Exhibit at Dittrick Museum of Medical History Spotlights Academy's First Century

April 19, 2017

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917. To commemorate the Academy's centennial, a new exhibit at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History at Case Western Reserve University vividly depicts the Academy's century of bringing nutrition and health to the public, in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The exhibit, "Celebrating the Centennial of the Dietetics Profession in America: 100 Years of Optimizing Health through Food and Nutrition," will run from May 1 to 22. The exhibit includes original photographs, archives and commemorative items documenting the organization's first century.

The Academy's Foundation provided a grant to Greater Cleveland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to create the exhibit, which also includes materials depicting the history of the dietetics profession in Cleveland and Ohio.

"In 1917, a group of courageous women gathered in Cleveland with a powerful vision," said Lucille Beseler, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the Academy's 2016-2017 President. "Dedicated to addressing the leading health challenges of the day during World War I – conserving food at home and feeding the troops abroad – these dietitians created an organization and a profession that changed the course of nutrition and health."

The new organization was named the American Dietetic Association, and had 38 charter members. Renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012, the organization today has more than 75,000 members in every state and in dozens of countries, working across the food and health spectrum in hospitals, foodservice, education, business, wellness, agriculture and private practice.

"With our members and allied health professionals, the Academy has spent the last century improving the nation's health through research, education and advocacy," Beseler said. "To this day, we continue to build upon the legacy of our inspirational founders."

The Academy's Centennial celebration is an important part of the organization's Second Century initiative.

"Nutrition is a science," Beseler said, "not a fad or a way for celebrities to sell diet books. The Academy educates individuals and communities while creating a world where people and communities flourish because of the transformational power of food and nutrition. Registered dietitian nutritionists improve lives every day, by helping individuals with chronic disease manage their disease with nutrition – services that are often covered by their insurance."

More information on the Academy's centennial is available on the history timeline page. Details on the Academy's Second Century initiative are on Foundation website.


All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.