That’s right- I said it- during this totally NOT normal season of our lives, I want all of us nutrition professionals to focus on food.
Growing up I had a Grandma that could cook- I’m talking good Southern pies, banana puddings, and biscuits with lard. She passed down her chocolate pie recipe, and later in life, once I was married and wanted to start cooking memorable desserts for my own family, I remember going to my Aunt’s house (who was in her late 80’s at the time) to learn how to make the beautiful chocolate and caramel pies I remembered. It was a beautiful day and the time spent with my Aunt as we talked about our family that had passed on was remarkable. You better believe that pie is going to show up on my holiday table this year, and I’m going to enjoy every single morsel of my slice. What creations or recipes in your life bring you back to your childhood? Or remind you of a happy memory? I want to encourage you all to recreate that recipe this season- we could all use a little happiness in our lives.
I also want to encourage you all to take a moment and be thankful and receptive to the beautiful, healthy, foods that nourish our bodies. Right now the citrus is delicious, as is the winter squash and sweet potatoes. Embrace the nourishment that fuels our bodies. Another reason many of us got involved in this profession is to help people. I want to encourage you all to reach out to local food pantries and see what they need. While in “normal” times I would encourage you to offer to serve meals, perhaps that isn’t an option this year, but I assure you, there is still a need. My son loves cranberry sauce (yes, the jellied, non-homemade canned stuff). Every time we make a donation to the food pantry, he wants to make sure that it includes several cans of his favorite cranberry sauce. Make it a tradition to go with your kids and pick out some of their favorite items to donate. Pick up a few extra items next time you are at the store to donate to your local pantry.
Lastly, as you consider gifts this year, perhaps a nice local jam or honey would hit the spot. Maybe some sort of baked good or homemade dinner to be delivered (socially distanced, of course) to a friend or family member. Maybe a recipe card with your favorite recipe and a few of the ingredients. Even a gift card for take-out.
It is what it is. That’s pretty much all I can say about what’s going on in our world right now. And I’m responsible as to what goes on in my own home, as I can’t control much of what goes on outside. So, my family will be celebrating small, enjoying the last of the turnips and greens from our garden, filling out tummies with nourishing sweet potatoes and winter squash, but also with chocolate pie and a cup of coffee. I hope you can do the same. I wish you all the most wonderful, delicious holiday season ever.
November is here and we are seeing some spectacular color here in Arkansas. It's a beautiful time in our state for sure. As I'm writing this I'm reflecting on how thankful I am for all of the hard-working professionals in our state- and specifically on the ArAND Board. Please know that in the last few weeks, there have been numerous Board members and volunteers working on deciding what to do about our AME 2021 amidst COVID restrictions. There have been many meetings, phone calls, research on options, and other hours spent trying to make sure our members get what they need and want from this Affiliate.
The Public Policy Panel has been having meetings and getting together a list of potential appointees to the Dietetic Licensing Board- to make sure we are well represented on that front. The Communications Team and Member Services have been working hard to get information together to honor our members. It's a flurry of work and dedication that we have going on behind the scenes for our members here in Arkansas! I'm so thankful.
Please take a moment in your life today to say thank you. Thank you to a boss that supports and encourages you. Thank you to a co-worker that wants your opinions and helps you with projects. Please in this time of uncertainty- take a moment to find gratefulness within yourself and share it with those that you hold dear.
Rachel Schichtl PhD, RDN, CFCS, FAND
Director- Didactic Program in Dietetics
University of Central Arkansas
It’s October! You know what that means- falling leaves, football, fires to sit around, and FNCE! That’s right, although FNCE is going to look and feel a bit different this year, I’m excited to dig into all the good information, sessions, workshops, and networking. I encourage you all to expand your professional development and attend some sessions you know nothing about- learn something new! I’ve been looking over the schedule and am excited for many of the sessions.
October also means the start of a busy time for many families. School is in full swing (virtual or in-person) and many of us are thinking about upcoming holidays. I am always encouraged by the cooler weather and family get-togethers to try some new recipes and experiment with new and different ingredients. Whatever your plans for this month, be sure to take time to remember why you choose this profession. Be sure to advocate in whatever capacity you can for the health and wellness of Arkansans. They are counting on us!
I love September, it always gets me thinking about Fall and all the wonderful goodies that go along with it. The crisp air, the nicer weather, the pretty leaves. Fall just seems to be so cozy.
I’m excited to attend the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) this year. Though the conference won’t look anything like it has in the past, the expertise and knowledge that is presented will still be there! It’s so great to have a career where you are always excited about learning. I always find the best sessions at FNCE and come away with such a wealth of knowledge and ideas for my work and my personal life. It truly is a blessing to be part of such an encouraging bunch of professionals.
