Academy History

The Academy was conceptualized as the American Dietetic Association at a meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917, ultimately leading to its formal incorporation and first central office in Chicago. The Academy's founders were a visionary group of women — led by Lenna F. Cooper and the organization's first president, Lulu C. Graves — dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve the public's health and nutrition during World War I.

Over one hundred years later, the Academy remains strongly connected to its origins: committed to helping solve the greatest food and nutrition challenges of the day through the transformational power of nutrition. The Academy's 2017 Centennial created a road map that continues to advance the profession and set the stage for the Academy's strategic plan.

Honoring the Past

Discover more about the Academy as the organization organization heads into the next 100 years.

  • Who We Are: Representing more than 112,000 credentialed practitioners in the United States and abroad, the Academy is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.
  • What We Do: The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of nutrition and dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
  • Historical Timeline: Journey through the milestones in the Academy's history.

Celebrating the Present

Explore the Academy as we stand today — our members living out the mission and vision of the organization. Watch our members as they change the health of their communities through nutrition with numerous videos in our Multimedia News Center.