President’s Message

President’s Letter

Hello everyone,

Thank you to each of you for the hard work, for your dedication to our profession, and your membership with the Academy. It has been a pleasure to serve as the 2022-2023 president of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I have enjoyed working with the board of directors and other volunteers. Our organization has been in a period of growth, and I know this year’s volunteers have continued this progress. 

The Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had many accomplishments over this fiscal year:

  • Held regional meetings across the state,
  • Co-hosted a virtual symposium on weight management in coordination with the Louisiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
  • Several members of MS-AND attended FNCE, presented posters at that conference, and we held a reception for Mississippians at FNCE,
  • Convened a Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit with the Mississippi Public Health Association and the Center for Mississippi Health Policy that included virtual and in person components,
  • Met with the governor as he declared March to be National Nutrition Month in Mississippi,
  • Held a successful annual conference in Oxford, MS that integrated a variety of speakers, a poster session that included professional and student posters, an awards ceremony, yoga, and time for networking,
  • The diet manual manager worked with reviewers to update three sections and one sub-section of the diet manual

I am pleased to welcome in my friend, Ellen Ossorio, as the 2023-2024 President of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She will take on that role in June. During the next year please be on the lookout for more advocacy opportunities, another virtual symposium: “Conquering Chronic Disease” on August 11 in coordination with the Louisiana and Alabama affiliates, regional education and social opportunities, and our 2024 annual conference in Hattiesburg, MS on February 29 and March 1. The affiliate was also awarded a 2023 Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Diversity mini-grant from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, so you will also see additional work as we expand in these areas.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the handle @EatRightMS and on LinkedIn under the account of “Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”. We post many updates, professional development information, as well as general information. 

I look forward as I move into the role of past president and hope to see many of you at our up coming events.

Have a wonderful summer!

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

Congratulations, Elise Smith!

Congratulations to Elise Smith MA, RDN, LD, FAND. The Academy Board of Directors selected her as a recipient of the 2023 Medallion Award. We know are so proud of her and all of her achievements. The award will be presented to Ms. Smith at a special Honors Breakfast on Sunday, October 8, at 7 a.m. at the 2023 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE®) in Denver, Co. If you are at FNCE, please consider the awards ceremony and if you see Elise, tell her “congratulations”.

Don’t forget to renew your membership before the end of May!

If you have not already renewed your membership for the 2023-2024 year, don’t forget to do that before the end of this month. There are so many benefits to being a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and selecting Mississippi as your affiliate. Click here for information on all of those benefits, as well as a information to use to Talk to Your Employer about Paying your Academy Dues.

Membership for Active Members is only $0.71 cents a day, $0.16 a day for students, $0.32 for retired members, and $0.53 cents a day for Associate Members.

New RDs, don’t forget about the Career Starter Dues Program. This program offers reduced dues rates for members in their first five years of Active category membership eligibility. Dues increase incrementally each year for up to five years to help you get established in the profession. The Career Starter Dues Program allows you to renew your Academy membership at a significantly reduced rate, giving you the financial flexibility and time to learn how to take advantage of the various services the Academy offers.

We have a lot of great things planned for the coming year, and you are going to want to be a part of it!

MS-AND Election

Vote today through May 30, 2023 for the MS-AND Board of Directors. Click below to vote today.

Save the Date

MS-AND is working with the Louisiana and Alabama affiliates of the Academy to host a virtual symposium on August 11, 2023: “Conquering Chronic Disease”. Look for more information soon. Registration information will be sent out through all of our communication channels.


The Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was awarded a 2023 Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access mini-grant from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. We will use these for the Deepening our Roots, Spreading our Branches project. This will include reaching out to high school students to let them know about the fields of food, nutrition, and dietetics as career options; work with other health related organizations to educate about food cultures in Mississippi; and work to ensure that these concepts are interwoven into plans and implementation of our educational offerings.

May Board Meeting

The final board meeting of the 2023-2024 fiscal year was held at G. A. Carmichael Family Health Center in Canton today. We were able to have a tour of the facility, meet with staff members and administrators, as well as have a productive business meeting. The event concluded with a transition meeting to recognize board members who have served over the year, as well as those who are rolling up into new roles.

In person attendees included Lindsay Mixon (Past President), Lydia West (President), Ellen Ossorio (President-elect), Kyskie Bolton (Public Policy Coordinator), Allison Watson (Secretary), Rebecca Butz (Professional Development Chair-elect). Virtual attendees were Teresa Carithers (Delegate), Teresa Walker-Cartwright (Nominating Committee Chair), and Jenna Moore (Diet Manual Manager). Guests James L. Coleman, Jr. Chief Executive Officer and Amanda Rice, Medical Director at G. A. Carmichael welcomed us at the beginning of the meeting.

Licensure Map Update for Academy Members

In response to member requests and suggestions for clarity, the Academy has updated the licensure map available on The improvements reflect a new, more judicious approach to the map to ensure members have the information necessary to practice lawfully. 

Over the past few years, questions regarding practice across state lines and telehealth have dominated the Academy’s weekly Licensure Office Hours, with many inquiries resulting from confusion regarding the map. The retired map featured colors that did not convey additional factors that increasingly require consideration, such as state telehealth laws, payer requirements, exemptions or exceptions, requirements of liability insurance or whether care constitutes medical treatment. 

Medical nutrition therapy is a medical treatment. Like other medical treatments provided by non-physician practitioners, registered dietitian nutritionists generally can practice MNT because of licensure and certification laws which provide authority for RDNs to provide this medical service. It is with this understanding the Academy strongly recommends, unless there is an applicable exception or exemption or a state does not provide for licensure or certification requirements, practitioners hold licensure or certification in all states where the practitioner’s clients or patients are located when services are provided. 

In addition to the map, the content that appears on this page should also be reviewed and considered collectively when using this resource to determine how a particular state approaches nutrition and dietetics regulation. This page addresses: pathways to licensure; exceptions/exemptions; temporary/provisional licensure; title protection without licensure or certification; and telehealth. Read more.

Join the Academy’s Affinity Groups! 


Get involved and connect with fellow Academy members to advocate for top policy priorities impacting our profession. The advocacy 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. Learn more and register here.

MSNA Leadership Seminar

The Mississippi School Nutrition Association (MSNA) is excited to announce online registration for our Leadership Seminar on June 15th, 2023 at Table 100 in Flowood, Mississippi is now open!  The theme is “The Social-Emotional Leadership Challenge” We would love for our MS-AND members to come join us and learn about various leadership topics and gain up to 2-3 CEUs. Please see the agenda below. We are excited our very own MS-AND member, Ashley Harris, will get installed as president of MSNA at this seminar! 

Check out our website and online registration at Also, save the date for Ashley’s MSNA Annual Conference on November 3-4 at the Golden Nugget in Biloxi, Mississippi!   We would love for MS-AND members to join us at our expo or education sessions, where you can gain up to 4-5 CEUs for attending.  What a great opportunity to share nutrition knowledge to our child nutrition employees of Mississippi!