I would encourage you to think about your goals for this month. Maybe an Academy journal article quiz over something you typically don’t push yourself to learn about? Maybe signing up for FNCE if you haven’t already? Maybe it’s signing up for a virtual 5k or an online cooking class? I’ve seen some great ways to keep learning through this pandemic and I would encourage you to keep moving forward with your professional development goals.
Summer is so much fun and I am always happy to see it arrive, but I LOVE fall. Although it’s hot at the moment, fall is coming and gives us something to look forward to during these uncertain times. I most look forward to bonfires outside with my family, homemade chili, and the crispy fall air.
Recently starting my third CDR cycle, has me reflecting on my time as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and how our profession continuously evolves. For my first few CEU hours, I used the ArAND webinars we hosted this summer. Over my career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I think about how blessed I have been and how supported I have felt from my internship class peers, my work colleagues, and the many friends I have made in the profession. It truly has been a lively and worthwhile couple of CDR cycles and I look forward to my next 5 years as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
I encourage you all to take advantage of the webinars ArAND hosted this summer (which can be found as recordings on our website) to learn more about a variety of current topics. As you may have heard, FNCE will be entirely virtual this year. If you haven't been able to travel to FNCE in the past, now is a great time to experience some of what FNCE has to offer. The Academy has great resources for talking to your employer about the benefits of paying for registration. In addition, I hope you will take advantage of all the DPG (Dietetic Practice Groups) and MIG (Member Interest Groups) that the Academy has to offer. All of these resources will help grow your knowledge as well as your network. Whether you are just starting your career or are a seasoned veteran in the field, I encourage you to make SMART goals for wherever you are at in your CDR cycle. Learn new things, meet new people, explore new opportunities. It's not too late to make this the year that you explore all that our field, as well as the Academy, have to offer.
Can you believe summer is almost over? I sure can’t. While I’m sure summer didn’t look like most of us are used to our summers looking, I hope you had a good one. My family and I are thinking about “back to school” and I know that just like everything else in our society right now, that is something that many parents are not agreeing on. Homeschool? Virtual school? A mix? Public? Private? But I do know that I set the tone- I get to be the one that decides my attitude for the upcoming year- and my kids catch on to that.
Reflecting on "back to school" has me thinking about my tenure as a student. I want to take a moment to express how thankful I am to have had some wonderful teachers and mentors while I was in school. I also had some amazing preceptors during my internship and once I started working have had some great bosses. I am constantly amazed at the passion that our field possesses and enjoy so much the knowledge and level of commitment that I get to see from our affiliate.
As an educator, I want to instill that same passion to my students - the next generation of Rockstar RDNs and DTRs. Finally, as the Arkansas Affiliate President I want you to remember that you are amazing. I want to encourage you all to keep learning and keep pushing on towards whatever goals made you start this profession in the first place. Stay healthy and keep learning.
As I start my year of presidency I want to first pause and echo the sentiments of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics when they released a statement to all of our members calling for change. We hear you. We stand with you. If there is anything you see, hear or feel that will help the Arkansas Affiliate become more inclusive, more respectful or more just to people of color, please do not hesitate to reach out.
During this time of a global pandemic, I hope we can also pause for a moment to recognize the extraordinary work that Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Dietetic Technicians are doing across this country. Patients in intensive care, in patient care, to clients that benefit from feeding programs, research, community nutrition education, SNAP and WIC Dietitians, and more. The absolute necessity of our profession is shining through. I am proud of each and every one of you.
As President of ArAND, I hope to be able to continue the strong commitment our affiliate has vowed to the populations we serve, to optimize the health of Arkansans through food and lifelong nutrition. This year may look different than most, but we have some great plans to keep you all connected to one another and to provide quality resources, continuing education and socialization during this time.
I am looking forward to serving the affiliate and am excited to see where this year takes us.
As I write this message, I am awestruck thinking about how fast one year can pass. It seems like only yesterday when I began my term as incoming President-elect, and now, here I am, ending a term as President….and moving quickly into my next phase as Past President. I have been so blessed to be your ArAND President during an anything but normal year.
Together, we have accomplished so much. Our Strategic Plan served as the guidepost for our efforts this year and I am so proud to write that we advocated for our members, served as nutrition experts across multiple platforms, and provided career and educational development opportunities, as well as engaged members with awards and honors. I am so impressed by the ways we have grown and strengthened our Affiliate.
As I hand over the gavel (figuratively of course, we are still physically distancing) to Rachel Schichtl, I know that she will carry our Affiliate even further and accomplish more in the coming year. Though the State meeting was cancelled, she had worked tirelessly with Claudia and the Planning Committee to ensure a great educational experience. Rachel will be our leader as we start navigating a new normal. I urge you all to support her and engage with our Affiliate more than ever before.
