"This accreditation is very important," said Dr. Esperanza Briones, program coordinator at UTPA. "Otherwise, the students wouldn’t be able to sit in the National Registration Exam to become Registered Dieticians."
CAADE is the only accrediting agency for dietetics education programs recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation by CAADE ensures a program meets the educational requirements established by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency of the American Dietetic Association.
Briones said the reaccreditation was the result of a thorough program self-study and a two-day site visit by three representatives of the association who are from similar programs at other universities.
"They see the classrooms, the students, they talk to everybody duing the site visit," she said.
The Coordinated Program in Dietetics at UTPA is accredited for an enrollment of 15 students annually, with a general dietetics emphasis. As of December 1998, there were 49 accredited Coordinated Programs in the U.S.
The UTPA program was first accredited in 1989. The next site visit is scheduled for 2008, and the program will submit an interim report in five years.