President’s Message

It’s Annual Conference time!!  We are excited about 2 mornings PACKED with great speakers and even better education. In the next section of the newsletter you’ll find the agenda and link to sign up. Go ahead, sign up now! We’d love to have you.


Heather White


MS-AND 2021 Annual Conference: The Diverse Field of Dietetics


The conference will be held virtually on Thursday, March 25th and Friday, March 26th from 8:00am to 1:00pm. By attending you are eligible to earn up to 8 CEU’s during the two-day virtual event.

Registration is now open! Click here to register today!
Note: Non-member students will need to email to register.

Please see the agenda for the meeting below.


Email with any questions!
Visit our website for the latest conference information. Link to conference page:

Pictured (L-R) Lydia West, Rebecca Garrison – Executive Director of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation, Barry Plunkett – coordinator of Healthy Ways, Brighter Days, Elena Dent (everyone in the picture was vaccinated and following current CDC recommendations)

Jackson RDNs celebrate National Nutrition Month and help Jacksonians “Personalize Your Plate”

The Fondren Neighborhood in Jackson is focusing on residents’ total well-being with the goal of being stronger, smarter and ready to embrace brighter days ahead called “Healthy Ways, Brighter Days”.

MS-AND members Elena Dent, PhD, CDCES, RDN, LD and Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD are helping to support this initiative by contributing videos for the Fondren Newsletter. During National Nutrition Month, these two members did a video walk-through a local grocery store to highlight National Nutrition Month theme of “Personalize Your Plate” in March (–grab-your-umbrella-today-.html?soid=1103873591396&aid=e88-Fr0Djeg). To learn more about “Healthy Ways, Brighter Days” click here: and to subscribe to the newsletter click here : If you would like to be a part of “Healthy Ways, Brighter Days” please email Lydia West at

Don’t Forget to Renew your Licensure!

The Mississippi State Department of Health, Division of Professional Licensure will waive all continuing education requirements for the 2021 dietetic licensure renewal. Also, the renewal period will be extended an additional sixty (60) days, it will be open until May 31, 2021. Anyone renewing after the extended renewal date will be closed and assessed the late fee of $200.00. For additional information, please call 601-364-7360 or email

New Action Alert: Stop Sequester Cuts to Medicare Payments

If Congress does not act, RDNs and other Medicare providers will have their Part B payment rates cut by 2% starting April 1. The Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act (H.R. 315) would provide relief from these cuts for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please urge your Representatives to co-sponsor this legislation and support its swift passage.

There are also additional Action Alerts. If you have not filled those out PLEASE send in Action Alerts to:

  • Tell Congress to prioritize nutrition funding today!
  • Support Diversity in Nutrition and Dietetics in Allied Health Professions
  • Expand MNT for Eating Disorders in Medicare
  • Support Medicare Coverage of IBT for Obesity by RDNs

 Click here to Take Action today!

Register today for Healthy People 2030/Diabetes Advocacy Alliance Webinar

On Tuesday, March 23 from 1-2 p.m. (Eastern Time), the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance is hosting a webinar to explore the challenges and solutions to addressing Healthy People 2030 diabetes objectives during the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar will highlight:

  • The Healthy People 2030 initiative and its diabetes related objectives
  • Perspectives on COVID-19 related policies that could impact diabetes work
  • Implementation of a state engagement model to address diabetes prevention at the state and local levels.

Featured speakers include representatives from the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the Washington State Department of Health. Register for the webinar here.

Student Members: Apply Today to Serve on the ANDPAC Board of Directors

Are you a student or do you know a student interested in getting more involved with ANDPAC and the Academy’s policy efforts? Apply today to serve as the Student Representative on the ANDPAC Board of Directors. Applicants must be a current ANDPAC donor of any amount. To learn more and to apply, click here. Applications must be received by Friday, April 2. If you have any questions, please contact

Have you Joined the 2021 Eat Right Advocacy Challenge?

Hey MS-AND Members! The 2021 Eat Right Advocacy Challenge more than halfway complete! This fun challenge is a friendly competition among affiliates, DPGs and MIGs to encourage ANDPAC engagement and support the Academy’s policy efforts. Affiliate, DPG and MIG members can help their membership organizations win this year’s challenge and receive special recognition by making a donation to ANDPAC, March 1-31. 

