President’s Message

It’s May and as with every year, May means the end of another MS-AND year. When I think back on the last 12 months, wow, we’ve been through it haven’t we? We’ve had to be flexible, learn to pivot, learn to show grace, learn to accept grace, find our new normal and well, learn how to show up for our clients and each other when it’s just tough! One thing I know about Mississippi Dietitans, we are made of the toughest of stuff.

I want to thank our MS-AND Board for walking along side me during this year. Thank you for your work you’ve done for the organization this year. 

Heather White

Congratulations Awardees!

Congratulations are in order for some very impressive members!  We hope you enjoy reading about our 2021 MSAND Award Winners.

Doris Schneider – Outstanding Dietitian of the Year

Doris Schneider RD has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s from Michigan State University and completed a dietetic internship at the University of Chicago Hospitals.  She was a staff dietitian and a director of Dietetics in hospitals in New York and Louisiana and a consultant dietitian for hospitals and nursing homes in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Doris joined the Office of Child Nutrition Programs with the Mississippi Department of Education as a program specialist and later became the Division Director of Training. She has worked with school district child nutrition staff to improve the nutrition of MS school children for over 30 years.   In retirement, she has continued to contract with Child Nutrition Programs and serves as Executive Secretary for the MS School Nutrition Association.  Doris has been an Active Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 56 years and a Registered Dietitian for 51 years.

Holly Huye – Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award

Dr. Holly Huye is an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Nutrition at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Since 2008, she has taught 15 different courses and 7 labs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Dr. Huye is an ACUE-credentialed educator and incorporates a variety of innovative active learning techniques in her courses. Additionally, she has mentored 19 undergraduate and graduate students in their research. Since 2016, she has served as the program director for the Southern Miss DPD. She has also served as an ACEND program reviewer for 3 consecutive terms, for a total of 9 years. Dr. Huye’s research focus is in health disparities with a focus on community-engaged nutrition intervention addressing obesity prevention. She is currently serving as USM’s director of the Community Engagement and Outreach Core for the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Samantha Willcutt

Samantha spent the first part of her career in the restaurant industry where she developed a passion for food and nutrition. She returned to Mississippi State University a few years ago to complete a Master’s in Nutrition and a dietetic internship. In 2016 she began working for Mississippi State University Extension in the Office of Nutrition Education. Sam is still enjoying that position as a Regional Registered Dietitian providing guidance to and working with Nutrition Educators and Community Wellness Planner Agents in Northeast Mississippi. These educators and agents work with schools and communities through two federally funded programs, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed. Sam works with educators, agents, and partners in Northeast Mississippi to provide nutrition education programs and assist with Policy, Systems, and Environmental strategies that focus on making the healthy choice the easy choice.

Chelsey Lawrick -Outstanding Dietetics Student Award, DPD

Chelsey Lawrick is from Olive Branch, MS and began her academic journey at the University of Mississippi in 2013. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in the Spring of 2017. After a few months of working at a community mental health facility in Memphis, TN, she knew that she wanted to do more to help people. She re-enrolled at the University of Mississippi to take some pre-requisite courses for health-related fields at which time she decided that she wanted to be a registered dietitian. She is now enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi finishing her senior year in the nutrition and dietetic program. She has been accepted to the University of Southern Mississippi graduate school and dietetic internship which will begin this Fall. She looks forward to her future and the impact that she can make on the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Blake Daly – Outstanding Dietetics Student Award, Dietetic Internship

Blake Daly, originally from San Diego, California, earned his bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is currently in the process of completing the Master’s Required Dietetic Internship at his alma mater. In his spare time, Blake enjoys playing and watching sports and exercising. One day, he hopes to become a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


Maggie Larsen – Outstanding Dietetics Student Award, Coordinated Program


Maggie Larsen attended the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Maggie is currently completing her master’s degree and internship through the Coordinated Program at the University of Mississippi.




Diversity and Inclusion Update from The Academy

The Academy Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan has been approved by the Academy Board of Directors. The Impact Goals of this plan are:

  • Establish infrastructure and resources to achieve optimal and sustainable IDEA outcomes
  • Increase recruitment, retention and completion of nutrition and dietetics education and leadership at all levels for underrepresented groups
  • Cultivate organizational and professional values of equity, respect, civility and anti-discrimination
  • Advance food and nutrition research, policy and practice through a holistic IDEA lens

As Mary Lee Chin, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair said, “The Academy is its members. The D & I committee appreciates how you voiced your concerns. It is now up to all of us to do our part, to continue the work to make a significant impact in diversity and inclusion and bring it forward in the Academy.”

