President’s Letter

March is upon us, and you know what that means—It’s Annual Conference time!!! This year’s agenda is packed with lots of great speakers and different topics for all practicing RDNs. Please visit MS-AND’s website for more information about the conference which is being held in Bay St Louis on March 24 & 25 at the Hollywood Casino. We’re planning a special evening on March 24th which includes cutting edge research abstracts and the 2022 MS-AND awards reception and a 75th year celebration. We can’t wait to see you there!!!


Take Care,
Lindsay Mixon

Play a part at Charting your Future at the 2022 MS-AND Annual Meeting

Join us at the 2022 MS-AND Annual Meeting March 23-24, 2022 at Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, MS. Registration is available online here. 

There will be two great general sessions, breakout sessions for clinical as well as public health/community health/food service disciplines, poster presentations, networking opportunities, plus it is the kick off to our 75th anniversary celebration! An application for 11 hours of continuing education has been submitted to the Commission on Dietetics Registration.

Our Early Bird Rate runs through March 6, 2022, and onsite registration will be available. MS-AND and Hollywood Casio are taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions and following MSDH and CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of conference attendees. At the current time, facial coverings are optional. 

A block of hotel rooms has been made a Hollywood Casino (711 Hollywood Blvd. Bay St. Louis, MS 39520) and The Inn at Long Beach (300 Beach Blvd W, Long Beach, MS 39560).

  • Hollywood Casino: The rates for March 23 and March 24 are $89.00/night for a King or Double Queen Non-Smoking and are subject to 7% Mississippi State tax and 2% occupancy tax. To make a reservation call the Group Reservation Number at 800-946-2442. Identify yourself as participants of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual conference (group code MAN0323) in order to receive the group rate.
  • The Inn at Long Beach: The rate for March 23 and March 24 is $126.00/night for a King or Queen non-smoking room and are subject to 7% Mississippi State tax and occupancy tax. To make a reservation call 228-338-2270 and identify yourself as a participant of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (or MS-AND conference) annual conference.

Please visit for more information.

President-elect Letter

Hello everyone!

Well, this year is trucking right along, I hope it has started out well for you. 

Registration is open for the 2022 MS-AND annual conference. You can click here for more information and a link to the registration:

Over the past month, I have met with our President, Lindsay Mixon, and our Executive Director, Rachel Kelleher, several times about plans for the rest of this fiscal year, as well as some plans for the next 18 months. Your MS-AND Board of Directors had a very successful board meeting on February 15, 2022 and we are also getting ready for the 2022-2023 year. Speaking of the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the Nominating Committee has released a call for the board positions that will be open: president-elect, professional development chair-elect, and nominating committee member. If you would like more information about these positions, please see the article below. We’ve got a lot of great things going, so please consider joining our team!

I hope to see you soon at the annual meeting, or at one of the upcoming regional meetings.

Thank you for all of your work. Take care and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.


Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD
MS-AND President Elect

MS-AND Call for Board Members

Now is your time to step up and advance our organization. The Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nominating Committee has an open call for 

  • President-elect – this position is elected for one year and at the end of this term, assumes the office of President. The President-Elect will support the president in leading the MS Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics towards its strategic direction and values, coordinates the annual meeting. This position also serves as Past President one year after serving the a year as president.
  • Professional Development Chair Direct – The Chair-Elect serves one year in the elect position and at the beginning of the following fiscal year after the election will automatically become the Chair of Professional Development. The responsibilities of the Chair position include: promote quality education programs, approve/deny requests for Continuing Education Units for association/groups within the State, and coordinate the Research Poster session at the Annual MS-AND conference.
  • Nominating Committee Member – serves on the nominating committee for three years (advancing from “member” to “chair-elect” to “chair” each year). This committee will designate candidates annually for offices who meet qualifications for the Board of Directors and submit a ballot to the executive director. This committee also gathers nominations for annual MS AND awards. 