There will be four winners for the month-long challenge:

  • Highest percentage of members that donate: (1) affiliate winner and (1) DPG/MIG winner
  • Highest average per member donation: (1) affiliate winner and (1) DPG/MIG winner

The winning affiliate and DPG/MIG in each category will receive:

  • ANDPAC acknowledgement at FNCE®
  • Recognition in PPWN and Eat Right Weekly
  • Virtual Eat Right Advocacy Day
  • Personalized coaching with Academy staff to prepare for the virtual advocacy day
  • Mentoring and guidance during meetings with congressional leaders

Click here to learn more about ANDPAC and donate today:

MS School Nutrition Professionals Storm the Hill…Virtually

The School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference (LAC), similar to the Academy’s Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit, took place March 8-10, 2021. Several MS-AND members participated in this events to learn about valuable legislative and advocacy updates, as well as attend high-quality education sessions. The theme of this year’s virtual LAC was “The Power of One. The Impact of Many.”

Participants were also able to meet with national senators and representatives to inform them about the importance of universal free meals, emergency financial relief for school meal programs, the preservation of current levels of USDA Foods entitlements and State Administration Expense funds, and the reduction of regulatory and administrative burdens.  

The Mississippi delegation was able to meet with Representative Michael Guest, as well as staff members of Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Representative Trent Kelly, and Senator Roger Wicker. All of the visits were very well received and the congressional members and their staff asked very pertinent follow up questions. Because the visits were scheduled for the day the latest stimulus bill was being voted upon, the meeting with Representative Bennie Thompson had to be rescheduled.

The Mississippi delegation at the virtual Hill visits included [top to bottom, L-R] Doris  Schneider (MS-AND member and MSNA Executive Secretary), Keba Laird (MS-AND member), Armer Moore, Alex Hallmark, Pam Kirby, Chuck Ainsworth, Valerie Weivoda, Ashley Harris, Pat Allen, Corey Ainsworth, and Lydia West.

Mississippi Food Network Hosts Dietetic Interns from USM

The Mississippi Food Network hosts Dietetic Interns from the University of Southern Mississippi for their Food Bank Rotation, with our staff Dietitian, serving as their preceptor. During their time with us, the interns learn how the different areas of the food bank work together to feed hungry Mississippians. They learn about procurement and warehousing, funding, compliance, programs and much more. They are able to meet the people we serve and share their message of healthy eating with so many. We are so grateful for our partnership with the USM Dietetic Internship and enjoy sharing our mission and our passion with them.

Mississippi Food Network’s Record Year in 2020

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. Mississippi Food Network and our partners were no exception. When the pandemic crisis began the food bank was impacted by staff shortages as well as a tremendous request for food.
One of the challenges was how to serve our communities but keep our staff and clients safe. The demand for food was unlike any we have ever experienced. Fortunately, MFN had the food and the partners had the means and willingness to get food to their families in need.

With the loss of volunteers many partners initially closed but as the crisis went on and the need grew, many opened back up with modified distribution practices, even with the lack of volunteers and increase in client families. As MFN’s CEO, Dr. Charles Beady put it, the partner agencies “leaned into” the work and got it done.

Many people and organizations came together and helped provide meals for students that were impacted by school closures. This was done with generous donors and people willing to lend a hand where needed. This involved some “out of the box thinking” and willingness to work with the limited resources available.

There were many highs and lows. MFN as well as our partner agencies have lost so many friends and family members to this virus. The void left with their loss will be felt for many years to come but the legacy of their passion and service will sustain us.

The staff of Mississippi Food Network, working with our community partners, was able to distribute over 42 million pounds of food. This translates to 35 million meals provided to families in need! We have found, even in the midst of the chaos caused by the pandemic, people want to help and will rise to the occasion and for that we are thankful.


To learn more about how you can help and be a part of Mississippi Food Network’s mission of feeding the hungry, visit or call 601-973-7086 and speak to Director of External Affairs, Kelly Mott; or email her at


Like us on Facebook!

If you haven’t “liked” and “followed” our Facebook page, please find us at @MSANandD. We’d love to hear from more of you!

Delegate Report

Hello everyone!

I hope that you are all doing well and staying healthy.

I am looking forward to the 2021 MS-AND Conference on March 25 and 26. President-elect Lindsey Mixon and the Conference Planning Committee have been working hard and I think its such a great theme this year “The Diverse Field of Dietetics”. You can still register here: . I look forward to sharing the February 13 Hose of Delegates Meeting Recap with you during the Annual Business Meeting  as well as VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) during conference.

Our final  House of Delegates meeting for this fiscal year will be held virtually on May 1, 2021. The topic will be “A Culture of Positive Behaviors to Increase Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) and a Recap of 2020-2021 Year”

I look forward to seeing you (at least virtually) at the annual MS-AND conference. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns (


Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD, Delegate
Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics