Being Alive 1995 Feb 5: 14
The dietitian qualifier has more reliability. The American
Dietetic Association (ADA) is the only recognized and
accepted national nutrition credentialing agency. The ADA
administers the RD (Registered Dietitian) certification.
There are minimum standards: education, at least a bachelor's
degree; training, often a hospital internship; and knowledge,
passing a nationally-administered exam. Many dietitians have
also earned advanced degrees-M.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., or
professional credentials like CNSD, CDE and CNS. We
dietitians always display the "R.D." behind our names-it's
all we have in California and we did earn it.
As to "higher" education, it is perfectly legal (except in
New York) to boast unearned academic credentials like a
phoney Ph.D. from a diploma mill. It costs from $1,000 to
$2,000 to get a mail-order Ph.D. I could spend the money and
be "Doctor Jennifer!" How special.
So, a dietitian is a nutritionist; and a nutritionist may be
one. Some non-dietitian nutritionists may really know their
stuff, but it's definitely a "buyer-beware" situation. As
with hair cutters, some dietitians are quite good at what we
do, and some are not. For simplicity, I'll just use the term
"dietitian" here though I don't disregard any knowledgeable
non-dietitian nutritionists in so doing.
For HIV/AIDS nutrition healthcare, specialized experience is
necessary-read on. So specialized are we LA-area HIV/AIDS
dietitians that we even have our own "support group" thanks
to Laura Vasso, M.Ed., R.D. at Harbor-UCLA. We meet regularly
to share information and experiences, so particular,
specialized, and current (up-to-date) with the latest science
and research developments we must know to handle special
HIV/AIDS needs for nutritional healthcare.