Both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force have a proud history of training dietitians through their respective dietetic internship programs. In 1998, the separately accredited U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Dietetic Internship Programs joined resources and created the first “Dietetic Internship Consortium” in the nation, hence the name U.S. Military Dietetic Internship Consortium. (The U.S. Navy is also a member of the Consortium although they do not currently have an active training program.) In 2006, the Army Dietetic Internship expanded its initial entry level dietetics program to a 20-month combined Masters Degree and Internship program. In 2010, the masters program welcomed Air Force students into the program for the first time. The collective program is named the Graduate Program of Nutrition (GPN) and is comprised of the following 2 components:
The Graduate Program of Nutrition is a two-phased, degree-producing program. Phase 1, the didactic portion, is approximately 9 months long and is completed at the Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDD C&S), Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio), Texas. Phase 2, the internship and research portion, is approximately 12 months long and is completed at one of three locations: Brooke Army Medical Center (TX), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (MD), or Madigan Army Medical Center (WA). Students who successfully complete the program will be awarded a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition from Baylor University and will be eligible for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
The course is offered once each year and begins on, or about, 1 December. However, entry into the military occurs on, or about, 1 September to allow the student to attend the services' respective initial Officer Leadership course. (Basic Officer Leadership Course for the Army or Commissioned Officer Training for the Air Force.)
In 2008, the masters component was made available to a limited number of fully qualified Registered Dietitians. This is not necessarily offered annually and will depend on the manpower needs of the Army and Air Force. Service healthcare recruiters will have specific information about availability of this program year to year. Individuals accepted into this program as fully qualified RDs will complete the masters degree in nutrition and research requirements prior to being assigned as military dietitians to their first duty station.