March 31, 2020
Thank for your all your amazing contributions during these unprecedented times. Together your energy, focus, knowledge, experience and dedication are making a difference in the lives of all as you work to develop and implement solutions during this time of greatest need.
Just as you listen and respond to the needs of our country, the Academy hears your needs and requests and to date the headquarters team has provided the following:
- Last week’s webinar “Providing Nutrition Services via Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which saw a live, virtual audience of 3,000 members, is now available as a recording with free CPE. The Academy also has added a new Telehealth Quick Guide to its resources on telehealth practice, technology and documentation, policy, regulation and payment. Resources include practice tips, case studies, ethics articles, laws and policies by state and CPT codes.
- The Academy launched a Coronavirus Professional Resource Hub for Practitioners on eatrightPRO.org that includes professional resources addressing preparedness, patient care and food safety and access, as well as a Q&A module for members and links to up-to-date Latest News. This professional resource complements the Coronavirus Resource Center for Consumers on eatright.org, featuring articles, infographics, social media messaging and videos related to staying healthy, food safety and more. There is also a Spanish-language version of the Resource Center, which efforts to expand multi-lingual options underway.
- Recognizing that the annual renewal cycle coincides with a time of uncertainty, the Academy has made several changes to deadlines, offered new payment options and opened an application for individuals experiencing financial hardship.
As COVID-19 continues to bring challenges, the headquarters team is here to listen to you. Your input is valued and welcomed as it informs the development of tools and benefits to support all members. You are the experts in food, nutrition and health—and each day make a difference in the lives and well-being of our country.
Be safe, be healthy while you take care of those you love and those you serve.
March 19, 2020
Dear nutrition and dietetics practitioners:
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has affected virtually every aspect of society on a global scale. This country's nutrition and dietetics practitioners are no exception, both in serving our patients and clients and as residents of our communities. Living in and serving one of the most susceptible populations, in one of the country's hardest-hit areas, my hope is that everyone will use reasonable and rational thinking to protect the greater good.
Times like these are when we often see the best in humanity, as many reach out to help others. In all cases, calm minds must prevail. Take care of those you love and those you serve. Respect and respond to those who protect you.
It's important for us to stay informed of updates and to reinforce to our patients and clients the importance of following the recommendations of local and federal government agencies. The Academy's website contains a wealth of information and resources, including links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization.
Along with you, the Academy is adjusting its operations due to the virus. From a public health perspective, it is wise and socially responsible for the Academy to do its part in reducing the pandemic's curve and easing the potential burden on the health care system. These measures are being taken as the Academy's senior staff closely monitor and methodically review developments. They include:
- The Academy's physical office locations in Chicago and Washington, D.C., will be closed until April 30 [Note: Updated from 3/30]. The Academy's robust telecommuting program ensures that our employees can perform essential job functions remotely. The vast majority of services to Academy members remain uninterrupted
- We continue to encourage the use of virtual meetings and the Academy is exploring innovative methods and new platforms as needed to accomplish our work on behalf of members and the public.
- Member Service Center representatives are available at 800/877-1600, ext. 5000, and at Membership@eatright.org. International members may reach the Academy at +1 312/899-0040, ext. 5000. If you recently mailed physical items of timely importance, please contact the Member Service Center. Click here for a list of staff email addresses and phone numbers by department.
- The Academy is assessing upcoming gatherings by DPGs, MIGs, Affiliates, NDEP and other groups. Numerous meetings are being cancelled, postponed or will be conducted via teleconference. Please check with your Headquarters group manager or liaison for information on how or whether these meetings will be held.
Please keep a closer eye than ever on digital communications. The Academy is involved in numerous projects that include continued optimization of our websites and dissemination of information to – and engagement with – members and consumers alike. The Academy is also:
- Creating a dedicated COVID-19 Nutrition Resource Center on eatright.org/coronavirus with articles on food safety, food security, senior care, healthy eating, recipes and printout activities for kids
- Launching a digital campaign to promote Continuing Professional Education resources, linking as appropriate to electronic publications
- Supporting ACEND and educators by providing complimentary education for students and interns via MP4 video files and accompanying handouts/references
- Promoting member-only telehealth resources. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced details of its policies to broaden access to telehealth services. The
- Promoting member-only telehealth resources. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced details of its policies to broaden access to telehealth services. The Academy wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar advocating for medical nutrition therapy via telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries; we were pleased to see the success of our advocacy to ensure RDNs were part of the agency’s updated recommendations.
In addition, the Journal's publisher Elsevier has created a Novel Coronavirus Information Center that includes resources and links to scholarly articles in other journals.
The Dietitians in Health Care Communities DPG is holding a webinar at noon Central time on Thursday, March 19, on “COVID-19: Front & Back of the House Precautions.” An expert panel will address how food and nutrition team members can keep employees and residents safe; discuss precautions to take for back- and front-of-the-house team members; educate staff using Nutrition Alliance's 2020 Inservices or other resources; and identify chemicals to use if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs. The webinar will be recorded and available on the DHCC website. More Academy webinars are being planned for next week and I encourage you to visit eatrightPRO often for the latest updates.
The Academy's Spokespeople have been serving, and will continue to serve, as the media's best source of food and nutrition-related information – now more than ever. A sample of recent media stories featuring Academy Spokespeople includes:
- The Doctor Will See You Now Eating Well in COVID Times (Jerlyn Jones, MS, MPA, RDN, LD, CLT)
- Washington Post No, you probably can't "boost" your immune system to prevent coronavirus. Here's why. (Julie Stefanski, MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDE, FAND)
- Business Insider What 3 nutritionists recommend stockpiling for healthy, flavorful meals during a coronavirus quarantine (Caroline Passerrello, MS, RD, LDN)
These are just a few highlights of the activities, resources and plans. The coronavirus situation is dynamic, and each day brings new developments and challenges. Protecting the health and safety of the public, our members and our staff remains at the forefront of all our work. I will continue to keep you abreast of the Academy's ongoing efforts.
May we all learn and grow from each other's wisdom and support in the days to come.
Terri J. Raymond, MA, RDN, CD, FAND
Academy President 2019-2020