Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

METC trains dietician techs to build, support a Medically Ready Force

Image of Military health personnel preparing food trays while wearing a face mask. Click to open a larger version of the image. Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prepares a tray of steaks in the kitchen training laboratory.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness

Good nutrition is the mainstay of health. It is well known that eating the right foods can oftentimes make a big impact on our physical - and mental - wellbeing.

A healthy diet could help fight off illness and control diseases, improve our mood and mental health, and prevent obesity. In fact, the benefits of healthful eating are so well established that medical practitioners employ nutrition therapy to treat certain diseases and chronic conditions.

National Nutrition Month, observed during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating habits along with physical activity. Being that health and fitness are synonymous with force readiness, it's no surprise that nutrition plays an important role in the military.

The Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC), located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, trains students to become Army nutrition care specialists or Air Force diet therapy apprentices.

The eight-week long course prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings. Students are taught to perform patient nutrition screenings and assessments, basic medical nutrition therapy, menu and food modification for therapeutic use, how to operate and clean food service equipment, and participate in procurement, storing and administration of dietetic foods and supplies. Students also learn how to prepare an individually-tailored meal based on a nutrition plan designed by a dietician and serve it to a patient.

Military health personnel wearing face mask speaking to each other
Army Pvt. Tobin Roche, left, conducts a simulated nutrition screening during a practical exercise in the Nutrition and Diet Therapy program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In this portion of the training Roche is learning to conduct nutritional screenings, assessments, and document finding for a simulated patient.  Maj. Stephanie Gasper, program director, acts as the patient in this scenario. The METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program prepares students to function as entry-level dietetic technicians in medical treatment facilities and deployed settings (Photo By: Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus).

According to Army Maj. Stephanie Gasper, METC Nutrition and Diet Therapy program director, the diversity of the career field covers a wide range of areas that promote and maintain nutrition, health, and readiness within the force.

"Military nutrition technicians can work in food service operations and medical field feeding, sports nutrition to optimize performance and support the warfighter, nutrition for general health and wellness or disease prevention, or perform patient care through medical nutrition therapy for diseases or other conditions in both a hospital and inpatient or ambulatory settings," she explained.

"I think there are so many opportunities for soldiers and airmen in the nutrition career field today compared to several years ago, so I'm excited for what lays ahead of them once they leave here. The majority of our students are excited and ready to take what they learn here to improve the health of our force," Gasper added.

Air Force Master Sgt. Jorge Nikolas, a student in the program, said that Nutrition and Diet Therapy is his dream career field. "The military allowed me to get this training so that I can make a positive impact to the long-term health of my fellow airmen and soldiers. With a large aging population, the country needs more skilled diet therapists to help our currently serving and retired military customers."

The importance of good nutrition cannot be over emphasized.

"Everyone has to eat, and what we eat and how much we eat can have a real impact on our physical and mental wellbeing," Gasper pointed out.

You also may be interested in...

Heart Health Month 2022

Video
2/11/2022
Heart Health Month 2022

Love letter from your heart. Happy Heart Health Month!

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit

Quality of Life

Video
1/5/2022
Quality of Life

Nearly half of people making resolutions for the new year are resolving to lose weight. While there are several long-term benefits to losing weight - avoiding or managing other chronic health conditions among them - losing just a little bit of weight right now can have immediate effects on your quality of life. From less joint pain to more energy to better sleep, you can start seeing and feeling the benefits of healthy weight loss nearly right away. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Safe and Effective Weight Loss

Video
1/5/2022
Safe and Effective Weight Loss

If you're resolving to lose weight in 2022, make sure to do it safely by avoiding crash and yo-yo diets. Talk to your doctor to make a plan for the safest and most effective way for you to manage a healthy weight in 2022. Visit tricare.mil/weightmanagement for even more tips.

Recommended Content:

Weight Management for Lasting Health | Nutritional Fitness | Physical Fitness

MHS Minute May 2021

Video
5/28/2021
MHS Minute May 2021

In this month's MHS Minute, the DHA's commitment to transforming military health continues. The DHA officially established the Tidewater market in SE Virginia, serving over 200,000 patients. The MHS is standing up 19 markets like Tidewater to allow healthcare providers to better meet the needs of their patients by improving coordination between facilities in the area.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Health Readiness | MHS GENESIS

Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

Video
2/17/2021
Total Force Fitness Reintroduction

The Military Health System is reintroducing Total Force Fitness. The Total Force Fitness concept focuses on a service member’s entire health throughout their career, connecting eight dimensions of fitness to optimize health, performance, and readiness holistically.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Environmental Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Social Fitness | Financial Fitness | Health Tools

Sleep and TBI

Video
2/8/2021
Sleep and TBI

Sleep disturbances are common for service members and veterans following a mild TBI, also known as concussion.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Total Force Fitness

MHS Minute September 2018

Video
9/21/2018
MHS Minute September 2018

Interested in hearing about some exciting events that took place around the Military Health System last month? Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

Video
10/5/2017
Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

Video
4/11/2017
USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety

Trauma Innovations

Video
3/23/2017
Trauma Innovations

Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | French Freeze-Dried Plasma Use in the DOD

Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

Video
3/22/2017
Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

Video
3/7/2017
Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness |

Any clime and place: Sailors bring hospital knowledge to the field

Video
5/19/2016
Any clime and place: Sailors bring hospital knowledge to the field

Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion got out of their comfort zone and conducted a week-long training exercise known as a Health Service Augmentation Program at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 18-22, 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Racing to save lives at Steel Knight

Video
12/28/2015
Racing to save lives at Steel Knight

Corpsmen and Marines rehearsed life-saving skills during Exercise Steel Knight’s mass casualty drill, Dec. 12, 2015. Steel Knight provides tough, realistic training for the Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
Showing results 1 - 14 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.