This year’s presentations:

Precision Nutrition – Recent Advances and Controversies in Genetic Testing – Ahmed El-Sohemy PhD

There is increasing awareness among researchers, educators, healthcare professionals and consumers that the one-size-fits-all, population-based approach to nutritional guidance is inefficient and sometimes ineffective. Genetic differences can explain some of these different responses and randomized controlled trials show that giving DNA-based dietary advice can be superior to population-based recommendations for improving compliance. With increasing consumer awareness and demand for genetic testing, there is a need for registered dietitian nutritionists to have sufficient knowledge to understand the science behind these tests, and determine the benefits and limitations of both the science and the testing.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how genetic variation impacts nutritional requirements.
  2. Learn how to identify relevant genetic markers with clinical relevance.
  3. Recognize the benefits and limitations of consumer genetic testing and understand what genetic tests can and cannot reveal about a person’s health and dietary recommendations.

Let’s Talk Public Policy: Advocating for Academy Food, Nutrition, and Health Priorities – Matthew J. Landry, PhD, RDN, FAND, FAHA

Navigating the complexities of public policy can be daunting, especially for those eager to contribute but unsure of where to begin. Matthew Landry, the Chair of the Academy’s Legislative and Public Policy Committee will share updates on academy policy priorities, challenges and opportunities for advocacy, and how LAND members can get involved in advocacy at the state and federal level. Learn how members of the Academy work with policy leaders at every level of government to promote health and reduce the burden of chronic disease through nutrition services and interventions through 4 priority areas: well-being and prevention, nutrition security and food safety, nutrition care and health systems, and diversity and inclusion. By highlighting examples and success stories over the past year, attendees will be inspired to engage in meaningful actions that drive positive change in food, nutrition, and health policies. Whether you’re an established dietitian advocate or a passionate dietetics student or intern, this session offers a unique opportunity to join forces and champion the Academy’s crucial policy objectives. Let’s create a healthier, more sustainable future together!

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to articulate the Academy’s current food, nutrition, and health policy priorities.
  2. Participants will be able to apply effective strategies when engaging with policymakers at the state and federal levels.
  3. Participants will be empowered to actively participate in advocacy efforts to collectively advance the Academy’s policy objectives and promote positive change in food, nutrition, and health policies.

On the Menu: Evidence-Based Recommendations Concerning Nutrition for People with Spinal Cord Injuries – Justin Batchelder, RDN, MS

Physiological changes from spinal cord injury may directly, or indirectly, impact dietary intake whilst these changes partially determine nutrient needs. People with SCI may also face social, financial, or physical barriers that create additional challenges for achieving optimal nutrition status. We will learn how various forms of spinal cord injury present themselves. We will begin to understand how secondary health complications influence what those with SCI might eat. We will learn about the most up-to-date nutritional recommendations for spinal cord injury and how to work with this population to provide realistic and effective guidance and nutrition support.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Compare the energy and macronutrient needs of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) with those without SCI.
  2. Explain some approaches for preventing neurogenic obesity in persons with SCI.
  3. Describe nutritional strategies that prevent secondary health complications for someone with SCI.

Funding for the Disabilities MIG Affiliate Speaker Grant Program was provided by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). NCHPAD is a public health practice center providing inclusive health promotion programs and resources for people with disabilities. NCHPAD is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), Division of Human Development and Disability, Disability and Health Promotion Branch, Grant #NU27DD000022.

Ethics in your Private Practice – Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

Running a private practice is very different than working in a clinical setting. In a private practice, you build relationships with your clientele so that they feel safe and comfortable with you. It is critical that you maintain the highest ethical standards in serving your diverse clients with the greatest integrity and respect. Establishing ethical guidelines provides a standard for professionalism and conduct to protect your clients. The dietitians in the private practice must have commendable knowledge on the topics of each client’s concern and should be able to cite scientific research. It is also important that the Registered Dietitians know about Non-disclosure Agreements, the Affordable Care Act and are aware of insurance policies, coding, and charting. Learn how to establish a successful and respected private practice.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how to follow the Code of Ethics.
  2. Understand why it is critical to honor and respect cultural differences.
  3. Understand why it is essential to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to create a legal framework to protect confidential information.
  4. Understand why it is important that Registered Dietitians have knowledge about insurance policies, coding, and charting, and perform functions related to these aspects accurately


The Connection Between Animal Proteins and Why We Eat the Foods We Do – Kristen Hicks-Roof, PhD, RD, LD, CLC, FAND

People make food choices based on many different reasons including personal preferences, nutrient density, cultural influences, health, cost, sustainability and more. Specifically, what is the role of animal proteins to meet the wants and needs of Americans. Animal proteins, including pork, provide high-quality nutrition and there is a lot of contention about their role in your diet. This presentation will provide you with research on the role of animal proteins from a nutrition perspective and consumer selection perspective.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify at least 3 key factors influencing Americans’ food choices related to animal proteins.
  2. Differentiate between various animal proteins in terms of their nutritional value and nutritional benefits across the lifespan.
  3. Evaluate the role of animal proteins in a sustainable and health-conscious dietary pattern.