Now is the time to show the world that we are THE nutrition professionals and our skill and talents remain unmatched. We are working to earn increased and expanded reimbursement for MNT services, protect licensure, and improve compensation. We NEED YOU to help.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my predecessors in this role as well as all of the volunteer leaders who have been so very generous with their time and talent. Without volunteers, our Affiliate has no leadership. My job as President was so enjoyable because of these individuals who gave selflessly and sometimes tirelessly to make events succeed. To our Executive Director, Margaret, you kept me on my toes and always had an encouraging word when things didn’t go as planned. My respect for you and your talents, organization, and passion for the profession cannot be topped.
To my colleagues at UCA, thank you for supporting me while I had my mind in a million different places, you are all very familiar with my ‘let’s try this’ ideas. Dr. Nina Roofe has been one of the greatest inspirations and influences. She always told me I could do it, and she always supported me after the commitment was made.
To each member of our Affiliate - thank YOU for allowing me to serve as your President, it has truly been one of the greatest honors of my career.
As I started out writing the President’s Message this month, COVID-19 was far from my mind. I was working on the idea that March is National Nutrition Month. March means “advance in step in an organized body” and “walk with deliberate, short steps that fall in a regular rhythm”. As nutrition professionals we need to be in step with one another, advancing our profession.
At this time, exciting news was that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services joined in promotion of NNM by sending out National messaging about the benefits of “Eat Right Bite by Bite”, and spreading the word about covered services like: Medical Nutrition Therapy, Diabetes Screening, Diabetes Self-Management Training, Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Obesity, Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease, and an Annual Wellness Visit.
As we transitioned our way of life to enhance social distancing and are increasingly aware of the toll that this pandemic has had and will have on our daily norm, there became more of a focus on marching forward. We learned earlier this week that MNT was approved for reimbursement if delivered via telehealth. We have seen school nutrition programs immediately pivot to non-congregate feeding in order to keep hungry kids fed when schools are out. We are witnessing healthcare providers work harder than ever to provide care for those most in need. We are uniting as one profession, urging others to listen to our message, and deliberately serving those in our communities who need us most at this time.
I want to thank you all for what you are doing to carry your share of the burden. When we come together in mutual support for mutual wellbeing, an inherent strength and resilience can be felt. Thank you for walking with your peers and colleagues in a deliberate and regular rhythm that will allow us to advance our vision and see “a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition”. If you need an extra boost to get going, remember - people are depending on you and our greatest purpose is to render a great work together - we’ve been made to work together, to build civilization, and to cooperate - people are waiting for you to show up!
Despite cancelling so many events, including AME 2020, seeing schools, offices, and public spaces closed, and experiencing unprecedented changes, I know that our members are working harder than ever to care for those most impacted by COVID-19. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed - again, thank you for all you’re doing. You are the people that make our communities and our profession so very strong, forward moving, and essential to the health and wellbeing of the world.
I recently read a research article about self-care. The authors reported high rates of physical and emotional burnout, cynicism, and inefficacy in healthcare professionals. While burnout is defined as a “progressive loss of idealism, energy, and purpose” and some of us might not be to that point, can you relate to inefficacy or cynicism?
Inefficacy - note the spelling, I am not talking about inefficiency. While we may experience inefficiency when we are on the road to burnout, inefficacy is what I want to highlight. Inefficacy is the “lack of power to produce a desired result or the state of being unable to accomplish anything”. As I go throughout my days, which turn to years, and then eventually my career, I need to renew my purpose and set my sights confidently on the goals I have set for myself. This is when I look at what is distracting me as I try to do my best and it makes me strive to do better.
In this month of heart awareness (Valentine's Day, American Heart Month), consider it doing your heart good to give yourself a self-care check-up. Strategies for self-care could be things like prioritizing close relationships, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting adequate sleep, engaging in hobbies, and practicing mindfulness. Tell your loved ones 'thank you' and check on those special people in your life that you may not have spoken to or seen in a while.
In the professional realm, self-care may include examining your work-life balance, developing mentor relationships, seeking volunteer opportunities, improving communication skills, and increasing self-awareness about personal boundaries. If you are ready to start volunteering or if you need a mentor, contact me - we have a place for you in ArAND!
Even beyond mental and emotional self-care, examine what you doing for your physical being. I ask each of you to pay attention to your health - don’t procrastinate if something doesn’t feel right. Get a check-up! Have you had a physical lately? Do you know what your blood pressure averages on a normal day? We must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.
This month I urge you to show yourself some love. So, what is your self-care plan?
This year our theme for AME is Vision 2020. Have you ever considered that 20/20 vision isn’t about being able to see perfectly, instead it is a description of the clarity of your vision? Think about that again, CLARITY. In this new year and new decade, think about the clarity of your vision. What is your vision, professionally, for 2020, and the decade beyond? What is your vision for how you will impact the world for the better? How can you use dietetics to change the way people live, work, and play?
