Overview of House of Delegates

Topics covered on this page:

Who Makes Up the House of Delegates?

The House of Delegates (HOD) includes a total number of 105 delegates:

  • 6 House Leadership Team Members (HLT) — includes the Speaker, Speaker-elect, and immediate Past-Speaker, and 3 HOD Directors, elected by membership. They are also members of the Academy Board of Directors (BOD).
  • 67 Affiliate Delegates — elected by members of the 53 affiliate dietetic associations.
  • 25 Dietetic Practice Group Delegates — elected by DPG membership and represent the specific DPG from which they are elected/appointed.
  • 7 At-Large Delegates
    • one delegate representing NDEP (elected by NDEP members)
    • one delegate representing student members (appointed by the Academy President-elect and Speaker-elect)
    • one delegate representing NDTRs (elected by Academy members),
    • one delegate representing retired members (elected by Academy members)
    • one delegate representing members under 30 years of age (elected by Academy members).
    • *one delegate representing ACEND (appointed by ACEND)
    • *one delegate representing CDR (appointed by CDR)

*Non-voting delegates

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Governing the Profession

The Academy’s House of Delegates is the deliberative body acting as the voice of members, which governs the profession and informs policy on major professional issues.

To govern the profession, the House of Delegates engages in the following activities:

  • Monitors and evaluates trends affecting the profession
  • Monitors member issues and mega issues, and the resulting actions
  • Reviews, debates, and approves standards of practice and standards for professional performance for the RDN and NDTR
  • Establishes the size and structure of the House of Delegates
  • In collaboration with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), adopts and revises a code of ethics for nutrition and dietetics practitioners, disciplinary procedures for unethical conduct, and reinstatement conditions
  • Provides recommendations on standards, qualifications, and other issues related to credentialing to the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Provides recommendations on accreditation and related issues to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)
  • Provides direction for quality management in nutrition and dietetics practice
  • Identifies issues and develops positions
  • Provides oversight to Academy Bylaws
  • Assists with recruitment and retention efforts related to Academy membership andleadership development

View the Governing Structure Infographic for a visual representation of the differences of the Academy Board of Directors and the House of Delegates.

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House of Delegates Core Functions

The House Leadership Team, made up of the Speaker, Past Speaker, Speaker-elect and three Directors, develop and implement program goals of the House based on the following HOD Core Functions:

The following core functions help to guide delegates to understand their roles to meet the needs of members:

Member Focus

  • Represent and advocate member issues impacting the profession
  • Identify and respond to member needs related to marketplace demands

Information Systems/Communications

  • Assess and manage change and communicate to proactively position the profession for the future
  • Provide delegates with regular communications related to HOD and Academy activities
  • Information on HOD and Academy activities available on member only website and HOD Communications Platform
  • Assess, recommend and/or develop information systems to support core functions of HOD

Strategic Thinking/Visioning

  • Develop annual objectives for HOD and HLT to govern the profession and support the Strategic Plan
  • Provide input and direction to the Strategic Plan
  • Identify, prioritize and evaluate trends
  • Receive updates on the status of the Strategic Plan
  • Conduct routine oversight of usual HOD activities that impact the profession, member services and/or HOD
  • Participate in the visioning process for future practice and education as conducted by the Council on Future Practice

New Products/Services Development

  • Assess current products/services as related to governing the profession for continuation, improvement and/or discontinuation
  • Develop and maintain systems to forecast the viability and sustainability of products and services
  • Identify and investigate new products and services

Governance (Processes for Governing the Profession)

  • Establish the size and structure of the HOD
  • Monitor member issues, mega issues and resulting actions
  • Monitor outcomes of HOD motions
  • Provide oversight to the Academy and affiliate bylaws

Professional Leadership

  • Position and educate members for leadership opportunities within the Academy and in their professional practice settings
  • Identify leaders (current and emerging) within the Academy in collaboration with delegates (affiliate, DPG Delegate, at-large), affiliate leaders, DPG and MIG leaders and the Nominating Committee
  • Assist with recruitment and retention efforts related to leadership development

Recommending Policy for the Profession

  • Review, deliberate, and recommend policy and strategic direction for practice, education, and research
  • Provide direction for quality management in dietetics practice
  • Review, debate and approve professional standards
  • Make recommendations for standards of education and standards of practice
  • Adopt and revise with the Commission on Dietetic Registration the Code of Ethics for dietetics practitioners, disciplinary procedures for unethical conduct, and reinstatement conditions
  • Make recommendations on standards, qualifications, and other issues related to credentialing to the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Make recommendations on accreditation, approval, and related issues to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Identify issues and develop positions


  • Promote the economic value and welfare of the dietetics professional
  • Debate and approve membership dues and the formula for dues payment to affiliate associations (per Academy Bylaws)
  • Provide input and direction to BOD regarding the Academy budget planning process based upon work conducted by HOD
  • Receive financial updates including the annual report

Public Policy

  • Support activities within Public Policy Action Plan at affiliate or DPG level
  • Support the affiliate Public Policy Panel (PPP) or the DPG Policy and Advocacy Leader (PAL)
  • Request funds from affiliate or DPG to attend Public Policy Workshop
  • Encourage constituents to respond to Grassroots Action Alerts

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"Representation Of" and "Representation For"

“Representative Of” Model — Used by Academy HOD “Representative For” Model

• Delegate discusses the positive, the negative and the new idea with other delegates at the meeting

• Delegates are presenting the positive, negative and any new ideas

• Allows all delegates to hear trends in positive and negative comments and to consider the new ideas

• Delegates then consider what they have learned in the discussion

• May decide to vote for the new idea because of other information shared at the meeting

• Delegate only discusses the major opinion

• Only regarding the feedback and votes

• Delegate is only thinking of the voice of majority of feedback received

• Needs of minority is not considered in solutions

• Approach to issues is unilateral, not thinking the big picture

Serving in the Academy's House of Delegates (HOD) requires serving in a role that may be new for many member leaders. Many organizations, including the Academy's HOD, have moved from a "representative for" to a "representative of" model of operation. To be an effective delegate requires understanding and ability to communicate to members with the distinction between these types of roles.

Leaders that embody the "representative of" perspective take a holistic approach towards addressing views, beliefs, values, and self-interests of fellow constituencies in meetings. These elected leaders participate in a collective dialogue that collaborates with the perspectives of other constituencies. These leaders are open minded and understand the entire issue so they can make decisions based on the best interests of the profession.

Leaders that embody the "representative for" perspective see themselves as the elected representatives of a specific constituency that they represent. They voice and act solely on the self-interests of their constituency, and vote only on behalf of their constituency's interests.

Elected leaders who are part of national governance bodies (i.e. board of directors) have a clear understanding of this distinction. Effective leaders in the HOD represent the best interests of the profession.

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