Dynamic Dietitians | Nov 9 2017

Serving our country as a registered dietitian

Get to know a registered dietitian in the Navy

By Payal Mody, MS, RD, CNSC

Happy Veteran’s Day to all prior service members of the US military forces, current active duty and reserve service members and their families, who are just as vital part of the commitment made to our country. You all protect our country’s freedom and provide a great sense of security to its residents.

It has been my pleasure to become a small part to the organization of United States Navy a year and half ago. I was a Registered Dietitian in the civilian system for eight years prior to applying to the Navy. The process of my application took almost 13 months. Once everything was approved, I was handed an appointment letter from the Commander in Chief at the time, President Obama.


I was soon sent off to Officers Development School (ODS) for five weeks where I learned military indoctrination, damage control, naval leadership, division officer leadership, naval welfare and many more crucial operational skills. This type of training was very distinct compared to my undergraduate and graduate education over the years. Almost everything I learned related to how I would apply these skills in various clinical settings (e.g. long term care, inpatient and outpatient, private practice).

The ODS training prepared me for my future as a commissioned officer by providing me with basic knowledge of the naval profession and its related military, academic and nautical subjects. This training was received over course of five weeks and divided into seven units of instruction.

Upon completion of ODS training, I relocated from New Jersey to the new location of my tour assignment: Portsmouth, Virginia, at Naval Medical Center at Portsmouth (NMCP). At NMCP, I serve as a Clinical Dietitian seeing patients who are service members of varied military forces, as well as their dependents. I cover the inpatient wards (as assigned) in addition to the outpatient clinic where I schedule patients’ with various medical needs (e.g. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Diabetes, Chronic Kidney Disease, Gestational diabetes, Cancer etc.).

In addition, I teach classes to groups on following topics: Diabetes Self Management, Diabetes Self Management Education, Chronic Kidney Disease and Nutrition Therapy.

Beyond the chart

My duties as a Navy Clinical Dietitian extend beyond the inpatient and outpatient units. As an active duty service member we also commit to collateral duties such as Officer on Duty, Health Fairs on ships and health fairs at other military bases. I am also a part of the Controlled Substance Inventory Board. As part of this board, myself and few other members review controlled substances usage and documentation.

As a Registered Dietitian, the opportunity I have received to serve those who serve our country has been very humbling. I am able to apply my clinical knowledge in a hospital setting where service members and their dependents visit for various medical needs by assessing their needs, planning nutrition care for them as well as educating them.

At the end of each day, I am thankful for this opportunity I have received and the small difference I am able to make in lives of those who create our military force.

Payal has periodically worked with Dietitians On Demand as both a consultant and a client since 2014. She joined the Navy in May 2016 and has more than 10 years of clinical nutrition experience.

Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. Check out our job openings, or request your coverage today!

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