As an educator, what I love about dietetics is that no day is the same. Working with students brings clarity to my vision - students challenge me to think about the world in a different way and they allow me to share my experience in hopes they will exceed my expectations. In the past decade, I have seen so many non-traditional RDN job opportunities arise. Are we as a profession ready to take on a new marketplace with new challenges and showcase how valuable we are? When was the last time you took a step back to consider how valuable your nutrition expertise is, or could be? STOP, right now, take a moment to ‘look’ at all the things you do great in your profession. Now, take another ‘look’. What can you do to make your efforts more clear, productive, or rewarding?
ArAND wants to help our members become visionary leaders in the profession and beyond. We offer great continuing education opportunities and support for our members. Are you involved in ArAND at the level you want to be? Do you want to do more to promote nutrition and dietetics in the State? Volunteering could be your answer. When you volunteer you can help change the lives of those in our state and perhaps even gain clarity for your vision. There is a position for you in ArAND - if you need help finding that spot, reach out! Come to a social event, email us, call someone you know. I urge you to get involved and find where you fit. As always, thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and I hope perhaps this message will give you pause to think about clarifying your goals for 2020.
During the holiday season (especially), I mindfully keep joy and grace on the tip of my tongue. Hopefully your career, family, and other daily encounters bring you joy. However, when they don’t, life can get discouraging. Sometimes different personalities and opinions can lead to upsetting situations which steal our joy. During the holiday season, fuses are often short and tempers may flare. Be graceful in offering an ear to listen or a shoulder on which to lean. Many of us have experienced loss and grief during this season and family celebrations, holiday traditions, and other gatherings only intensify these feelings.
As we start a new decade, I encourage you to show others grace, practice tolerance, and be respectful even in the light of polarizing conversations. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a healthy debate and I desire to be a lifelong learner. However, remembering that debating and learning can be accomplished without hurting feelings or disrespecting others is an important feat. Grace can help us see life from another’s perspective so we aren’t so caught up in our rush to get things accomplished.
ArAND will soon be welcoming new Board Members and other elected positions. If you are a long time member of ArAND, please be the first to usher new leaders in and make them feel welcome, spread the joy of learning about new people and sharing your experiences. If you are new to ArAND, we hope you feel included and we can’t wait to get to know you better. As President of ArAND, I am overjoyed to see and experience the growth and excitement in our Affiliate. We have active social media and communications groups, monthly socials, and a lively public policy team, to name a few. Again, working with others takes joy and grace but what’s so interesting about both of these things, they are contagious.
So, joy and grace…..don’t let people steal your joy, be open to sharing it generously. Give others grace, we all need encouragement and forgiveness at times.
Wow, I can’t believe it is already November! As I find myself gearing up for the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving, I am trying to be intentional about giving thanks every day. What are you grateful for? Regularly expressing gratitude allows us to appreciate the present, instead of wishing for things we don't have. Thinking of those joyful pieces in life helps put things in perspective and can remind us of what is truly most important.
One thing I am grateful for, is the opportunity to serve you as ArAND President. Additionally, the opportunity to attend FNCE in Philadelphia was amazing. As ArAND President, I represented you in policy meetings, conversations about diversity, discussions about reimbursement for RDN services, changing models for education of our future RDN’s, and much more! I am grateful for this experience and am happy to report that ArAND is doing a lot of things right! Other states look to us for direction on their website design, communications plans, strategic goals, and affiliate structure. It is an absolute honor to represent you at the national level! Next year, FNCE will be in Indianapolis, Indiana and I would love to see more Arkansas RDN faces at this conference.
On a sad note, I recently heard about the death of an RD in Arkansas. She was integral as a mentor in multiple people’s lives and she inspired many to keep on going even in the face of great adversity. I am thankful for people like her who forged a path before me. While I did not know Ms. Jackie Herd personally, I know many people who were forever changed by her generosity and encouragement. I urge you TODAY to thank someone who has been a key to your success. Don’t wait to say thank you or show gratitude, gifting gratitude helps us all.
Post what you are grateful for on our ArAND Social Media @areatright
This morning as I was getting gas for my truck, I watched the store manager in his dress shirt and tie gather carts, pick trash out of the parking lot, and greet customers all as he walked back to the store. It’s always interesting to observe someone who is doing something that isn’t their “job”. Many people get hung up on job descriptions and responsibilities and forget that being a good human is everyone’s job! Recently, I heard a Speech Pathologist talking to a group of SLP, OT, PT, and Dietetics students say that “[in reference to inpatient clinical care] oral hygiene is everyone’s job and that’s why it never gets done”. If we took our job, and those things that are ‘not my job’, and merged them, think of the improvements we could make - whether it be in our organization, our position at work, or in the community! As ArAND members, our Affiliate’s vision is to optimize the health of Arkansans through food and lifelong nutrition. Let’s take that extra step to ensure this vision is seen by all.
