Promoting the Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) as the food, nutrition and health expert is a major goal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy). Some of the programs used to achieve the goal include the importance of enhancing the use of science-based knowledge, outreach to the community with programs focused on optimizing health, and networking with other health professionals to showcase the profession’s food and nutrition expertise.
Research at the Academy is a major priority as seen by the development and support of the Evidence Analysis Library (EAL) and the Nutrition Care Process and Standardized Language (NCP-SL). The Research team has recently expanded its focus to become a global resource for the profession of dietetics and nutrition. The EAL is enhancing its content and updating existing topics with 24 projects in progress ranging from vegetarian nutrition, spinal cord injury, and advance technology in food production. The NCP-SL group is working collaboratively with partners from HL7, international representatives, and research to ensure the International Dietetics Nutrition Terminology is accessible, valid and representative of differing countries and cultures.
Another Academy initiative, the Dietitian Practice-Based Research Network (DPRN) has doubled in size over the past six months and is taking on relevant projects such as a hospital staffing study, validation of malnutrition characteristics, and working with breast cancer survivors. A new clinical data warehouse, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Health Informatics Infrastructure – ANDHII, has been developed to assist clinicians both nationally and internationally in data collection and aggregation for local quality improvement projects and multicenter research studies. This work, in addition to the support provided to the Academy’s position paper process, will increase publications and literature that will enhance and support the dietetics practitioner’s expertise. The recent Academy positions on “Functional Foods” published in August, 2013 and “The Role of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention” published in July, 2013 are examples of the collaboration between research and practice professionals. These positions are available on the Academy’s website, www.eatright.org
Strengthening the Academy’s outreach to the global community, the international affiliate the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA) with over 1000 members in 70 countries has been collaborating on a number of international nutrition projects. AODA has come to an agreement with the organizers of the 6th Asian Congress of Dietetics and is coordinating educational sessions to be presented by AODA and Academy members. They also will be collaborating with the Turkish Dietetic Association on a joint educational event, which is planned and will be held in Turkey during 2014. Recently AODA leaders and Academy Research team members attended the International Union of Nutrition Sciences (IUNS) conference in Granada, Spain to expand their international networks.
IUNS attendees (L--R), Alison Steiber, Academy Research Team, Stephanie Meyer, AODA, Erin Boyd Kappelhof, AODA, Paula Ziegler, Academy Research Team, Glenna McCollum, Academy President
AODA also has been coordinating Kids Eat Right (KER) International. The activities of this project are consistent with the US national campaign www.eatright.org/kids
in striving to support public education and programs that address childhood overweight and obesity while providing members with resources that are international in scope. Some AODA members have received mini-grants to support the use of KER presentations; examples include Charmain Tan, Hong Kong, who translated the “Family Meals: Anytime, Anyplace” toolkit into Chinese and presented it to audiences in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Vicky Tijerina Walls, Mexico, presented the “Healthy Breakfast Everywhere You Go,” toolkit to elementary school children. Through future funding AODA plans to provide members with more opportunities like these, as well as additional promotional materials adapted to language and culture.
The Academy looks forward to networking with international visitors and exhibitors at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, October 18-21, 2014.
Sylvia Escott-Stump, MA, RD, LDN
US Representative for ICDA
Dietetic Internship Director
East Carolina University