UW-Green Bay dietetic interns advocate for healthier lifestyles

UW-Green Bay dietetic program interns Sarah Jadin, Casey McKenzie, Kim Beyer, Jessica SchroederThree years ago, the Green Bay Boys and Girls Club received a federal grant to incorporate 45 minutes of extra activity into kids’ lives. When the Club expanded the program to include lessons in good nutrition, it called on UW-Green Bay’s dietetic internship program to help.

Every Tuesday evening, Casey McKenzie and three of her intern peers, focus their attention on the children, setting up an environment at the Green Bay Boys and Girls Club that allows for the kids to do more than just listen. (Photo above, left to right:
 Sarah Jadin ’01, Casey McKenzie, Kim Beyer and Jessica Schroeder ’05.)

“Our main focus is to help them understand the link between eating the right foods and staying active,” McKenzie said. “We try not to structure the classes like a lecture — they get enough of that at school. We try to be as interactive as possible.”

McKenzie’s work was highlighted in a TV spotlight in February.

During the hour-long class, students can participate in five to seven activities, which includes games and other sorts of activities relating to the topic of physical activity. In addition, students are given one or two snacks during the class, all of which are easy for the students to make at home for themselves.

McKenzie’s goal for the program is to allow these kids to have the tools necessary to be able to stay healthy and active on there own, rather than “because mom told me to.”

“Ultimately, we want to empower them to be able to make healthier choices for themselves because its what’s right for them,” McKenzie said.

As dietetic interns at UW-Green Bay, McKenzie, along with three other interns gain valuable internship practice throughout Green Bay, the Fox Cities and other areas. The Dietetic Internship Program is a 37-week course that provides its students with more than 30 hours of real-life focus. There are currently 12 students going through the rigorous process of certification.

Interns gain experiences in all areas of dietetic practice: medical nutrition therapy, food service and community nutrition. Practice facilities include five regional referral hospitals in Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah, several long-term care facilities, a college cafeteria, public school foodservice in Green Bay or Fox Cities, community hospitals, community health clinics, a Native American health center, and the UW-Cooperative Extension Agencies.

The program receives accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics (CADE) of The American Dietetic Association.

Over the past five years, interns that have gone through the program have first-time pass rate of 93 percent on the Registered Dietitian exam.

Of note, a UW-Green Bay dietetic intern has been named the State of Wisconsin’s Outstanding Dietetic Intern six times.

– Story by Paul Mee, editorial intern, UW-Green Bay’s Office of Marketing and Communication.

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