This month is a lot of things to a lot of people….October has FNCE (hope to see you in Philadelphia soon!), Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Pork Month, and Tackling Hunger Month, among many others. For me, October is one of my busiest months, and it is a reminder that family is important....those people you love aren’t around for always. I encourage you to go above and beyond for someone or something each and every day. You never know what the impact will be and how you can change the way you view the world and how others view you.
Happy Fall Y’all!
As we start into the season of indulgence with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving meals, and Christmas parties, remember that September is Malnutrition month. With more than 48 million food insecure Americans, we, regardless of specialty, are counseling, talking to, and living alongside these individuals. Our profession should be leading the charge to help alleviate malnourishment in people all over the world!
Throughout the month of September, the Academy is spotlighting malnutrition to increase awareness and underscore the crucial role that RDN’s and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered play in prevention and treatment of malnutrition for pediatrics, adult and senior populations, and special populations and global malnutrition. Academy members have the knowledge and expertise to identify malnutrition across the life cycle and around the globe. We have committed our organization and our profession to its prevention and treatment.
Join us as we move malnutrition prevention from "Talk" to "Action". What are YOU doing to spotlight and stamp out malnutrition? Join us on Facebook and Instagram to share your story and your passion!
If you are more involved in clinical dietetics, take a look at just a few of the vast number of publications on malnutrition:
Elevating Malnutrition Care Coordination for Successful Patient Transitions
Increased Knowledge, Self-Reported Comfort, and Malnutrition Diagnosis and Reimbursement as a Result of the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Hands-On Training Workshop
Implementation of an Automated Pediatric Malnutrition Screen Using Anthropometric Measurements in the Electronic Health Record
And if management is your expertise:
Early Implementation of Malnutrition Clinical Quality Metrics to Identify Institutional Performance Improvement Needs
Accurate Coding Impacts the Geometric Length of Stay for Malnourished Inpatients
Minimizing False-Positive Nutrition Referrals Generated from the Malnutrition Screening Tool
Going back to school has me thinking about being busy. Does that word scare you? BUSY. BUSY. BUSY.
It scares me sometimes but then I remember that being busy is what keeps me motivated, inspired, and ready to take on new adventures. What it is that keeps you busy and just how busy do you like to be?
Volunteering is something that we can often think of as an “extra” thing that makes us even more busy than we already are. Finding the right fit for volunteering can make all the difference in your perspective. Volunteering helps you make new friends or develop stronger relationships with the ones you already have. With volunteering, you can learn new skills or hone the ones you already have, and can advance your career. Giving to others can help protect your mental and physical health by reducing stress and anxiety, as well as give you a sense of purpose. If you struggle with family time, consider volunteering at events that are family friendly. If you want to network in your career, volunteer for a resume builder. No matter where you are volunteering, you are doing good and investing in a community.
ArAND is always looking for volunteers. Whether you want to design artwork and graphics for t-shirts or conferences or lead our state, we have an opportunity for you! Being a volunteer for ArAND is a great opportunity to share your expertise and help others. We are in exciting times with dietetics and ArAND is leading a charge in public policy, communications, and mentoring.
Not sure where you fit? Talk to one of the Board members or myself and we’ll help you decide. Not sure if you have time? We have places for long-term, consistent work as well as one-time needs. Don’t live in Central Arkansas? No problem! We have conference call capability, many online jobs, and lots of ways to connect across the state.
From one busy person to another, I encourage you to get involved! It makes all the difference in the world when you share your talent and your success!
Hello ArAND Members!
I love summer, I mean I really love summer! It has always been my favorite time of year and I enjoy the sunlight, sounds, long days, and believe it or not, the heat. This summer has been particularly loud....morning, noon, and night you can hear the sound of the cicadas. As I drink my coffee and watch the sun come up in the mornings, I am astounded by the noise these tiny creatures can produce. One morning I could barely hear the chirping of a bluebird family over the cicadas and it reminded me that I don't listen enough at times to hear still, small voices that can be beautiful.
Sometimes you have to be still and really pay attention to hear things other than the noise that can pollute our days. What is distracting you so that you can't see true meaning or pay attention to the details that could make a difference in yours or someone else's life? What noise can you eliminate to help you better hear the sounds that make you at peace?
Often when people are dissatisfied, they believe they have two choices: give up or complain – because their voices are not heard above all the rest of the noise of the day. They think no one cares or they aren’t important enough. Complaining usually starts as feedback but then turns negative because no one seems to be listening. Make room for conversations, and let people know you want to hear their voice over the noise that can crowd our days. Think about your patients, clients, peers and colleagues, family and friends....which voices are you hearing and which are you missing? Could it make all the difference for that one person just to be heard? What would it mean to you to finally be heard?
