President’s Message:

As we near the end of 2019, I have been thinking back on all of the wonderful experiences that I have had serving part of the year as President Elect and part as President of MS-AND.  I have had so many opportunities to meet many new people through engaging sessions and social gatherings at FNCE in Philadelphia as well as work with many of my fellow Mississippi RDNs at several outreach functions across the state.  I can not express how much fun 2019 has been and how much I have grown from my experiences.  I will always encourage everyone to take the time during their professional career to volunteer for MS-AND and hopefully enjoy some of the same experiences that have been afforded to me through volunteerism.

I want to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s!  I look forward to serving you and MS-AND into 2020!

Brady Taylor
President, MS-AND

MS-AND Award Nominations

The MS-AND Nominating Committee is seeking award nominations.

Please click here for more information, criteria, and nomination forms for the following awards:

  • Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award (ODY)
  • Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award (RYDY)
  • Emerging Dietetic Leader Award (EDL)
  • Magnolia Award

Complete the nomination form and email to,, or by January 31, 2020.

Mississippians on the Move

MS-AND member, Tiffani Grant, presented at the American Public Health Association 2019 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, MS on November 5. She discussed the positive changes happening through a community based program at Mallory Community Health Center in Canton, MS in her presentation “Take Control of Your Health (TCYH): Using innovation to engage and address social determinants of health”.







Mississippi Public Policy Panel Update

On December 17, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Public Policy Team presented 2020 Vision: Q3 Policy and Advocacy Update. The Mississippi Public Policy Panel (PPP) was reminded that there are three ways that public policy affects the Academy’s strategic plan:

  • Prevention and well-being
  • Health care and health systems
  • Food and nutrition safety and security

Members of the Academy play a key role in shaping the public’s food choices, improving people’s nutritional status, and preventing and treating chronic disease. Working with policy leaders, MS-AND members can promote health and reduce the burden of chronic disease though nutrition services and interventions.

The current Academy Action Center is under construction. In January, MS-AND members will be able to access a new grassroots advocacy platform. It will offer easier action alerts, improved tracking of national legislation, and updated technology integration.

Currently, the U.S. House and Senate members are working on negotiations regarding appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2020 national budget. Because Congress was not able to complete actions to approve a fiscal year 2020 budget by the end of the 2019 fiscal year (September 30), they have been working under a Continuing Resolution that ends December 20, 2019. The Academy is working with allied organization or urge congress to approve fiscal year 2020 appropriation bills that support food, nutrition and dietetics. The Academy is looking for personal stories about how the following programs have helped Mississippians:

  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program
  • WIC Peer Breastfeeding Program
  • WIC Farmer’s Markets
  • USDA Agricultural or Nutrition Research programs
  • School Meal Programs
  • TEAM Nutrition
  • SNAP-Ed
  • Older American Act Programs (specifically congregate and home-delivered nutrition services, preventive health services, chronic disease self-management programs)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (especially REACH, HOP and SPAN grants and Community Preventive Services Task Force)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Please contact Lydia West ( if you have stories to share about any of these programs, or if you have any questions or concerns.

In January, look for a social media campaign about these health funding priorities on our Facebook page (@MSANandD) in January and follow #InvestInNutrition.

MS-AND members can look forward to an exciting year in public policy!

Improving Health in the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian Communities

The Choctaw Health Center Public Health Services (CHCPHS) is leading the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) in an evaluation of the health of tribal members and the community. Over the past two years, an inaugural Community Health Assessment was conducted in the nine sites of MBCI: (1) Red Water, (2) Standing Pine, (3) Tucker (4) Crystal Ridge, (5) Henning (TN), (6) Pearl River, (7) Bogue Chitto, (8) Bogue Homa, (9) Conehatta.

On December 12, 2019, members of MBCI and statewide partners discussed the work that has been completed as well as themes and strengths gathered from community members’ opinions of their health from work by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The majority of the day focused on external forces and trends that have an impact on the health of the Choctaw people and the ability to address the health concerns. The group discussed Forces of Change in the Choctaw communities in the following categories:

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Legal/ethical
  • Medical/scientific
  • Political
  • Social
  • Spirituality
  • Technological

If you would like to be involved in future CHSPHS Community Health Assessments, please contact Durnene Farmer, MPH ( or Denise John, BSN, RN ( at the Choctaw Health Center Public Health Services 601-389-4114

Delegate Report

This feels like a very monumental month for us as nutrition professionals: we are at the end of a great year and about to embark on a new decade. Mississippi held statewide elections last month and we have new leaders in many parts of our state government. There are significant changes happening in government on a national level as well. I am really looking forward to this next year and next decade.

