Dietetic Research Technician

Partners Healthcare System Boston , MA 02298

Posted 7 months ago


Under direct supervision of the Metabolism & Nutrition Research Director/Manager and within hospital and departmental guidelines, the Research Diet Technician (RDT) performs a broad range of responsibilities to support research studies on the Translational Clinical Research Centers (TCRC) on WHT 12/13 and other MGH sites. The RDT will fulfill metabolic kitchen activities including service of standard and specialized meals/snacks based on the approved research protocol, research participant needs and unit standards while maintaining quality food service standards for safety and sanitation. Documentation and data entry of food intake will be completed by the RDT. The RDT will assist research dietitians in the completion of metabolic assessments and other assigned activities.

In direct collaboration with the Research Diet Technician Team Lead and the Research Registered Dietitian, the RDT will fulfill the responsibilities of the position.


Research participant meal/snack service

Maintains daily meal board with updates throughout the day to communicate participant meal and snack requirements per protocol.

Assists research participants with menu selections and processes menus using computerized menu system. Demonstrates knowledge and skills necessary to provide age-appropriate (toddler to elder) nutrition care appropriate to the participant population served in the research unit.

Prepares and serves research meals and snacks to inpatient and outpatient research participants. Manages tray delivery and pick-up.

Identifies and reports pertinent information from research participant contacts to research dietitian regarding food acceptance, preferences and menu selections.

Assists in the development, including tasting, of recipes and meals according to research protocol specifications.

Monitors and documents food intake.

Metabolic kitchen equipment

  • Operates and maintains equipment according to manufacturer and unit standards for safety and sanitation microbalance scale, gram scales, refrigerators, freezers, dish machine, electric stove top/oven, and miscellaneous small equipment.

  • Performs daily/weekly equipment calibration and documentation. Reports deviations to Research Diet Technician Team Lead.

  • Monitors dish washer, refrigerator and freezer temperatures. Reports deviations to Research Diet Technician Team Lead

  • Completes daily, weekly and monthly cleaning of the metabolic kitchen. Maintains hospital and public health sanitation standards throughout the kitchen.

Weighed meals

  • Weighs, measures, prepares, labels and stores all foods, beverages and nutrient supplements using prescribed methods for the research diet and according to a specified meal plan.

  • Completes meal pack-outs for research participants to include all appropriate food items for all research meals.

  • Monitors and reinforces food intake for compliance to special meals and informs research dietitian of refusal. May need to re-weigh special foods.

  • Weighs research "products" that may include peanut flour, oat flour, milk powder, amino acids or other "products". Maintains documentation of inventory for special food or research "products".

Metabolic kitchen food and supply inventory

  • Completes standard food and non-food supply inventory and requisition; and picks-up food items/ingredients.

  • Monitors food quality including expiration date, temperature control, labeling and storage.

  • Ensures that food and non-food supplies are available for next day production.

Data entry and calculation of food intake

  • Ensures accurate data entry of food and supplement intake from food records, 24 hr. recalls or other nutrient intake assessment tools using the research nutrient database with adherence to standardized procedures.

  • Maintains nutrient database files including identifiers such as participant ID and research study. May assist in data back-up and output.

  • Completes nutrient calculations consistent with protocol standards.

Assists research dietitians

  • Under guidance of a research, registered dietitian (RD), will assist in supporting participant flow, metabolic nutrition assessments, supply stocking, equipment cleanliness, visit set-up and other assigned duties.

  • Completes data entry corrections of food and supplement intake.

Other responsibilities

  • May assist in the orientation and training of new employees, nutrition students and dietetic interns.

  • May assist Research Diet Technician Team Lead in completion of assigned responsibilities.

  • Completes other duties as assigned.


  • Food preparation proficiency including food procurement, recipe adherence, food presentation, equipment operation and safety/sanitation.

  • Computer proficiency word processing, including spreadsheets and experience with nutrition database software, menu processing software or similar program(s).

  • Must be able to perform simple math skills for weighing foods using a metabolic (gram) scale, maintain inventory and measuring fluids.

  • Maintains strong and effective working relationship with co-workers including nutrition staff, other unit and study staff.

  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills as an individual and team member with co-workers, nursing, research participants and study staff.

  • Able to provide compassionate care to diverse participant population incorporating religious, personal, or cultural food practices.

  • Must possess a positive attitude and ability to use reasoning in isolating a problem and reach a sound conclusion

  • Must be able to lift at least 25-30 lbs and must be able to stand for periods of time.

  • Works independently and able to meet deadlines.

  • Able to organize and coordinate work; complete tasks efficiently with high attention to details and procedures. Uses job knowledge, judgment, initiative and follow through. Knows when to seek advice.

  • Must be honest, accurate, dependable and accountable for precise research data. Errors may result in research participant harm, increased cost, time lost and inconvenience to research participants, unit and study staff.


  • ServSafe certification within the initial 6 months of employment.
  • CITI certification as an employee involved in research.
  • BLS certification.


  • BS degree or minimum of 2 years college credits with emphasis in Nutrition or related field highly desirable.


  • Food service and/or nutrition related experience required for minimum of 1-2 years.


  • None, other than time management and resource utilization, such as supplies.


  • Kitchen environment with computer on patient care area supporting inpatients and outpatients.

  • Equipment operation, exposure to cleaning agents and food waste.

  • Fast paced and often stressful environment with numerous time deadlines.

  • Ability to work in a fast paced and challenging environment.

  • Daily contact with research participants in a patient care environment.

  • May complete activities at research locations other than WHT 12/13.

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Dietetic Research Technician

Partners Healthcare System