It’s important for me as ArAND President to hear ArAND members and show you we are working on issues that are close to your heart. While we may not be able to solve every problem, I want you to know that I'm willing to listen and listening is the first step towards improvement. Please tell me about your ideas that we can work on to collectively move our beloved profession forward!
Greetings! Earlier this month the Board of Directors met for their annual orientation and training. Huge thank you to Arkansas Children's Hospital for hosting us and to Midwest Dairy for contributing to our organization! The current Board can be seen HERE.
This year we will focus on "Building Our Brand". You may have noticed a survey in your Inbox a couple of weeks ago asking questions about why you are a member and what services you would like to see from ArAND. HERE it is again, please feel free to share with non-members to help us better understand what we could do to attract them to join.
Board members are working on Best Practice documents for their committees and activities. And our proposed strategic plan can be found HERE.
Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
I am looking forward to a GREAT and EXCITING year as your ArAND President and I sincererly hope that you will join us on our journey as we start building the brand of dietetics so we can showcase our role as THE nutrition experts!
Hello, everyone! The winter weather has hit Arkansas already and the holidays are approaching. I hope everyone has a safe and healthy Thanksgiving later this month! During the season of Thanksgiving, I feel it’s appropriate to give my thanks for the many volunteers we have in our affiliate who keep this organization running and ensure that we continue to serve our members and the state of Arkansas. We have an outstanding board of directors who give freely their time and knowledge to improve our profession and the health of Arkansans. Because of each of them, we are able to provide continuing education, mentor students, have a seat at the table when it comes to legislation that affects our profession, patients, and ourselves, have a voice in the future initiatives of the Academy, and so much more. We have individuals behind the scenes who take care of the fine details and put in a lot of work to make sure our organization runs smoothly. We have several members who recruit to make sure that we are reaching our members to share all of the benefits of Academy membership and involvement in the affiliate, as well as fill our upcoming positions so that we can continue to thrive. We also have all of our awesome members who participate in our events and initiatives and make our affiliate great! I appreciate all of you!
Our board of directors recently met in October and had a very productive meeting. Topics of discussion included updates from FNCE/PPW, updated job descriptions, as well as restructuring our districts within the Arkansas affiliate. We have updated the marketing and communications team to streamline roles and include the following positions: Director of Marketing & Communications, Webmaster, and Social Media Chair. We feel this will help our affiliate as we work to improve communication to our members. In regards to districts, be looking for an announcement and future meeting to vote on these structural changes to our districts! We value our members’ input and want to make sure that our districts continue to have opportunities to provide continuing education and networking to members in each area of the state, as well as continue to be viable and functioning parts of our affiliate. Here are some updates and reminders:
As we transition into the next season, be sure you’re keeping up with all of the exciting things going on with the Academy and our affiliate.
Licensure - check the website to look for continuing education opportunities if you still need hours to renew your license. Remember to check the Arkansas Dietetic Licensing Board website for application information!
Public Policy - have you heard? The Public Policy Workshop has been combined with FNCE this year in Washington D.C. If you haven’t registered, be sure to do so ASAP! Join our public policy panel and other members of ArAND as we take on Capitol Hill. We will be discussing important nutrition-related legislation, including malnutrition. It is so important to relay information to our members of Congress about their constituents. If you have great stories that have made an impact or are related to the bills we will be discussing, please reach out and share them - and allow us to share them as we visit 1:1 with our Congressmen and their staff while in D.C.! It really makes an impact! If interested in attending, please email Erin Moore (email@example.com) so that you can be included in preparation for these visits or to simply share your stories. Also, be sure to pay attention to action alerts and participate. It’s just a few simple clicks and makes an impact. Your voice should be heard! For more information, visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/advocacy/action-center/public-policy-workshop
Upcoming events -
NWAD-AND is hosting their annual Fall Seminar at the Fayetteville Town Center on Friday, September 21, 2018. 8 hours of continuing education will be offered. Here is the link to see the line-up of speakers and register: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C044EAFAD2EA5F58-fall
Hello, August! It’s back to school time, which is a busy and exciting transition for many. We have several events coming up on our calendar that you can look forward to.
"Take Your Congressmember to Work" in August
The Academy encourages you to "Take Your Congressmember to Work" this month during the August work period, known as August Recess. Inviting elected officials and their staff to your practice or facility helps them understand the important and valuable role RDNs play in improving the health and well-being of the nation. It is also an opportunity for elected officials to see how federal programs work in their local communities. Senators are back in their home states for the district work period until August 15, when they return to Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives are back in their congressional districts for the work period until September 4.
If you are doing exciting nutrition-related things in your dietetics practice or community, we’d love to hear! Also, share with us if you take your Congressmember to work. Stay cool this month!
