Highlights: A Year in Review 2018–2019

07/01/2019 - This report contains selected highlights from the past fiscal year of the incredible work that has been accomplished under the leadership of 2018-2019 Academy President Mary Russell. It is not a comprehensive report of all of the events and activities of the Academy.


Summer 2018

The revised Code of Ethics for the Nutrition and Dietetics Profession was launched, setting forth the values, principles and standards that guide the profession. The Academy/CDR Code of Ethics empowers practitioners to think and act in a manner that upholds the fundamental ideals of the organization and is intended to protect and benefit the practitioner and the patient/client. Mary Russell served on the committee that updated the code.

In a letter on behalf of the Academy to Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, Mary Russell requested that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ensure the mental and physical well-being of children affected by immigration policy. The letter noted that all Academy members remain very concerned that food and nutrition requirements be met, and access to medical care be provided, for families who are placed in temporary detention facilities or care provider facilities.

The Academy initiated and led a collaborative of more than a dozen health organizations in crafting and forwarding a second letter to DHS. While many organizations had issued statements on the topic, the Academy was the only organization to communicate directly with DHS. This collaborative letter gave strong voice to the recommendations it contained.

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September 2018

President Mary Russell was instrumental in instituting the Academy's Spotlight on Malnutrition month in September to raise awareness of malnutrition. No longer just one week, the Academy focused on identifying and treating malnutrition the entire month of September, spotlighting pediatric malnutrition, adult malnutrition special populations and malnutrition, and global malnutrition.

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October 2018

Attendance at FNCE® 2018 in Washington, D.C. was more than 11,000 – the second-largest in 15 years. Fifty-four countries were represented. Of the 445 companies who exhibited, 115 made their FNCE® debut this year. More than 4,000 pounds of food were donated to the Capitol Area Food Bank from the Expo Hall. News coverage of FNCE® was outstanding totaled 63 million media impressions, and more than 14,000 social media postings by more than 2,300 unique authors.

The record-breaking Public Policy Workshop held in connection with FNCE® for the first time. PPW had more than 1,400 registrants – the largest in the meeting's history, and 1,060 registrants were first-time attendees. A total of 284 students registered – the majority of whom were first-time attendees. PPW participants held more than 325 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs to advocate for our policy priorities.

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November 2018

The Academy and The Obesity Society announced a three-year alliance to develop educational, scientific and clinical materials, programs and other activities related to evidence-based treatment of obesity and weight management. Mary Russell was quoted as saying: "This a wonderful opportunity to join efforts and leverage resources to educate our members and the public, work together to build awareness through advocacy, and develop clinical guides and standards of practice – all related to the prevention and treatment of obesity, nutritional disorders and related conditions."

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January 2019

Morrison Healthcare, with its 776 hospitals, joined the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative to help support further recruitment of hospitals into the collaborative. MQii's dual-pronged approach of maximizing clinician resources and reporting measures is vital to implementation of malnutrition quality improvement. This program is instrumental in shifting the culture to one in which all health care team members value the importance of nutrition.

The Academy expanded coverage and payment for nutrition services. In response to advocacy work by the Academy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services added registered dietitian nutritionists as eligible clinicians to the Medicare Quality Payment Program. This important action paved the way for RDNs who are Medicare providers to join the ranks of physician providers participating in the Merit-based Incentive System track under the QPP. Based on reporting specific performance measures to CMS, RDNs now have the potential to increase their Medicare payments starting in 2021, rather than be subject to relatively stagnant payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

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February 2019

President Mary Russell represented the Academy at the International Day of Women and Girls in Science Forum, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The panel's topic was "Investing in Science and Technology Education for Shaping Society's Future." Comments focused on the Academy's contribution to fighting malnutrition which has applications beyond our own borders. This was the third year the Academy has been invited to participate in this event, which draws representatives from over 39 countries including the USA, Canada, Turkey, Iran, Norway, Lebanon, Poland, Pakistan and Kenya.

Ten Academy members were among 20 nationally recognized nutrition and health science authorities named by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to the government's new 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Mary Russell said: "On behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it is my pleasure to recognize and congratulate our fellow members who will serve on the DGA Expert Advisory Panel. Our colleagues have been selected for their expertise in public health. We commend their commitment to rigorously review the current state of food and nutrition science. Their important work will form the basis for the USDA and HHS' development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

The first-ever Excellence in Practice Diversity Promotion Award was established. Diversity and Inclusion are a strength of any society. Under Mary Russell’s leadership, the Academy strengthened diversity and inclusivity of our profession. In February, the Board adopted a new Diversity Definition for the Academy: The Academy encourages diversity and inclusion by striving to recognize, respect and include differences in ability, age, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, size and socioeconomic characteristics in the nutrition and dietetics profession. As Mary Russell stated in her April President's Page … In the spirit of diversity and inclusion, the Academy will continue to actively promote role models, establish scholarships and provide mentoring opportunities to diverse individuals at every stage of their careers. We will continue to make educational and cultural competency resources available to all member.

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April 2019

The Academy and American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) formed a collaboration to leverage resources and activities to maximize the reach, scope, and impact of programs and services. The Academy and ASPEN will develop policy statements and advocacy efforts. Development of consensus statements, clinical guidelines, technical reviews, standards of practice, and descriptors of best scientific and clinical practices; Development of educational materials to support evidence-based approaches to clinical care, prevention and treatment.

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May 2019

President Russell addressed the subject of mental health and the profession. She encouraged members to look for warning signs of concerns in ourselves, and in those within and aspiring to our profession. As a result, the Academy has planned several behavioral health issues sessions for the 2019 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo.

Mary Russell's leadership will continue to make an impact for many years to come. Under her presidency, the Leadership Institute was reinstated and our objectives for the next iteration of the LI will align curriculum with the Academy's strategic plan and three focus areas of Prevention and Well- being, Health Care and Health Systems and Food and Nutrition Safety and Security. In addition, the new version will include a strong policy and licensure component.

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