disorders, oncology, burn/wound healing, HIV/AIDS, dysphagia, geriatrics, pediatrics/NICU, substance abuse, surgical and critical care. Learning is facilitated by written assignments, oral case studies, and staff relief to reinforce nutrition principles in the clinical setting.

Food Service Administration: The administrative experiences are to provide an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all levels of food service systems management and to provide hands-on experience in large scale quantity food cooking utilizing various methods. Learning is facilitated by written assignments and oral projects based on practical needs of the department. The food service experience includes menu planning, production and service methods, procurement, inventory, cost control techniques, and management strategies. The intern will apply critical thinking skills to learn planning, coordination, and time management. An opportunity to work independently and use these skills is obtained during staff relief.

Community Nutrition: Experiences in this rotation are planned to provide understanding in the role of the dietitian in community dietetics. Learning is facilitated by written assignments and hands-on experience in the following areas: outpatient nutrition clinic programs including primary care and Public Health WIC clinics to assess and counsel prenatal clients as well as infants and children from low-income areas; RD services to Senior Nutrition Programs (congregate and Meals on Wheels); Department of Aging to provide Senior Nutrition and Physical Activity classes; Child Services which includes the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP); Food Security as a resource of food assistance programs available through food pantries, community or faith-based food banks, and visit locations for food safety; Fitness/Wellness with elementary schools or community-based organizations to promote eating more fruit and vegetables and increasing physical activity. Apart from the hands-on experience, learning is facilitated by written assignments.

Program experiences include:

  • Orientation to hospital and rotation sites: 3 weeks
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
    • Acute rotations: 10 weeks
    • Long-term rotation 10 weeks
  • Hospital Foodservice: 7 weeks
  • School Foodservice: 4 weeks
  • Community Nutrition: 4 weeks
  • Business Rotation: 2 weeks
  • Staff relief (built into rotations)

One-week program breaks are planned in November, December, and April. In addition, all state holidays will be observed.


The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program coordinates with the Greater Los Angeles Dietetic Intern Consortium (GLADIC) to provide supplementary didactic classes, usually held each Monday. Medical and allied health professionals serve as instructors. Classes are either held virtually or at any of the sponsoring GLADIC facilities. Interns are responsible for transportation to these classes if/when the classes are held in person. The didactic classes offer an opportunity for the interns to network with other interns and dietitians from various local institutions.

Participating GLADIC programs include:
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Northridge
Cedar Sinai Medical Center
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Northeast Valley Health Corporation WIC
Public Health Foundation WIC
VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care Systems


Upon admission into the program, interns become employees of the State of California. Their classification as a Graduate Student Assistant-Dietetic Intern allows for compensation at an hourly rate for time worked on DSH-Patton grounds. The current financial compensation as Graduate Student Assistant-Dietetic Intern is approximately $17,500.00 before tax deductions for the academic year. (Note that compensation will vary month to month and is dependent on the intern’s schedule). Funding is determined annually and therefore subject to change. Interns may not work for wages outside DSH-Patton at any time, including weekends and holidays, throughout the internship year.

Interns enrolled in Track 1 (DI track) are not eligible for student loans through the program. Deferments for outstanding loans can be made if allowed by your lender. DSH-Patton can provide documentation of status as an intern.

Use of a private vehicle is required since transportation to rotations and didactic classes is the intern’s responsibility. The affiliations are located within a 30-mile radius of Patton. Carpooling cannot be depended on as a means of transportation since each intern’s schedule varies. Interns must have valid car insurance coverage throughout the internship year.

Health insurance is also required throughout the internship year. The DSH-Patton Employee Health Clinic offers limited services. As state employees, the Employee Assistance Program is available to the interns at no cost.

Program Costs

Fees and expenses include estimated expenses for travel, housing, books, study materials, liability insurance, medical exam, and application fees.

Pre-Program Fees:

Program Application Fee

$ 65


$ 50

D & D Digital Systems Computer Matching Fee

$ 55

Air Travel and accommodations for in-person interview


Other Internship Related Expenses:

Professional Liability Insurance

$ 30-35

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Affiliate Membership

$ 58

CAND-Inland District Association Student Membership

$ 10

Background check/fingerprinting/drug testing

$ 0-500

TB test and Hepatitis B vaccination

$ 0-500

Medical Exam

$ 0-200

RD exam study materials

$ 100-500

Registration Exam

$ 200

Materials and Supplies, as needed (books, computer, Wi-Fi, lab coat, local meetings, etc.)


CAND Conference

$ 130-220

Living Expenses (approximate):

Off-ground housing (may not include utilities)
Interns must make their own living arrangements; estimate is for renting a room, sharing an apartment or a one bedroom/studio apartment

$ 800-1,400/mo.+


$ ~350/mo.

A car with valid car insurance is required for the program and interns must provide their own transportation to sites. California law requires that all drivers carry a minimum of collision and liability insurance.


Personal health/medical insurance
Personal health insurance is required; DSH-Patton does not provide medical coverage.



Candidates invited to interview for the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program will also apply as a Graduate Student Assistant-Dietetic Intern. Upon acceptance to the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship, all candidates must undergo a California State Criminal Background Check and pre-employment health clearance that includes a TB skin test and a drug screen with physical exam. Appointments are made prior to the start of the program and the background check and pre-employment health screening must be cleared before starting the program. The intern will complete this process through the DSH-Patton Human Resources Department at no charge. DSH-Patton will not be responsible for charges incurred if these services are not completed at DSH-Patton.


The program will only admit individuals who have completed Didactic Program in Dietetics requirements within the past 5 years*, have a minimum of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university and have a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Foreign Dietitian Education (FDE) program verification statement.

