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VA dietitians: Food and nutrition experts

Who is a dietitian?

A dietitian is a health care professional who is an expert in food and nutrition. Dietitians have specialized training to provide nutrition education and counseling to people who want to improve their health. Dietitians are also referred to as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) or registered dietitians (RD). 

What do dietitians do? 

VA dietitians use a Whole Health approach to help people make healthy and sustainable diet and lifestyle changes. Dietitians work with Veterans on personalized goals to promote health and prevent disease. Within VA, you can find dietitians working in many different roles.  

Inpatient dietitians  

Inpatient dietitians help make sure Veterans receive adequate nutrition during their stay at a VA medical center.  They work in several locations, including the acute care hospital, the Domiciliary (DOM) and the Community Living Centers (CLCs). Inpatient dietitians review the nutritional needs of each Veteran and create a plan to meet those needs, which could include: 

Meal patterns for specific health conditions.

Texture modified diets for chewing or swallowing difficulties.

Tube feeding or intravenous (IV) feeding.

Nutrition education and counseling.

Outpatient dietitians  

Outpatient dietitians work with Veterans one-on-one or in groups to provide nutrition education and counseling.  Outpatient dietitians work in many different areas, including:  

Outpatient clinics and Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs): Veterans can schedule individual visits with a dietitian to discuss their unique nutritional concerns.  

Home Based Primary Care (HBPC): Veterans receiving HBPC services can visit with a dietitian in their homes. 

TeleMOVE! is one of VA’s home telehealth services. Veterans work with dietitians to complete a 90-day virtual weight management program. TeleMOVE! dietitians use in-home messaging devices and technology to check in with Veterans on a regular basis.  

Groups: VA dietitians also lead group classes such as MOVE! Weight Management Program and Healthy Teaching Kitchen Program.  

Administrative dietitians 

VA dietitians may also work in administrative roles throughout VA:

Supervisory clinical dietitians work behind the scenes to support their team of dietitians and ensure each Veteran receives quality nutrition care.  

Supervisory food service dietitians work as part of the larger food service team. They help serve meals to Veterans that are not only delicious, but nutritious as well!  

Informatics dietitians manage data and technology to improve Veterans’ nutrition care. 

Next steps 

If you are interested in meeting with a dietitian or would like to learn more, contact your local VA to speak to a registered dietitian today or visit the VA nutrition website.

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