President’s Message

Happy September! As I write this message, it’s a nice and bearable 86 degrees here in Mississippi. I don’t know about you but think I could deal with this for a little bit. This month, the Academy is raising awareness on malnutrition and promoting the crucial role you play in identifying and treating this condition. Malnutrition is a serious condition that must be addressed quickly and comprehensively. Throughout September the Academy has raised awareness of malnutrition and promote the crucial role of registered dietitian nutritionists in identifying and treating this condition. There are still webinar opportunities left in the month. Head over to to check out these great resources.

I want to give a special thanks to the former Consultant Dietitians in Healthcare Facilities (CDHCF) practice group. In the early 2000s, this group disbanded leaving a large sum of money in their operation reserves. I’m excited to announce that the former members of this group have graciously donated approximately $11,000 to our State affiliate to use for future leadership scholarships and education opportunities. THANK YOU!!

Heather White

Take Action through the Action Alert Today!

There are four Academy Action Alerts open right now. Act today to support these nutrition related legislative issues, just click here to get started: . Don’t forget that there is now an option for non-members (and non-registered dietitians) to use these Action Alerts.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended several flexibilities through December 31, 2020. These flexibilities need to be extended through the end of this school year. Please take the Action Alert to ask USDA to extend the flexibilities to the entire school year.
  • Please urge Congress to understand that access to healthy food and culturally-appropriate, medical nutrition therapy are key to managing diet-related diseases and reducing risk for COVID complications. Funding for these issues should be included funding for access to healthy food and MNT.
  • The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and The Academy have partnered to encourage Congress to provide $300 million in funding for minority serving institutions that would support allied health professions programs including nutrition and dietetics. In addition, we are requesting $10 million for nutrition and dietetics career outreach. Ask members of Congress to include this request in the FY21 appropriations bill though the Action Alert site.
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 (H.R. 6971/S. 4504), introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel and Pete King and Senators Susan Collins and Gary Peters, would expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in Medicare Part B beyond diabetes and renal disease to include: Prediabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, Malnutrition, Eating disorders, Cancer, Celiac disease, HIV/AIDS, and any disease related to unintentional weight loss. The MNT Act would also authorize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT.  Ask your senator and representative to support this bill today!

Member Policy Interest Survey is open until September 30

Are you passionate about a certain area of nutrition and dietetics? Do you want to get more involved in the Academy’s policy efforts? Then complete the Member Policy Interest Survey by Wednesday, September 30, just click here:

There is one survey for registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered and other professional members as well as a separate survey for Student Academy members.

September is Malnutrition Awareness Month


Throughout September the Academy is raising awareness of malnutrition and promoting the crucial role of registered dietitian nutritionists in identifying and treating this condition. There are weekly webinars through September 30th as well as Communications and Social Media Toolkits. Click here for more information.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an official ambassador of ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness Week, October 5-9.

Newly Released Report is our Call to Action

The Trust for America’s Health released their publication The State of Obesity 2020: Better Policies for a Healthier America earlier this month. It includes 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BFRSS) and the results indicate that the U.S. adult obesity rate stands at 42.4 percent. This is the first time the national rate has passed 40 percent. To see the report and Mississippi specific data, please visit:

The Academy is urging us to take action today by visiting the Academy’s Action Center and tell Congress to address some of these upstream drivers of obesity in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

Delegate Report

Happy Fall y’all!

One of the blessings of 2020 is that we are actually have fall weather! I hope that you are able to get outside and enjoy some of these cooler temperatures.

The fall is also a busy time for the Academy’s House of Delegates. We will have our fall meeting October 15th and 16th using WebEx. I am honored to serve as a table facilitator at this year’s House of Delegates meeting. I attended the training for the table facilitator on September 21 and I will attend an additional training on October 5th. The topic that we will discuss at the Fall House of Delegates meeting is “Systems Approach to Nutrition and Health Equity”. In previous years, the delegates have been asked to reach out to our members for input before the meeting. This year, I will reach out to you after the Fall House of Delegates Meeting. Please look for that communication in late October.

For the past couple of years, the delegates have been assigned to a HOD Power of Delegate Support (PODS) work group. This allows us to get to know some of the other delegates on a more personal level and it serves as a way to get support from other delegates. We are also able to get work done in these small groups. This year Mississippi is in POD 6, which includes delegates from Illinois, Kentucky, New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island as well as the Pediatric Nutrition, Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, and Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Dietetic Practice Groups. POD 6 met on August 25 and September 22 to review our responsibilities, discuss ways to identify leaders among our constituents and examine ways that we can communicate better with you.

On September 23, I attended the House of Delegates Communication Training. I was able to learn more from the members of POD 6 about tactics that they use to communicate with members of their affiliate or DPG and how they are working on solutions to some of the challenges facing the profession. I will present more information about this information soon.

Have you been reading the “MNT Providers” from the Academy? Click here for the latest issue. It includes information on the Joint Statement by the Academy and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) hospital inpatient billing for severe malnutrition, a list of important FNCE® 2020 Sessions you won’t want to miss, and more. For previous issues, click here. It is free for Academy members and $5.00 for non-members.

Please fill out the Action Alerts listed in the previous article and Member Policy Interest Survey by Wednesday, September 30, by clicking here.

As the MS-AND Delegate, I serve as your voice to the Academy. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. My email address is


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

Board Spotlight

Emmy Parkes MS, RDN, LD

City: Oxford, MS

Workplace: University of Mississippi

Position with MS-AND Board of Directors: Public Policy Coordinator

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

The Public Policy Coordinator works with the Academy’s Public Policy team, the MS-AND board, and MS-AND members to advocate for good nutrition policies at the local, state, and national levels. I’ll use this time to make a quick plug about MS-AND’s public policy team – we need you! If you are interested in helping with policy, contact me ( or Heather.

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

Reading a good book with a cat in my lap.

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

It’s so hard to just pick one! This “summer of quarantine” my husband and I have really enjoyed taking our inflatable kayaks to Sardis Lake. But I always love to visit my friends in Jackson, eat some Abe’s barbecue in Clarksdale or hang out on the beach at Ship Island. Mississippi has lots of beautiful places and some really awesome people!

Member Spotlight

Kathy Warwick RDN, LDN, CDCES

City: Madison, MS

Workplace: Owner of Professional Nutrition Consultants, LLC

What do you like most about your position? 

Working in many different practice settings keeps me challenged and always learning something new. I am especially fond of older adults and have enjoyed working in long term care for most of my career. Helping those living with diabetes better understand this complicated chronic condition and feel more confident in their self-management skills is always rewarding.

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

Yoga, art class, chickens, gardening, and now grand babies!

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

Our family has spent Thanksgiving together for nearly 30 years in the rustic cabins at Tishomingo State Park. This quiet beautiful setting is the perfect place to admire God’s creation, connect with family and focus on all the many blessings we have.