Please check out the amazing resources on the Academy’s Diversity and Inclusion website:, including articles, grants and awards, research and studies, and recorded sessions.

Marie AK Allsopp, previous profession at Mississippi State University, was awarded the first Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship from the Academy Foundation. The Foundation, designed the Fellowship to build on the work of the Academy Board of Directors’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee to identify and find solutions to barriers that face students, registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
The 2021-2023 Diversity and Inclusion Leaders are Rabiya Dharsi-Bower, Tess Nguyen, Sofia Sanchez, and Florence Uruakpa.

May 31, 2021 is the Last Day 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

Double Up Mississippi

Jackson Medical Mall Foundation’s Double Up Food Bucks Mississippi (Double Up) program increases the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by doubling their dollars for more fresh produce at participating locations. The program also supports local farmers, grocery stores and the local economy by increasing produce sales. “Double Up is a creative solution that improves healthy food access for families who need it most while providing real economic benefits for local farmers and small business owners,” said Erin W. Smith, Double Up program director in Mississippi. “Programs like this can bolster local and regional food systems and help contribute to their long-term presence.”  

In just one program year, the  Double Up Mississippi program has tripled per their geographical footprint across the state by expanding into 17 new locations and reaching 13 new counties across the state.  With mobile routes included, Double Up is now being offered at 29 locations across 21 counties.  

This program offers a variety of incentive firm types ranging from farm direct and mobile market sites to farmers markets, produce stands, five grocery store locations, and one entire grocery store chain, Mississippi’s own, Vowell’s Marketplace/Cash Saver by Vowells. 

Food retailers that work with Double Up use tokens, electronic couponing, or paper-based coupons.  Visit for more information and to see all the locations participating up in Double Up Food Bucks Mississippi.

As the program continues to blaze new trails, the staff always prioritizes their mission to bring access and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income Mississippians, while researching and applying new innovative solutions.  

In year two of the program, with essential partners in place, Double Up plans on comprehensively build out an on-line presence for SNAP recipients to utilize at participating locations, as well as customize a grocery delivery pathway into hard to reach communities across our state.  

Take Action Today to Support Healthy School Meals For All

Good nutrition and strong academic outcomes are inextricably linked. On the other hand, nutrition insecurity can have a long-lasting negative impact on overall health and put children at higher risk for chronic diseases. Investing in school nutrition programs and our nation’s children is critical to help establish life-long healthy eating habits.  The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 would permanently provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to all school children regardless of income, eliminate school meal debt and strengthen local economies by incentivizing local food procurement. Take action today and urge your member of Congress to invest in strong nutrition for our nation’s children.

Do You Have 2 Minutes to Support Medical Nutrition Therapy Expansion?


The importance of strong nutrition has been in the spotlight over the past year, with COVID-19 patients experiencing poorer health outcomes if they had one or more chronic condition. Long-standing health disparities have then led to many racial and ethnic minority populations being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Expanding access to medical nutrition therapy is one part of the solution – and the swift passage of the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act is essential. Take action today to add your support!  One of the original bill sponsors, Rep. Robin Kelly (Ill.), was interviewed recently on MSNBC and highlighted the importance of the MNT Act. Read her remarks here.

PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act Introduced in the House

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The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act would expand the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law by ensuring an additional 9 million employees have the right to break time and a private space to pump breast milk and ensuring that breast-feeding employees have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the FLSA if an employer does not provide break time and a private space. This bill was introduced last week with bipartisan support by U.S. Reps. Maloney (N.Y.), Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Herrera-Beutler (Wash.) and Roybal-Allard (Calif.) and Black Maternal Health Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Underwood (Ill.) and Adams (N.C.). Click here to take the USBC’s action alert.

