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Ryerson University-St. Michael’s Hospital dietetics training partnership boon for Ontario’s health-care system

With 50 per cent of dietitians set to retire in next decade new professional diploma in dietetics will help university graduates address the coming shortfall


Over the next eight years as many as 50 per cent of dietitians in Ontario plan to retire. Their positions may not be filled fast enough as there is an acute shortage of the required practical training positions available to new graduates – a step all dietetics students must complete before becoming registered dietitians.

To help address this shortage, Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital have partnered to launch the Professional Master’s Diploma in Dietetics. The one-year program is the first graduate diploma program of its kind in Canada, offering graduates hands-on classroom instruction and 45 weeks of practicum placements within the hospital in a wide variety of dietetic practice settings.

Once the students have completed the program, they can write the registration exam to become registered dietitians.

“As the proportion of the population over age 65 grows, more dietitians will be needed to help Canadians stay healthy and manage chronic disease risk,” said Judy Paisley, associate professor in the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University. “Over time, the Professional Master’s Diploma in Dietetics program will enable more students to complete the post-graduation practical training that’s required to become a registered dietitian.”

The new program will provide excellent dietetic practical training for nutrition graduates from Ryerson and other universities. From working with patients to assisting with the research process, dietetic interns benefit from a high-quality learning environment that supports the development of the comprehensive competencies needed to enter professional dietetics.

“This program will increase our ability to train the registered dietitians of tomorrow and hopefully help us to recruit these students in the future to meet the complex needs of our growing urban population– mothers and young children, the disadvantaged under-housed who may also be undernourished as well as the urban upwardly mobile who are interested in ensuring that they eat healthy to maintain their fitness and wellbeing, ” said Dr. Patricia Houston, vice-president of education at St. Michael’s.

Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital have a long history of successful partnerships and joint programs in nursing, psychology and, most recently, iBEST – a biomedical engineering and science research partnership for Ryerson faculty members, students and St. Michael’s scientists and clinicians working on “bench-to-bedside” research.

“The Professional Master’s Diploma in Dietetics builds on the rich history of partnerships between Ryerson and St. Michael’s Hospital while leveraging the resources of both institutions to enhance the experiences of students and preceptors,” said Mohamed Lachemi, provost and vice-president academic, Ryerson University.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Ryerson University

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 155,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit


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