President-elect Letter

Happy April everyone,

I hope that everyone is safe from all of these spring storms we have experienced over the past several weeks – what a season we are having!

Thank you to everyone who helped with and attended the 2022 Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference in Bay St. Louis, MS. I thought the education sessions had a wide of variety of topics; the poster session was full of new research by dedicated registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic interns, and students; it was great to visit with such an assortment of vendors; and it warmed my soul to get to meet and visit with so many of you. The MS-AND Board and other volunteers will get to work on the 2023 annual conference soon. See the article below for pictures from the 2022 conference.

The MS-AND regional leaders hosted our first regional meeting on April 14. It was a virtual meeting and was open to all the regions. Samantha Kostelnik, PhD, RDN, the University of Mississippi‘s Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management first postdoctoral research associate, presented “Hydrate Like you Mean it: Hydration Research withing Collegiate Athletic Populations”. See more information in an article below. To learn more about the MS-AND regions, click here:

Teresa Carithers is the MS-AND Delegate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates (HOD) – she is our voice to the Academy. The House of Delegates values your input and we are the key contributors to determining Critical Issues the Academy works on. Please complete the HOD survey by April 22 to help shape future discussion and action the Academy takes. Click this link to complete the Critical Issues survey by April 22, 2022:

As we are wrapping up this fiscal year for MS-AND we are thinking of you and our plans for the near future:

  • We want to continue our 75th anniversary celebration throughout this year.
  • We will have many more educational opportunities offered by the MS-AND regions.
  • We are looking for ways to work with our neighboring affiliates on educational offerings and other collaborations.
  • The Academy’s HOD will be working to make us a stronger organization.
  • There are several volunteer opportunities within MS-AND (and remember you can earn CPE for being involved!)

Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I hope that you have a great rest of your month.


Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD, President-elect
Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

MS-AND 2022 – 2023 Election

The polls are open! It’s time to vote for next year’s leaders in the MS-AND Board of Directors election. Please click the button below to review the candidates CV and statement of intent and to cast your vote. Please note: You must be a MS-AND member to vote and will be asked to provide your Academy member number for verification. Elections run from April 14 – April 28, 2022.

MS-AND is still looking for a candidate for Nominating Committee Member. If you or someone you know are interested please email [email protected] and a MS-AND board member will follow up.

MS-AND’s Inaugural Regional Meeting

A big “thank you” to Ellen Ossorio, one of our MS-AND Regional Coordinators; Samantha Kostelnik, PhD, RDN, postdoctoral research associate at The University of Mississippi‘s Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management; our additional regional coordinators; and to everyone who attended MS-AND’s inaugural regional meeting: “Hydrate Like you Mean it: Hydration Research withing Collegiate Athletic Populations”. This was a virtual event on April 14 and open too all MS-AND regions.

Dr. Kostelnik covered an overview and background on human hydration, data on the importance of hydration – specifically in athletes and reviewed some of the specific research on hydration that is happening at The University of Mississippi.

There are four MS-AND regions: Central, Delta, Gulf Coast, and Northeast. The regional coordinators and contact information are:

  • Central Region
    Coordinators: Elena Dent and Kathryn Johnson
    Email: [email protected]
  • Delta Region
    Coordinator: Linda Pennington
    Email: [email protected]
  • Gulf Coast Region
    Coordinators: Brittany Simmons and Madison Davis
  • Northeast Region
    Coordinators: Valeria Weivoda, Ellen Ossorio and Whitney Sheffield
    Email: [email protected]

Please visit our Region Events page for information on upcoming educational and networking opportunities. We look forward to seeing you at the 2022-2023 regional events.


That’s a Wrap – and we are not done Charting our Future

The 2022 Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference was held at Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, MS on March 24-25, 2022. We kicked off our 75th anniversary celebration, attended educational sessions, reviewed posters, met with exhibitors, and got to see each other, IN PERSON!

Thank you to everyone who had a part in planning the meeting, to everyone who was able to attend, and to our sponsors and exhibitors! We truly missed seeing those of you who were not able to come to this year’s conference. We are planning more educational opportunities for the 2022-2023 year, both in person and virtual.

Click here to see a full album of pictures from conference or click through the slideshow below:


House of Delegates Updates

Dear MS-AND Members,

We have some really exciting and important things coming up. Our next HOD meeting will be 4/23/22 and I along with other delegates will be addressing two critical issues: Covid 19 – impact on the nutrition profession and Volunteerism. I got alot of input from many of you at the conference on volunteerism and feel that the Academy is facing these same challenges. Our homework was to survey members at different stages of membership to gain diverse perspectives. Thank you to those who allowed me to interview you. The Academy is really working hard to address new ways to inspire members to be engaged while recognizing the commitment required.

We received great news that the HLT has given the green light to move forward with the HOD Transformation Roadmap second wave of task forces. I have been appointed to serve on the Communication-Member Engagement Task Force which will seek to find solutions to many communication barriers existing currently.