The heat of summer is here in Arkansas, and so is the new fiscal year for ArAND. I am excited to lead our organization into another great year. I’ve loved serving ArAND in many capacities over the past several years – from the public policy panel, to fundraising endeavors, and district boards – I’ve really gotten to know the structure of our affiliate and have met some outstanding members along the way. We have an incredible group of dietitians in our state, and I want to personally thank all who have served and who continue to serve ArAND through their volunteer efforts. Without our volunteers, our organization would not run and we would not be able to further the health of Arkansans through lifelong food and nutrition.
The new year started June 1st, and the board met soon after for our orientation on June 8th in Little Rock. We had a very productive meeting learning the structure of our board, reviewing operations, and brainstorming how we can make our affiliate even better. Marketing and social media was discussed at length, as well as our updated website that Alicia Landry and the communications team have worked so hard to make more user friendly and appealing. We recapped one of the most successful annual meetings to date, as well as discussed the upcoming year. We addressed my plan of work, which includes increasing membership and member participation in volunteer opportunities and public policy, continued involvement in Health Active Arkansas, and continued participation in the second century initiative of the Academy. Our affiliate is lucky to have dietitians serving as volunteers on committees outside of ArAND, including those involved with Healthy Active Arkansas. This is what it takes to make our state a better place and we appreciate everyone’s service. We have an outstanding board of directors leading into the new year, and I’m excited to see the work they execute.
A few exciting things lie ahead that I want to make you aware of:
I look forward to another great year and hope you all have a fun and safe Summer!
I can’t believe summer is almost here and my year as ArAND president is coming to an end. First, I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to serve as president this year. I have grown so much personally and professionally. This position has given me the opportunity to network and meet so many amazing RDNs. I have a whole new appreciation for the function and purpose of the Academy.
I also want to thank everyone who has been a part of the Board of Directors this year. As always, ArAND is truly a team lead organization. It would not run as efficiently as it does without every member completing their part. I encourage everyone to consider an active role with ArAND. There is always room for volunteers. Our new president, Erin Moore will be filling the appointed positions. If you have any interest in increasing your involvement, please let her know. Even though it is an investment of your time, I promise the rewards greatly outweigh the time sacrificed. Some of my closest friendships have come as a direct result of my involvement with the BOD.
I also want to encourage everyone to recruit one person to join the Academy. We have provided links throughout the year to the Academy website. On that page, you can find handouts that outline the benefits and even walk you through the process of requesting your employer to pay for membership. Roughly half of the Licensed Dietitians in Arkansas are members of the Academy. I would love to see this number grow.
I look forward to next year and functioning in a support role as Past President. I know we will continue to accomplish great things and make our profession known in Arkansas under the leadership of our BOD.
Happy National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. I am actually writing this on RDN day and it was such an exciting day. Everyone has been following the emails and spreading the word about licensures being evaluated by the Red Tape Reduction Working Group. Today we had over 90 dietitians, students, and interns at the state capitol representing our profession. Because of the number of people, they had to move us to a staircase instead of the original room. You are all awesome and Governor Hutchinson couldn’t help but notice.
The Governor shared a few words with us. He thanked us for our contributions to Healthy, Active Arkansas. He mentioned the importance of healthy eating and made a couple of comments about his own habits. After the photo, he was given some information about the importance of RDNs and licensure. Margaret Pauly, ArAND’s Executive Director, was able to talk to him for a moment about the importance of our licensure and how we would like the chance to voice our concerns if questions specific to Arkansas licenses for dietitians arise. We also took the opportunity to pass out fruit (cuties) and information to legislators, staff, and constituents in the capitol atrium.
The 2018 NNM Theme is “Go Further with Food”. The goal is to encourage healthy eating habits and cutting back on food waste. A few key points include:
As RDNs we are the nutrition experts. We need to build on today and continue to promote our profession. Share the word about our backgrounds and qualifications. I encourage you to remind people that RDNs are the only nutrition expert qualified to provide nutrition recommendations to help manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, celiac disease. Continue to promote that RDNs can work with people to develop safe, healthy weight loss plans that are tailored to their specific medical needs and that can be followed long-term.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to making today a huge success. I know there are some that could not attend, but your efforts in spreading the word prior to the event were instrumental in making this happen. Now let’s all continue to work together to be sure that the state of Arkansas and our leadership understand who we are and why we are important!
Chocolates, roses, love. February brings all of these things with Valentine’s day. Fun fact about Valentine’s day – U.S. spends an average of $1 billion dollars on chocolate for Valentine’s day each year. Not only is February a month of love and romance, but it is American Heart Month.
The first American Heart Month was in 1964 under President Lyndon B Johnson. At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease. While that number is better, 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. can still be contributed to heart disease.
This year one of the CDC’s focuses is to raise awareness in younger adults. Adults in the age range of 35-64 are showing increasing death rates from heart disease. They are also showing increases in risk factors including physical inactivity, tobacco use, and hypertension. This population is still in an age range that they can take control and reduce these risks. As dietitians, we can join the campaign to increase awareness and help promote prevention. We all know social media can be an effective tool to get messages out there.