Academy Affinity Groups

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The Academy convens affinity groups to connect members with an interest, experience and/or expertise in a specific policy issue area with opportunities to learn more and advocate. Affinity groups are open to all policy leaders and Academy members. Here’s when and how when you can join upcoming affinity group meetings: 

  • Licensure Initiatives
    Next Meeting: Friday, May 21 from ​4-5 p.m. (Eastern Time) Register here
    Affinity group meets: Third Friday of the month from 4-5 p.m. (Eastern Time)
  • Health Equity and Diversity Affinity Group
    Next Meeting: Friday, May 28​ from 2-3 p.m. (Eastern Time) Register here
    Affinity group meets: Last Friday of the month from 2-3 p.m. (Eastern Time​)
  • Nutrition Security Affinity Group
    Next meeting: Wednesday, June 2, from 4-5 p.m. (Eastern Time). Register here
    Affinity group meets: First Wednesday of the month from 4-5 p.m. (Eastern Time)
  • Maternal Child Health Affinity Group
    Next Meeting: Thursday, June 3 from 1-2 p.m. (Eastern Time) Register here
    Affinity group meets: First Thursday of the month from 1-2 p.m. (Eastern Time)
  • MNT Affinity Group
    Coming soon!​ Stay tuned to PPWN for more information.

​Additional affinity groups may be added in the future based on interest areas and Academy priorities. To be the first to hear about upcoming affinity groups you may be interested in, complete the Member Policy Interest Survey located on the Academy’s Action Center. For any questions, contact 

Live and Virtual: Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Hands-On Training Workshop

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The Academy’s live, virtual NFPE training provides RDNs with the skills, techniques and expert guidance to accurately provide a nutrition diagnosis of malnutrition. Over 90% of participants reported increased knowledge and comfort with performing the assessment following the workshop. Upcoming dates: adult workshops on June 14 to 15, June 24 to 25 and July 12 and 13; pediatric workshop on July 8 and 9. Ten CPEUs are available for each workshop. Learn More

Do you want to Present at FNCE?

Have you conducted research in nutrition and dietetics, or have a unique program or project you would like to feature? Consider presenting your original research at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™. Abstracts will be accepted for peer review through May 31 and acceptance notifications will be emailed in July. Learn More

New Tools from the Academy: Increase RDNs’ Recognition and Coverage for Services

To increase registered dietitian nutritionists’ recognition and coverage for medical nutrition therapy and other services provided by RDNs, the key to success is to deliver a message that resonates with your audience. The Academy offers seven new flyers to customize your message to key audiences, including:

Learn More 

Did you know that JAND has a Podcast?

Tune in through iTunes or Google Play to hear Linda Snetselaar, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND, editor of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, discuss current research with registered dietitians across the U.S. Each podcast is less than 25 minutes. Click here to see a list of archived podcasts:

Sports Nutrition Volunteer Program

Before, during, and after practice and game time, University of Mississippi athletes rely on sports nutrition staff to keep them properly fueled and hydrated to maximize their performance. Behind the scenes, members of the Sports Nutrition Volunteer Program make sure delicious and nutritious snacks are ready to eat and water and Gatorade are readily available…

Read More

Delegate Report

The Academy House of Delegates (HOD) had our third and final meeting for this fiscal year on Saturday, May 1, 2021. The theme for the meeting was “A Culture of Positive Behaviors to Increase Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)”. House Leadership Team established the goal for this meeting:  to engage in conversation that will lead the Academy HOD to action that permeates and advances the profession. The Critical Issue Question for this meeting was “How does the Academy promote a Culture of Positive Behaviors to Increase Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)?”. This meeting was held virtually.

Although Mississippi is usually in Power of Delegate Support (PODS) 6, I was asked to serve as a table facilitator for POD 4.  It was an honor to serve as a table facilitator, and have the opportunity to learn from the nutrition professionals in POD 4. Each Table discussed microaggressions, the HOD Core Values and Guiding Principles, and effective strategies the HOD can implement to support Affiliates/DPGs/ACEND/CDR/NDEP in adopting or evaluating their own Core Values/Guiding Principles in order to advance IDEA.

Mary Lee Chin, the Academy’s Diversity and Inclusion Chair, reviewed the goals of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (see Diversity and Inclusion article for a full list of the goals). She also reviewed the Action Plan of the Committee. They will use responsive listening and pro-active listening to restore trust and establish structure, accountability, transparency, as well as a robust feedback mechanism.

Lauri Wright, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, closed out the meeting. She reminded us of the theme of nutrition and health equity that was threaded through this year’s trainings and meetings. As the voice of MS-AND to The Academy, this Delegate position will continue to identify and develop solutions to challenges that face our profession. The 2021-2022 House of Delegates Meetings will be September 17th and 18th, 2021, January 22, 2022, and April 23, 2022. You can learn more about the Academy’s House of Delegates here:

The POD 6 May meeting will be held May 25, 2021. We will re-cap the year and set plans for the 2021-2022 House of Delegates fiscal year.


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