The terms for the board positions begin on June 1, 2022. Please share this information with you dietitian networks and contact the Nominating Committee for more information: Chair, Karen Johnson – [email protected], Chair-elect, Teresa Cartwright – [email protected], and Committee Member, Edith Ezekwe – [email protected]

Call for Award Nominations

Nominate your fellow Mississippi dietitians for a 2022 MS-AND Award. 

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

 Visit and scroll down to the second half of the page to see a description of each award. 

Contact, Committee Chair, Karen Johnson – [email protected],
Committee Chair-elect, Teresa Cartwright – [email protected],
or Committee Member, Edith Ezekwe –
[email protected] for a nomination packet.

Inaugural Breastfeeding EXCELLENCE Conference

Mississippians are united around breastfeeding excellence and early nutrition for MomNBaby. We need YOU! 

Please join the College of Health Sciences, “A CEPH Accredited School of Public Health,” at Jackson State University (JSU) for the first Breastfeeding EXCELLENCE Conference on Thursday, February 17 , 2022 and Thursday, March 24, 2022. The virtual conferences are free. 

The conference is supported through funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

To register, click on the link here: registration

2022 Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit

Mississippi has five representatives to attend the 2022 Academy Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit January 25-27 with over 500 other food and nutrition professionals from across the country. This event sharpened communication skills, investigated key policy issues that impact the health of the nation and the dietetics profession, and developed new personal and professional relationships. This year’s summit focused on two of the Academy’s top policy and advocacy efforts: medical nutrition therapy expansion and child nutrition. 

MS-AND Public Policy Coordinator, Kyskie Bolton Sanders, lead meetings with Kirby Miller and Elizabeth Allegrezza, staff members in Senator Roger Wickers office, as well as Kendall Moore and Cady Cooper staff members in Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s office.  Other Mississippi attendees included  Lydia West, Ayanna Lynn, Jessica Mcgehee Gamble and Lauren Sanders.

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month® – an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, Celebrate a World of Flavors, embraces global cultures, cuisines and inclusivity, plus showcases the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists. DPG, MIGs and Affiliates are encouraged to help celebrate National Nutrition Month. 

Celebrate RDNs around the World

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day will be March 9, 2022. This recognition day started in 2009 as a way to honors how registered dietitian nutrition advance the nutrition status of people around the world.  As the nation’s food and nutrition experts, registered dietitian nutritionists are committed to improving the health of their patients, clients and communities. Celebrate the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDNs), nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered (NDTRs), dietetic interns, and students in the fields of food, nutrition and dietetics on March 9 and throughout all of National Nutrition Month. Click here to learn more.

February is Black History Month


Established in 1926 by Black historian Carter G. Woodson to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history. In addition to learning about Black dietitians’ contributions to the nutrition and dietetics profession — such as Joncier Greene, MS, RDSolona C. McDonald, RDLenora Moragne, PhD, MS, RD and Sarah Wilder, PhD, RD — here are five ways we all can celebrate Black History Month.

MS-AND Delegate Report 

The House of Delegates (HOD) held our Winter meeting on Saturday, January 22, 2022 and really went forward with a very thorough review of the Developing Collaborative – Ready Practitioners.  It was good to have survey data from many of you to help me represent your interests …thank you for completing the survey sent out prior to the meeting.  The House Leadership Team (HLT) is planning to get feedback on a proposed bylaws change in Associate Membership which will add two additional disciplines.  Once they gather clarification and develop a rationale for implications of this change there will be a period for the membership to give input.   The Spring meeting will focus on “volunteerism” and “COVID-19” implications for our profession.  I know you can agree that both of these are critical issues that we all have the need to learn more about. 

The “Transforming the HOD Workbook Task Force Recommendations” were sent forward and the HLT sent out a HOD Experience/Skill Database Survey to all delegates to gather the level of expertise and willingness to work on individual sections to help expedite addressing the changes needed.  They also plan to include subject matter experts and member participation as well. Our POD has been discussing changes needed in how information is communicated from the HLT and from the HOD to our memberships.  Oh my!  What a diverse group of perspectives has evolved. 

There have been some affiliates who have utilized “think tanks” to help determine key issues and impact of HOD decisions that may come forward to the delegates.  I’m really excited to form this important diverse group to help provide perspective on key topics that we may need to evaluate in the future. I am so looking forward to interacting with you at the conference and hope you will send me any critical issues or new innovative ideas you feel the HODs should send consider.  Leaving you with great expectations! 

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

Seeking Members’ Comments: Proposed Bylaws Amendment:  

Article II Members, Section 7b Associate Member Qualifications by Saturday March 26

Hello MS-AND Members:

The Member and Student Advisory Committee (MSAC) is proposing an amendment to the organization’s Bylaws that would allow associate member eligibility for those with degrees in public health and public policy. You should consider and comment on the proposed additions of individuals with a degree in public health or public policy for eligibility as Associate members. Let me know if you support the proposed changes by completing this survey. The member comment survey is open from Wednesday, February 9, 2022, through Saturday March 26, 2022.

Teresa Carithers, PhD, RD, LD, FAND

CAND 31022

Senior Nutrition Program Celebrates 50 Years This March

The national Senior Nutrition Program supports nutrition services for older adults across the United States. Funded by the Older Americans Act, local senior nutrition programs serve as hubs for older adults to access nutritious meals and other vital services that strengthen social connections and promote health and wellbeing. In recognition of this important program turning 50 years old next month, the Administration for Community Living is launching a campaign to help raise awareness of the impact of the program. To learn more and get involved, click here

Have You Joined the ACT now for MNT Campaign?

Passage of the recently introduced Medical Nutrition Therapy Act would be a win-win for our profession and our communities – practitioners would receive more opportunities for reimbursement while also addressing the gap in care for seniors in the United States who only have access to MNT for diabetes and renal disease, a crucial step needed to achieve health equity for racial and ethnic minority populations. Please join the ACT now for MNT campaign if you have not yet done so! Once you have taken action, use the official ACT now for MNT campaign’s social media toolkit to spread the word!

Team Nutrition Meal Talk: School Breakfast Webinar on March 9

USDA is hosting a new webinar series, “Meal Talk Webinars,” which will provide interactive trainings on hot topics related to school meals. FNS regional offices, state agencies, school food authorities and others who may be interested are invited to participate. The first webinar in this series will focus on school breakfast and will be held on Wednesday, March 9 from 3-4 p.m. (Eastern Time) and will be recorded and available on the Team Nutrition website. A recorded version of the webinar will be emailed to all registrants. To learn more and to register for the March 9 webinar, click here.

Registration Open: 2022 Virtual National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference


Join thousands of your fellow anti-hunger advocates for two days of content-rich sessions and networking opportunities, followed by a virtual day on Capitol Hill. Attendees will gain access to best practices, innovative advocacy methods and personal connections to help you better fight hunger in your community, your state and at the national level. FRAC and Feeding America will offer scholarships to cover the 2022 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference’s full registration fee. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is February 18. Scholarship applicants should register for the conference as a “Scholarship Applicant.” You will be asked to answer a few short questions regarding your work and interest in the conference. Applicants will be notified whether or not they have been awarded a scholarship at a later date. Click here to learn more and to register.

Continue Your Academy Benefits into 2022-2023: Renew Your Membership

You can renew your Academy membership for the June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023, membership year, and renew or add dietetic practice groups, member interest groups and other Academy groups. Sign in to your account on the Academy’s website or call the Member Service Center at 800/877-1600, ext. 5000 (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time). International callers can call +1-312/899-0040, ext. 5000. If you prefer to submit your dues by check, watch your mail for printed renewal materials in mid-April, or print an invoice after signing in to your account. To make payment easier, the Academy has an installment payment option. By starting earlier, you can make smaller payments spread over more time. Call the Member Service Center to enroll.

Four Months Free!

Recruit Academy Members – Special Promotion

This is the perfect time to recruit Academy members. New and rejoining members can start their Academy membership now and continue them through May 31, 2023 – that’s up to 16 months of membership. Refer applicants to: Use promo code AFF23 to waive the $25 application fee for nonmembers who join (fee only for Active, Associate and International).