Successful internship candidates will be dedicated to the field of dietetics, are self-motivated team players with excellent interpersonal skills. The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program does not assess prior learning, including coursework and/or experiences, and does not apply prior learning credit toward meeting dietetic internship requirements. Please note, that completion of the recommended requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program.

Selection criteria is based on the following:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (cumulative undergraduate, DPD, and graduate)
  • Paid and volunteer experience in the field of dietetics outside classroom field assignments. Other experiences outside dietetics will also be considered.
  • Three letters of recommendation from: an academic professor/advisor, a work supervisor, and a personal friend (cannot be a family member or relative).
  • A personal statement as part of the DICAS application, which demonstrates candidate to have a passion for nutrition with strong career goals and shows qualities to be a likely match for DSH-Patton.
  • Leadership and participation in professional, social, and school organizations.
  • In-person interviews, for top-rated applicants.

A Recent Education Form is only required if dietetic coursework was completed 5 or more years prior to the application deadline. If you completed your coursework 5 or more years prior to the application deadline, you must include the completed Recent Education Form and submit it through DICAS. If the date on the DPD Verification Statement is more than 5 years prior to the start date of the internship, the applicant must take or have taken at least 9 semester or 12 quarter credits in upper-division dietetics-related coursework within the past 5 years at a university with an approved DPD or coordinated program. At least one course in medical nutrition therapy is required.


Upon acceptance into the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship, each intern must meet the following criteria:

  • Provide an original DPD Verification Statement signed by the Didactic Program Director on the first day of the internship program.
  • Provide a final original transcript documenting the highest degree earned and the date conferred. The final original transcript must be submitted on the first day of the internship program.
  • A foreign degree equivalency statement is required for each international student who is accepted to the DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program and must be submitted as part of the DICAS application.
  • Interns must undergo a California State Criminal Background Check and pre-employment health clearance (physical exam) before starting the program. These services are provided by DSH-Patton and must be completed by the date specified in the Intern Preparation Letter upon acceptance into the program. An intern will not be allowed in the program if they do not pass the background check and/or physical exam per DSH requirements for employees.
  • According to their policies for intern training, affiliate organizations may require interns to undergo additional background checks, drug screens, physical exams, and tuberculin skin tests. Efforts will be made to accommodate those prerequisites during the scheduled rotation; however, completion of prerequisites may be required before starting the rotation. The intern is responsible for all costs associated with background checks, drug screens, physical exams, and tuberculin skin tests required by affiliate organizations.
  • Some affiliates require a full complement of childhood immunizations or proof of immunity through blood titers. Interns must have vaccinations or blood titers for Mumps, Rubeola, Rubella, Varicella, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap), Hepatitis B, Influenza (or declination), as well as a 2-step tuberculin skin test. These services, immunizations, and titers are provided by DSH-Patton free of charge but will not be reimbursed to the intern if services are provided elsewhere, or if required at offsite facilities.


The DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program participates in the Spring Computer Matching Process through DICAS (Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System). DICAS can be contacted by email at or Mailed applications will not be accepted.

Submit a competed application to DICAS by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15th . DICAS charges $50 for the first application submitted and $25 for each additional application submitted. Each application should include:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended need to be sent postmarked by the February 15th deadline to:

    • DICAS Transcript Processing Center
    • P.O. Box 9118
    • Watertown, MA 02471
  • Foreign Students must have a valid visa which allows the intern to be employed by the State of California for the entire internship year. The course curriculum must meet the requirements of ACEND. Foreign transcripts can be verified through:

    • Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
    • 9461 Charleville Blvd, Box #188
    • Beverly Hills, CA 90212
    • United States of America
    • Phone (800) 243-1597
    • E-mail:
  • Three letters of recommendation from:
    1. An academic professor/advisor
    2. A work supervisor in a paid or volunteer position
    3. Personal reference from a friend (cannot be a family member or relative)
  • Include in your DICAS personal statement:
    1. Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    2. Discuss experiences (whether challenging or not) that have helped prepare you for a future career in dietetics. If challenges were faced, how did you overcome them?
    3. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    4. What are your strengths and weaknesses, or areas needing improvement?
    5. Why are you interested in applying to Patton State Hospital Internship program?
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • A DPD Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent to Complete Degree and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics minimum academic requirements
  • A completed DICAS application
  • In-person interviews
  • Applicants must mail (postmarked by February 15th) a non-refundable $65 application fee made payable to “Department of State Hospitals-Patton”. Only a cashier’s check or money order will be accepted as a form of payment. Indicate the student’s name in the memo section. We cannot accept personal checks. Please do not mail in paperclips.

    • Mail application fees to:
    • Dietetic Internship Program Director
    • c/o Nutrition Services
    • Department of State Hospitals - Patton
    • 3102 E. Highland Ave
    • Patton, CA 92369

Applicants must also register on-line for computer matching at and select dietetic internship priority choices by the specified deadline date and time. There is a $55 computer matching fee due at the time the applicant registers. Address questions or inquiries to:


Interns must comply with the AND Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice for the Profession of Dietetics, DSH-Patton Administrative Directives, DSH-Patton Nutrition Services Policy & Procedures, and the policies and procedures of our affiliate organizations as outlined during the Dietetic Internship Orientation.

Interns must satisfactorily complete all required supervised practice components and assignments to receive a Verification Statement from the Dietetic Internship Program Director. Required supervised practice components include supervised practice rotations; didactic lectures, workshops, and seminars; and hospital and program orientations. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DSH-Patton Dietetic Internship Program are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.


Sameh Mahfouz, RD
Dietetic Internship Program Coordinator
Department of State Hospitals - Patton
3102 East Highland Ave. Patton, CA 92369
Phone: (909) 672-1401