Throughout the country, attention has been given to diet-related issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. As a result, UTSA was quick to bring a dietetics and nutrition program to the university.

The College of Education and Human Development at UTSA adapted the program from a similar one at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC).

The new program at UTSA will provide a unique opportunity by allowing students to earn a dual degree — a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nutrition and a Master of Dietetics Studies.

The mission of the program is to benefit the health of the community, particularly those living in the South Texas region, through education, service and scholarship.

“I think there is increased awareness that nutrition plays a role in the prevention of diseases and treatment of diseases,” said Associate Professor and Program Director of Dietetics and Nutrition Dr. Carmen Román-Shriver. “I think the administration recognized that there is a need from consumers, the public and the community to improve the overall health, and nutrition is one of the components to improve health.”

The coordinated program in dietetics and nutrition at UTSA started its first classes in Fall 2013. Only 10 students out of 25 applicants were admitted in the first year. The requirements for admission are a 3.0 GPA, prerequisites courses, a good academic standing as a junior and a personal interview with the program faculty.

“I would love to educate people on the importance of healthy diet practices,” says Ana Lizbeth Sesatty, a student of the new nutrition and dietetics program at UTSA. She decided to pursue a career in nutrition rather than in medicine.

“I believe in preventive medicine because medications provide a temporary relief of symptoms, but good nutrition provides a daily, lasting relief to a person’s health,” she said.

Next fall, the program will be accepting 10 to 15 new applicants. With more than 100 candidates expected to apply for the new program, acceptance will be highly competitive. The application deadline is May 1.

As for the 10 students in the program, there have not been any setbacks.

Román-Shriver expects the program to be accredited by March and is hoping to hire another professor by the end of the semester.

For more information about the program, visit the College of Education and Human Development.

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