Author Biographical Information

  • David Gaviria, MPH, RD, LDN; Doctoral Candidate, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Elizabeth Chen, PhD, MPH; Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Objective: Dietetics education transitioned to competency-based education (CBE) in July 2022. Despite its benefits, managing competencies may be a challenging aspect of CBE for dietetics program and internship directors (PDIDs), yet it is unclear what specific aspects of competency management are difficult. Using design thinking, this study sought to capture the impact recent CBE implementation had on PDIDs by identifying specific pain points (i.e., challenges) related to competency management. The results of this work serve to document such pain points and may be used to generate solutions to address or eliminate the pain points. For example, this research can support further development of competency and program management software (CPMS) which exist to support PDIDs with competency management. Methods: Purposive sampling via a U.S.-wide PDID listserv served as the primary recruitment method. The participants (n=17) participated in design thinking activities via focus groups to identify relevant pain points. Themes were identified from the pain points and used to create insights. Results: Competency implementation, tracking, and management were major pain points for PDIDs. These pain points, amongst others, may contribute to the significant job workload PDIDs experience. PDIDs desire support from accrediting bodies to address PDID pain points. Conclusions: This study provides novel information on pain points PDIDs face related to competency management. Many of the pain points reported are addressed by available CPMS, making CPMS a viable option for reducing PDID workload. Future research should document the effect of CPMS and other solutions on reducing the competency management burden.



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