Ryerson and St. Michael’s Hospital new dietetics program to address training shortage

Ryerson and St. Michael’s Hospital will launch Canada’s first professional master’s diploma in dietetics for the fall 2015 term.

The program is designed to address a shortage of practical training positions available to new graduates, according to Judy Paisley, associate professor at the school of nutrition at Ryerson.

The program hopes to alleviate an anticipated shortage of professional dieticians. It’s estimated that up to 50 per cent of Ontario dieticians will retire over the next eight years.

St. Michael's Hospital, located at 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON. (Jessica Beuker/The Ryersonian)

St. Michael’s Hospital, located at 30 Bond St. (Jessica Beuker/The Ryersonian)

The first step to becoming a registered dietician is completion of an accredited undergraduate nutrition program. The next step is to complete a period of practical training that lasts about 45 weeks, like an internship. The final step is to write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam.

A shortage of opportunities to complete the second step in Canada has created a bottleneck that has prevented qualified graduates from becoming dieticians, Paisley says.

“The professional master’s diploma in dietetics leverages the resources of St. Michael’s Hospital and Ryerson University to ensure that high-quality practical training is available,” she says.

Graduate diplomas are new to Ryerson. Jennifer Mactavish, dean of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, helped establish the program structures of three programs at Ryerson in 2013: aerospace design management; enterprise information security, privacy and data collection; and dietetics.

The application deadline for the program is Feb. 1, 2015. Paisley says they have already received over 40 applications. The first class will have eight students and it is expected to grow over time.

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