Fiesta of Facts: Pediatric Diabetes in Black and Hispanic Community – Andie Lee Gonzalez PhD, MPH, RDN, LD, FAND; Moises Arjona, Jr, MS; Ana Maria Paez

Pediatric diabetes is a serious nutrition concern for our Hispanic and Black youth. Diabetes has serious complications that can impact overall health, adequate growth and development and quality of life. While continued efforts address diabetes in children, current studies suggest that the number of youth younger than age 20 living with type 2 diabetes increased by a staggering 95%.1 In addition Hispanic and Black youth are at greater risk for pediatric diabetes. Early on-set of pediatric diabetes increase risk for complications, comorbidities, and excess mortality, particularly those from racial and ethnic minority groups.2,3 Consequently, more awareness, screening, intervention and programs are needed to support and delay pediatric diabetes.4 Our panel of experts will discuss pediatric diabetes prevalence, nutrition indicators on disease state, intervention and treatment strategies, and clinical applications to help support our Hispanic and Black youth.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the prevalence and identification of pediatric diabetes in Hispanic and Black youth
  2. Identify pediatric diabetes screening, assessment, treatment to address pediatric diabetes in Hispanic and Black youth 
  3. Discuss best practices for interprofessional collaboration, existing resources and opportunities  


Delivering Culturally Appropriate Care: Exercising Cultural Humility in Practice – Melinda Boyd, DCN, MPH, MHR, RD, FAND

This presentation will cover the basic principles of providing culturally appropriate care, specifically for those who are from backgrounds that differ from their patients or clients. Providing care that is inclusive of their beliefs and values while honoring cultural food preferences can help improve health outcomes. In turn, this can help minimize health disparities as patients may be more trusting of providers who look different from them if they, at the very least, honor and respect their culture when providing interventions. This presentation will provide skill building for individuals looking to be more respectful in their care, including asking questions in a way that honors the patient and helps establish trust, thus paving the way to cultural humility. Lastly, this presentation will offer ways for dietitians to become more involved in the diverse communities of their own communities to help learn about the cultures their patients represent.

Learning objectives:

  1. Identify ways to personally develop cultural humility
  2. Develop strategies to implement culturally appropriate care in their own practice
  3. Understand how to incorporate a patient’s cultural beliefs into evidence-based practice

Incorporating therapeutic treatment modalities into nutrition sessions for clients with eating disorders – Ava Conrad, MS, RDN, LDN & Mandie Tracy, LCSW

Research shows that around 30 million people in the U.S. will meet criteria for at least one eating disorder in their lifetime and the prevalence is rising. This presentation will help provide registered dietitians with the knowledge of best practices for the treatment of eating disorders across the lifecycle. The utilization of therapeutic treatment modalities is essential in providing the best nutritional care and rehabilitation for these clients. RD, Ava Conrad, and LCSW, Mandie Tracy, will share each of their perspectives and how they utilize different therapeutic modalities to provide collaborative care.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the application of therapeutic modalities between the therapist versus the dietitian role
  2. Describe strategies that provide best practice in treating eating disorders.
  3. Participants will learn therapeutic interventions to better assist their clients in their nutritional recovery.


Tweet, Snap, Post, Share: Professional Practice in Social Media – Drew Hemler, MSc, RD, CDN, FAND

Social media is a viable marketing strategy for dietitians to build an online audience, engage with digital communities, support public health, promote services, and demonstrate expertise. Even on virtual platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and the like, dietitians are bound to ethical & professional practice. Thus, online activities should be carefully considered and through a lens of context & care.

Attend this session to ensure content creation & community engagement align with protecting the public and strengthening the RDN/NDTR reputation. Common dilemmas in nutrition communications will be critically evaluated. *This session meets the 1.0 Ethics credit requirement set forth by the CDR.

Session Learning Objectives: After attending the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Apply three (3) Standards of Professionalism in order to approach content development & community engagement through a professional practice lens.
  2. Identify three (3) common instances of unethical practice on social media, among dietetic practitioners, in order to help avoid breaching the Academy’s Code of Ethics.
  3. Develop content & engage in social media activity with context & care in order to protect the public and the preserve the dietetic practitioner’s reputation.
  4. Locate relative educational resources.