Join the Academy’s Affinity Groups


Get involved and connect with fellow Academy members to advocate for top policy priorities impacting our profession. The Academy’s affinity groups meet once a month and are a forum-based event where staff, policy leaders and members discuss Academy advocacy priorities and strategies, share their experience and determine how they can become involved in advocating. The groups include:

  • MNT Expansion Affinity Group
  • Nutrition Security Affinity Group
  • Maternal and Child Health Affinity Group
  • Licensure Initiatives Affinity Group 
  • Health Equity and Diversity Affinity Group

Learn more and register for the meetings hereFor any questions, contact [email protected].

The Academy Met with CMS to Advocate for Further Improvements in Medicare Part B MNT Benefit

In a recent meeting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Academy staff, together with National Kidney Foundation representatives, urged CMS to improve access to care for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Specifically, the Academy asked CMS to expand MNT eligibility to include all stages of non-dialysis dependent kidney disease, allow MNT referrals for diabetes based on HbA1c, and clarify several items around referrals for MNT. These requests echo prior Academy comments on the CY22 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule, and we hope this meeting will inform changes to the CY23 proposed rule that will be released this summer.

International Volunteer Opportunity

The Academy’s Nutrition Care Process Research Outcomes (NCPRO) Committee is seeking volunteers to join the International NCPRO Subcommittee.  This subcommittee provides international expertise and advice to the NCPRO Committee for maintenance and continuing development of the Nutrition Care Process Terminology (NCPT). The International Workgroup promotes and contributes to make the NCPT useful internationally. Click here to learn more.

Academy Position on Prevention of Pediatric Overweight and Obesity

A new, evidence-based Position Paper examines the crucial role of registered dietitian nutritionists in providing interventions to prevent pediatric overweight and obesity.  Learn more about current research and its application to practice at:

EAL: Call for Content Reviewers

The Evidence Analysis Center is accepting applications from experts:

  • Content Advisors: Energy Expenditure for Critically Ill
  • Patient/Consumer Advocate: Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 (Pediatrics)
  • Guideline Reviewer: Malnutrition in Older Adults, Saturated Fat and CVD Risk Factors

The EAL Saturated Fat and CVD Risk Factors Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline is in the final stages of development. An important step in the process is a review of the guideline by experts in this particular field. The review is scheduled to start in mid-February. 

Learn more:

NQF Virtual Healthcare Quality Issue Brief

The Academy participated as part of the National Quality Forum (NQF) Action Team on Virtual Healthcare Quality. As a culmination of the Action Team work, NQF hosted a January 26, 2022 capstone webinar to overview the final Issue Brief and highlight how diverse healthcare stakeholders can evaluate, improve, and sustain virtual healthcare quality beyond the current public health emergency.

Board Spotlights

Allie Watkins, RD, LD

City: Cleveland

Workplace: Delta Health The Medical Center

Position with MS-AND Board of Directors: Secretary

Tell us what your position is responsible for, and what you like most about it:

I take the minutes at each meeting. I enjoy connecting with other dietitians throughout the state!

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

I love spending time with family and friends. Being outdoors, by the ocean, and traveling are some of my favorite activities.

What is your favorite place to visit in Mississippi and why?

I loved visiting Ocean Springs. It has great food, good shopping, and provides plenty of options for exploring!

Board Spotlights

Valerie Weivoda, MS, RD, LD, SNS

City: Tupelo

Workplace: Lee County School District

Position with MS-AND Board of Directors:NE Region Coordinator

Tell us what your position is responsible for, and what you like most about it:

My position is responsible for organizing regional meetings and communicating with region members.

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

I love to cook. I cook dinner at least three times weekly and try at least one new recipe every two weeks. My husband is my guinea pig, and luckily, he’s a good sport!

What is your favorite place to visit in Mississippi and why?

My favorite place to visit in Mississippi is the coast! My husband and I love the beach! I have several friends living on the coast that also work in Child Nutrition who we love to visit.