Lastly, I am interested in speaking to each region to outline the work of the HOD and the critical transformation that is currently underway, and to hear about your activities and professional concerns. I feel some of the communication issues arise because members may not be aware of the process, progress and existing ways to access information. The Transformation Roadmap is very comprehensive and will take time to accomplish all the objectives set forth, but we are on our way. Please share your thoughts and innovative communication strategies with me at [email protected].

Thanks for all you do to support our profession.

Teresa Carithers, PhD, RD, LD, FAND
MS-AND Delegate

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 MS-AND Award Winners!

We are proud to announce the 2021-2022 MS-AND Award Winners:

Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award – Heather White, MS, RD, LD

Emerging Dietetic Leader Award – Ellen Ossorio, MS, RD, LD

Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award – Valerie Weivoda, MS, RD,LD, SNS

Outstanding Dietetics Student in a Dietetic Internship – Sarah Van Schaik

Outstanding Dietetics Student in a Didactic Program in Dietetics – Mercedes Babin

Magnolia Award – Rob Stinson


For more information about each award qualification, please click here:

Academy Updates

Renew Your Membership with The Academy TODAY

Available now and continuing through April 30, 2022, new and rejoining members can take advantage of special pricing and receive membership for the remainder of the 2021-2022 membership year and the full 2022-2023 membership year (expiring on May 31, 2023), that’s up to 13 months of membership, depending on the date of application. For current members, renewal for the 2022-2023 membership year is also available now and printed materials will mail in early April. Click here for more information: Or, if you have questions, please email [email protected] or call the Academy’s Member Service Center at 800/877-1600, ext. 5000 (Monday – Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Central Time).


March 9, 2023 will be the inaugural Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered Day

March is National Nutrition Month®, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits that they can follow all year long.  March also is when the Academy celebrates Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, honoring the contributions and expertise of RDNs as food and nutrition experts, every year the second Wednesday in March. Starting in 2023, the Academy will celebrate Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered Day, honoring the contributions and experience of NDTRs in the delivery of safe, culturally competent, quality food and nutrition services. NDTR Day will be celebrated every year the second Thursday in March.


April is National Preceptor Month

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has declared April as National Preceptor Month. This is our opportunity to raise awareness, recognize, and thank preceptors for their commitment to the future of our profession. Preceptors impact our profession by training the future generation of registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered and helping to reverse the current preceptor shortage. This means the development of more RDNs and NDTRs to achieve the Academy’s vision of accelerating improvements in global health and well-being through food and nutrition.

We promise you gain as much as you put in! Click here to learn more about becoming a Preceptor:


Preceptors: Share Your Stories

The Academy is seeking stories and photos about how preceptors, students and interns are celebrating National Preceptor Month in April. Please also send stories and pictures showing how students and interns thanked their preceptors in the past few years. Your story may be used on the Academy’s social media pages, website or newsletters. Learn More


Take Action Today

Academy members and non-members can fight for better nutrition policy. Click here to easily fill out a request for your senators and/or representative to support these initiatives:

  • bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act urges Congress to keep these waivers in place to ensure students have access to healthful meals and school foodservice directors have the necessary flexibilities in place to provide meals while grappling with rising costs and supply chain shortages.
  • The DEMAND Act (S.3601 /H.R.6555) would ensure that lactation support services and supplies are eligible expenses for emergency assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Critical Needs Assistance program.
  • the bipartisan School Food Modernization Act of 2021 ( 876), which will expand schools’ ability to modernize kitchen infrastructure and equipment, strengthen workforce training and support emergency preparedness for the future
  • bipartisan, bicameral Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R.1577, S.596) has been reintroduced for the 117th Congress. TROA would allow RDNs to independently provide intensive behavioral therapy for obesity within Medicare Part B and would improve access to anti-obesity medications in Medicare Part D
  • bipartisan Medically Tailored Meals Act (H.R. 5370) would launch a three-year pilot program to provide medically tailored meals and MNT to eligible Medicare beneficiaries in 20 hospitals around the country
  • bipartisan, bicameral Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Training Act ( 2203/H.R. 5804) would remove barriers to Medicare beneficiaries’ access to Diabetes Self-Management Training and create opportunities for RDNs to provide effective nutrition care services
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021 (S. 1536/H.R. 3108), which would expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in Medicare Part B beyond diabetes and renal disease to include: prediabetes; obesity; hypertension; dyslipidemia; malnutrition; eating disorders; cancer; gastrointestinal diseases including celiac disease; HIV/AIDS; cardiovascular disease; and any disease related to unintentional weight loss.


Item Writer Training Invite:

As a provider of continuing professional education, the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s (CDR) invites you and/or your colleagues to participate in an item writing training webinar with subsequent item writing exercises. CDR’s continuing professional education approval requirements for self-study programs stipulate that assessment item writers document formal item writing training. In response to numerous requests for sources of this required item writing training, CDR is providing a training course opportunity via a webinar conducted by the psychometric staff at PSI Services, CDR’s test vendor.

  • Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2022
  • Time: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Central Time
  • Virtual: WebEx – Link will be sent once registration is confirmed
    • To receive a Certificate of Completion, all participants must complete the following:
    • Register for the course
    • Pay $100 registration fee per individual, no later than Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 11:59 pm CST
    • Participate in the live webinar
    • Submit three (3) items/questions for review and approval by PSI psychometric staff by Sunday July 3, 2022.
  • PSI will notify CDR of the participants who have successfully completed the item writing assignment. CDR will then issue a Certificate of Completion to all participants who successfully completed the course by Friday, August 12, 2022.  For participants who fail to demonstrate acquisition of item writing skills after PSI’s final review, will not be issued a Certificate of Completion.

Click here to Register.

Please note that this training has a maximum capacity of 200 participants. Registration will close once 200 participants register which could occur prior to Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Also note that successful completion of this training will qualify participants for CPE item development and not for examination items (entry-level or specialist). Questions? Please contact Samantha Love, Senior Manager, Professional Development at [email protected].


Seeking Nominations: President’s Strategic Advancement Groups

To accelerate progress toward achieving the Academy’s Strategic Plan, President Kevin L. Sauer, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND, is appointing Strategic Advancement Groups consisting of Academy members. The groups will increase members’ engagement in determining the direction of the Academy; accelerate inclusion, diversity, equity and access by creating a pipeline for a diverse pool of members to participate in new pathways to volunteer leadership; and offer more flexible, focused, short-term leadership opportunities in response to top challenges identified by members. All members are invited to nominate themselves or other members for potential service on Strategic Advancement Groups. Email nominations to [email protected]. Learn More


ACEND Webinars

  • ACEND has a free recorded webinar “Dietetic Dream Team: How the NDTR Can Support the RDN to assist programs in meeting ACEND knowledge and competencies that address registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) collaboration with nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered (NDTR). The webinar may be valuable to practitioners to help understand the role of the NDTR in supporting the RDN. NDTR program graduates share their work experiences and how their roles support the RDNs in their workplace. Hands-on tools and activities will be provided. The program provides 1.5 CPEs. This recording and slides are available on the ACEND Virtual Town Hall Meetings
  • ACEND®is offering a free webinar on May 3 at 5 p.m. (Central Time) for students on “The Art of the Application: Tips to make yourself stand out to RDN jobs“. This webinar presented by ACEND® Board Student Representative Emily Kuettel, MS, RDN will cover creating a professional resume and cover letter, interviewing tips and salary negotiation. Emily is a clinical dietitian with a passion for helping students and new registered dietitians successfully apply for jobs and negotiate higher salaries. Program directors are encouraged to share the webinar with their students and interns. For more information and to register, visit the ACEND® website.
  • ACEND offers a series of webinars to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in its accredited programs. The webinars are free and provide 1.5 CPEs each. All ACEND stakeholders (faculty, administrators, preceptors, students, interns, etc.) are invited.

Academy Member Interest Group Panel Discussion: Strategies to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in Dietetics Education


Dietetic Educator Modules on EatrightStore

Three Academy modules are available to dietetics educators to assist with providing content about emerging healthcare delivery models which represent the future of healthcare delivery and payment, and offer an exciting opportunity for RDNs to demonstrate value. The content of the modules aligns with CDR’s Essential Practice Competencies and addresses some of the performance indicators and competencies that entry-level RDNs will need to practice in these emerging healthcare delivery models. They are available to purchase both individually or as a set, all including objectives, recommended reading, narrated PowerPoint presentations, and suggested student activities. More


Looking for information on payment for nutrition services? Check out eatrightPro!

Whether you operate a private practice or provide MNT services in an ambulatory care setting, you probably have questions about coverage, billing, and payment for nutrition services in both traditional fee-for-service and newer value-based payment models. Find your answers – including critical new information on the Medicare Quality Payment Program, the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, and Alternative Payment Models – under Payment on eatrightPro:


Get Involved with the EAL

The development of EAL guidelines and position papers requires the contributions of volunteers like you. The Academy recognizes that recruiting a diverse group of qualified volunteers is the key to success. The EAL is currently seeking content advisors and guideline reviewers. Learn more at


Interprofessional Collaboration Workshop Recordings: Exploring the Role of Health Professional Students and Trainees as Members of the Health Workforce

The planning committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has organized a series of public workshops to explore whether students and trainees (e.g., interns) should be viewed as members of the health workforce, particularly in times of emergency as was experienced during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This excellent, six-part workshop, series brings together educators, students, administrators, and health professionals to share ideas, experiences, and data in an effort to discuss the role of learners during a crisis by drawing upon past experiences. Access this link to view the recorded 1.5-hour workshops.


Academy Position on Treatment of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity

Dietitians play key roles in treatment of pediatric overweight and obesity. Learn more about current research and application to practice in a new Academy Position Paper: