President-elect Letter

Happy December everyone,

As this year winds down, I hope that you are all able to take a moment or two to reflect on these past 12 months. I know it has been full of emotion and hard work; there were a lot of joys and high points too.

The corona virus changed the way that we all do work, as well as we interact with our friends, families, and others in our communities. Many of you have new professional responsibilities, new people with whom you work, and new ways of doing things. I’d image we are all a little more familiar with technology than we were a year ago too (and we thought we were “good” with technology at the end of 2020!) . Your patients, clients, and customers have made many adjustments too.

I look forward to all the possibilities that 2022 can bring for each of us. If possible, take some time while we have longer nights to think about what parts of yourself you’d like to leave behind in this darkness and, as we move past the shortest day of the year into longer days, which parts of yourself you would like to be renewed and bring with you into the new year.

There are many great articles in this month’s newsletter. It is full of information from our members, as well as The Academy.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns (

Take care of yourself and Happy New Year!

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

Call for Awards Nominations

The nominating committee will begin seeking nominations for the upcoming awards. There are educational as well as prestige awards. Additionally, we will be looking for nominations for various MS-AND board positions. Please be thinking of those students, educators, and colleagues that you would like to see win these awards or serve in board positions. If you would like to get the process started early please request a packet from with me at, Teresa Cartwright at, or Edith Ezekwe at  

Delegate’s Message 

The HOD had a wonderful town hall meeting and are really trying to hear from both the delegates and the membership.  We had a great discussion on how hard it is to communicate with everyone effectively due to the many diverse communication platforms all of us use.  We also began to think strategically in how to be able to track the progress and outcomes of all the critical issues the HOD provides input on after it moves on to other workgroups or the Board, etc.  Some feel that have information overload and some feel they don’t get enough information.  We had a very lively discussion and I came away seeing that knowing the procedural process that ACEND uses is helpful but we do need  efficient mechanisms to provide useful information to all our members.    I mentioned Collaborative Ready Practice last month but I’ve put some additional information that helps really highlight how important this will be for all nutrition professionals.   It is a very timely topic and if you would like to offer you thoughts, applications, or comments, please just send me an email:

For those of us who have been around awhile, I’m also including information on some changes that ACEND has made in the name of some awards and encouraging you to consider nominating MS RDNs who meet the criteria.  

Developing Collaborative-Ready Practitioners 

The House of Delegates (HOD) will be addressing the Critical Issue question “How do we develop collaborative-ready practitioners across all practice areas?” 

What is meant by “collaborative-ready practitioner” and “collaborative practice”? The following definitions come from the World Health Organization’s 2010 Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice. While this definition focuses on health care, it can apply to all practice areas. All RDNs/NDTRs can benefit from collaborative efforts to achieve a shared goal. Participation in interprofessional teams can expand the influence and reach of the Academy and its members.

  • Collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, careers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. It allows health workers to engage any individual whose skills can help achieve local health goals.
  • A collaborative practice-ready health worker is someone who has learned how to work in an interprofessional team and is competent to do so.
  • Interprofessional education is a necessary step in preparing a “collaborative practice-ready” health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs.  

Take Action: Tell Congress to Stop Cuts to Medicare MNT Payment Rates

Medicare is facing three separate cuts that will collectively result in a devastating 9.75% cut to ALL Medicare Part B provider payment rates starting January 1, 2022, if Congress does not act. 

Thanks to advocacy by the Academy and a large coalition of other provider associations, the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 (H.R. 6020) has been introduced to eliminate one of these three cuts. The bill would extend the 3.75% payment adjustment enacted for 2021 through the end of 2022, giving Congress time to develop a permanent solution to this recurring problem. 

  • Please urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2021 to stop harmful cuts to RDN payment rates. Take action today! 

Academy Awards and Honors

Nominations for Academy Honors and Awards opened December 1, 2021. For more information visit

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics honors individuals who have advanced the profession, have exhibited leadership and have shown devotion to serving others in both nutrition and dietetics, as well as allied fields. To intensify the focus and amplify the contribution and value of members in the evolving landscape of the nutrition and dietetics profession, two Academy member awards will be renamed to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the award recipients, rather than the award namesakes. As part of the Academy’s commitment to its vision and mission, the Board of Directors requested new name recommendations from the Honors Committee for the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award, now the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture Award, now the Distinguished Lecture Award. 

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award, formerly known as the Copher Award, is the highest honor the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics bestows on one of its members. The Award honors an Academy member who has contributed to the profession through extensive, active participation and service to the profession of nutrition and dietetics, both within and outside of the Academy. The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award is someone whose unique contributions have created new opportunities for registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered; inspired others to take on leadership roles; and promoted the Academy’s mission, vision and goals.
  • The Distinguished Lecture Award honors an Academy member who has been recognized as a notable and inspiring speaker. The member chosen to deliver the Distinguished Lecture Award, formerly known as the Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture Award, is an experienced speaker with the ability to communicate expert knowledge to a broad audience, as well as a dedicated Academy member whose unique experiences and contributions to the profession make them a role model in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Until next time…I’ll leave you with….Great Expectations!   

Teresa Carithers, PhD, RDN, LD FAND

MS-AND Delegate

Academy Leadership Institute 

The new Leadership Institute (LI) is a comprehensive professional development program designed to help current and future leaders in nutrition, health and wellness develop leadership, communication and career development skills including executive presence, project management and decision making to interpersonal communication, strategic planning and team building. Through a combination of self-directed study, in-person training, networking opportunities, small group projects and virtual learning, participants will gain hands-on experience to become more effective leaders.

This leadership program walks participants through a multi-faceted approach to leadership that fosters and deepens professional relationships while helping advance and elevate the role of the RDN and NDTR. Additional emphasis is placed on the intersection of developing as a leader and all facets impacting both personal and professional experiences. The program is intended for high-potential members who are looking to advance their leadership skills and accelerate their career growth.

Program Overview

The Leadership Institute will span approximately seven months from selection to completion and will include live virtual programming, self-directed content and coaching and concludes at a face-to-face meeting prior to FNCE® 2022 in Orlando, Fla.

The program will be supplemented with:

  • 24/7 virtual learning platform
  • Curated advanced training in eight leadership topics resulting in a comprehensive Certificate of Training
  • Small group and individual coaching and mentoring
  • Opportunity to earn over 60 CPEUs*

Program Cost: $2,900 and includes:

  • Leadership Institute registration
  • FNCE® 2022 registration
  • Round trip domestic airfare for FNCE® and October 2022 meeting
  • Two nights, single room hotel stay live event and related meals


Click here to learn more:

Medicare Payment Cuts Mostly Averted 

Thanks to action taken by the Academy and its members, drastic cuts to Medicare payments for registered dietitians and other Medicare providers have been averted! On Friday, December 10, Congress passed the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act, and the bill was signed into law by President Biden. Click here to read more.  

Mississippi’s First Food Prescription Program for Kids

A Partnership between Amerigroup, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), and the Mississippi Food Network will help to close the food insecurity gap for Mississippi families. A $25,000 donation from Amerigroup to UMMC will help to establish Mississippi’s first food prescription program for children who receive care through Children’s of Mississippi (Mississippi’s only dedicated children’s hospital).

Pediatricians and other health care providers at Children’s will screen families for food insecurity to learn how many meals the children eat a day, what kinds of meals the children get, and what food is available to them on a regular basis. The care givers can then give the families a food prescription they can pick up from the UMMC EversCare food pantry (housed in the Jackson Medical Mall), a program of the UMMC John D. Bower School of Population Health. These foods will help to increase the children’s health and help them meet doctor’s orders. The UMMC EversCare Food Pantry will use Amerigroup donation and support from the Mississippi Food Network to keep foods in stock families fight childhood conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, and chronic diseases. Families who use the EversCare Food Pantry will also be able to learn more about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), as well as community resources related to housing, utilities, transportation, education, and employment.

A 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement recommended that pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity. Click here to learn more:

To learn more about Amerigroup Mississippi, visit

Nominations for 2022 Election

The Academy and Commission on Dietetic Registration Nominating Committees are pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the 2022 national ballot, chosen from many excellent nominees. Visit for a list of nominees.

As a reminder, the election will occur February 1 through February 15, 2022.

Indian Health Service

Increased funding for the Indian Health Service would help reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes. Last week, the Academy joined other organizations from the American Indian/Alaska Native Health Partners coalition on letters to Senate and House appropriations leaders requesting increased funding for IHS health professionals loan repayment, modernized medical equipment, and adoption of electronic health records. The letters also requested that IHS funding be allocated in advance to prevent the disruptions to care caused by government shutdowns and the short-term government funding bills that have become routine.

Register Today for the 2022 Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit!

Registration is now open for the 2022 Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit, taking place virtually January 25-27! This year’s summit will focus on two of the Academy’s top policy and advocacy efforts: medical nutrition therapy expansion and child nutrition. Several Mississippi dietitians, dietetic interns and students have signed up. Kyskie Bolton, MS-AND’s Public Policy Coordinator, will lead our 2022 team.

Learn more about this year’s event, register and view the scholarship opportunity available to student Academy members here. Scholarship applications are due Wednesday, December 15. At checkout, don’t forget to add the Policy and Advocacy Certificate of Training – an 8 CPEU value – for only $10!

NEW RESOURCE – Food as Medicine in Retail Settings: A Comprehensive Guide to Program Evaluation

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation has launched a new resource for registered dietitians – “Food as Medicine in Retail Setting: A Comprehensive Guide to Program Evaluation”. This evaluation guide serves as a roadmap for food retailers to adopt and implement proven evaluation techniques when planning Food as Medicine programs. Download your complimentary copy here.


Apply to Become an Academy National Media Spokesperson 

Are you frequently quoted in the media for your expertise in food and nutrition? If so, consider applying to join the Academy’s landmark volunteer media Spokesperson Program. Three-year spokesperson terms begin June 1, 2022. Openings are available in a number of geographical and practice specialty areas. The application deadline is February 4, 2022. Learn More

Register Today for the Webinar: Tackling Telehealth from Policy to Practice

In spring 2021, the Academy adopted a new stance on telehealth policy to guide advocacy for strong telehealth policies at the state and federal levels to enhance access to nutrition care. On Friday, January 7 from 1-2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), the Academy is hosting a webinar that will highlight the Academy’s telehealth policy stance and the Academy’s advocacy efforts. This event is complimentary for Academy members; attendees will receive 1.5 CPEU. Click here to register.

Add Your Support to the #ACTnowforMNT Campaign!

As nutrition experts, we need to use our voices toensure our communities have access to the care they need to live a long, healthy life. Please take a few minutes to join the Academy’s #ACTnowforMNT campaign, which is raising awareness and support for the passage of the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act. This bill would expand access to nutrition care, allow health care professionals to refer their patients for MNT and foster health equity. To learn more about the campaign and to add your support, click here.