Here are a few suggestions of ways you can get involved:
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are all staying warm. For many, a new year brings big plans and resolutions to improve ourselves. One area that I always struggle with is finding the best things to be involved in. There are so many opportunities between professional activities, personal activities, and kids activities, that I often take on too much. I have a hard time picking out the “best yes” as far as where to spend my time.
It has been around 10 years since I said “yes” to being a member of the Board of Directors (BOD) for ArAND. (ArDA at that time). It has been one of the best choices of ways to spend my time. It has helped me to grow both professionally and personally. I have made many professional contacts, friends, and created opportunities to meet and network on both a state and national level.
Here are a few ways you can get involved with ArAND:
Currently voting is open for the elected positions on the board of directors. These include President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer Elect, Delegate, and Nominating Committee members. Every member (except the Nominating Committee members) is a voting member. I encourage each of you to visit the website, review the candidates, and cast your vote. Let your voice be heard!
There are many appointed positions and committees at the State and District level. The president (or District President) is responsible for filling these positions every year. It is so exciting to have new and enthusiastic members on the BOD. There are positions in fundraising, public policy, communications, annual meeting, and student/member services. If you have an interest, please voice that and we can find a role to fit you. Being involved in your local district is also an excellent way to meet other dietitians and network in your area. Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, and North East Arkansas all have active districts. Contact information for the presidents of these affiliates are also listed in the member section of the website.
The BOD plans the annual meeting (AME) every spring. This is one of our biggest fundraisers and networking events. This year’s meeting is scheduled for April 19-20 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I am very excited about the speaker line-up and networking opportunities this year. Be on the lookout for registration information soon.
At the AME, ArAND honors individuals who have advanced the dietetics profession, have exhibited leadership, and have shown devotion to serving others in dietetics. These include Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, Emerging Dietetic Leader, Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year, Outstanding Dietetic Intern, Outstanding Undergraduate Dietetic Student, and Outstanding Dietetic Educator. The descriptions and nomination forms are also on the website. Another simple way to get involved is to nominate deserving dietitians and students for these awards.
Finally, watch social media and emails for opportunities to get involved in public policy. AND has made the process of contacting your lawmakers very simple by following a few links. I encourage everyone to take action when these alerts come across. It’s an easy way of promoting our profession.
I look forward the remainder of this year and encourage each of you to consider the benefits of saying “yes” to involvement with the Academy and ArAND. There are so many benefits awaiting you both personally and professionally.
Happy Holidays everyone! The Christmas holiday is rapidly approaching and everyone is super busy with preparations. I’d like to take a moment to slow down and recap what has occurred with ArAND over the past year. An ArAND “family Christmas letter” if you will.
At the beginning of this year, we finalized plans for an amazing 2017 AME. Our theme was Dietetics: Passion, Purpose and Promise. We had around 155 attendees and a variety of speakers. Teresa Nece, MS, RDN, LD, SNS from the Academy was able to attend our board of directors meeting in April and also spoke on public policy at the AME.
In June, I assumed the role of President and we had our annual BOD orientation for new and returning. Nina Roofe led the orientation and we had a very interactive meeting utilizing Appreciative Inquiry. We worked on plans to help achieve my goals for the year. Goals included increasing membership in the Academy, increasing member participation in volunteer opportunities and public policy, continued involvement in Healthy Active Arkansas, and continued participation in the Second Century Initiative.
After the meeting, a communications team formed and began working on several of the goals identified in my plan of work including a establishing a speakers bureau, social media posts for recruitment, and monthly member features.
Over the summer, Sara Long resigned as president-elect due to a move to another state. Erin Moore moved into this position and an election was held for a new incoming president-elect. Alica Landry is now in this role in addition to our webmaster.
Also over the summer the Western District and the Northwest Arkansas District merged.
In October, several members were able to attend FNCE in Chicago. Nina Roofe attended the Fall House of Delegates meeting. We had members attend public policy events, networking receptions, and present posters. Arkansas was well represented.
Alicia has worked hard this year to improve the website. It is much more user friendly. She has also worked to improve the templates for mass emails. Our communications team has increased their presence on social media. Our public policy team has worked diligently to be sure BOD and members are aware of new policies, concerns, and action items.
I look forward to finishing out this year and beginning the new calendar year. We have an exciting speaker line-up for the upcoming AME scheduled for April 19-20. The theme this year is Nutrition 101: Second Century and Beyond.
I also encourage everyone to review the ballot and vote for new BOD members in January. Member pictures and profiles can be found on the Arkansas Academy website. Voting will begin Jan 3.
I look forward to a strong second half of my term as president. I am hopeful that we will continue to increase awareness of our profession and involvement of our members. I hope you enjoy your holiday breaks and time with family and friends.