As your MS-AND Delegates to the Academy House of Delegates (HOD), I have continued to participate in the HOD Community of Interest online discussions. I have also taken part in the Academy’s Legislative and Government Affairs Child Nutrition Reauthorization webinar updates  and Public Policy Team quarterly webinars. On the November Policy and Advocacy Training, “Advocacy Beyond Action Alerts webinar, we learned that in-person issues visits from constitutions and individualized email messaged have the most positive influence on congress people. MS-AND will be calling on our members in the new year to help us reach out to our state and national senators and representatives.

I was invited to present to the December Delta State University Student Dietetics Association meeting. We talked about many of the projects MS-AND is working on, as well as the HOD mega topics of Technology/Big Data and the Total Diet Approach.

I look forward to the updated Academy Grassroots Advocacy platform that will be released next month. Stay tuned to MS-AND for information about how to access the updated platform. Also, if you have personal or professional stories about any of the programs listed in the Public Policy Panel article, please let me know (

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to talk about any of this information in more detail.


Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD, CC
MS-AND Affiliate Delegate


Food, Nutrition, Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Continuing Education for Mississippi Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

The State of Mississippi is often the butt of jokes about obesity and this has spurred many initiatives across the decades to reduce the waistlines of Mississippians. There is ALWAYS a campaign of some sort to reduce obesity including the “Let’s Move” campaign which was embraced by the state and saw significant gains up to the current Obesity Initiative under Governor Phil Bryant which is an overall approach designed to affect obesity in the state.  However, except for specialized diets prescribed for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, many of our States’ residents never see or hear from a registered dietitian nutritionist. Certainly, no one even thinks of seeing the registered dietitian nutritionist when they feel depressed, and that must change.

Most people believe registered dietitian nutritionists to be fanatical about weight loss, clean eating, intense exercise, and depriving one of all the good things Mississippi has to eat. The Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI) seeks to help registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition and dietetics technician, registered across our state foster increased awareness and understanding of the role of the registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition and dietetics technician, registered and how food can be part of the cure for depression, anxiety and a host of other mental and physical issues such as the effect of nutrition on infants born to mothers with substance abuse issues.

MSPHI offers a variety of continuing education opportunities for health professionals.  Our Domains of Work include Public Health and Mental Health Practices, Maternal and Infant Health, Chronic Disease and Community Health. MSPHI understands health is more than physical and the approach must be inclusive.   To learn more please visit the Mississippi Behavioral Health Learning Network; to see our catalog of courses and schedule your training today!   MSPHI can also design training for your organization or discipline upon request and offers on-site trainings for your convenience.  The fee for CE’s is a mere $25.00 because health should be accessible to all including the health professional seeking enhanced knowledge and skills.   Contact MSPHI for more information: (601) 398-4406 (phone) (email) (website).

Mississippi Public Health Institute (MSPHI) was created in 2011, as a not-for-profit 501(c)-3 corporation.  The mission of MSPHI is to engage in partnerships and activities that improve Mississippi’s health”.  This is accomplished by developing and maintaining organizational relationships and trust, utilizing innovative strategies, mastering multi-sector data as a management tool and incorporating process and outcome evaluation as integral components of MSPHI work.  In other words, MSPHI understands a comprehensive approach to public health must be utilized in order to improve overall obesity rates and health in our State.  MSPHI’S approach to public health is aligned with the Governor’s Obesity Action Plan which calls for participation across four domains; Government, Communities, Healthcare workers and coalitions.

Member Spotlight:

Jacinda B. Roach, PhD, RD, LDN

Madison, MS

The Mississippi Public Health Institute 

What do you like most about your position?
I like to work on projects in a variety of areas, which include areas that are not related to nutrition. It never gets boring and I have learned a lot about the field of public health.

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?
I like writing stories for children and that has led me to publish 2 children’s books.

What is your favorite place to visit in Mississippi and why?
I love to visit the MS Museum of Art because it highlights the work of artists from MS and their incredible talent. I could go there every day.