One of the best opportunities to elevate our profession and the health and wellness of Americans is to become active in nutrition and dietetics related public policy. Some of the greatest advancements for dietitians in recent history are the product of the efforts of the Academy and advocacy from thousands of dietitians and citizens across the United States. One of the best ways to contribute is simply being informed on current issues in public policy. You can find updates on all of the Academy’s pertinent public policy efforts on the Grassroots Manager on the member’s section of the website. In this section you can also find form letters to send to your legislative representatives and even more suggestions for how you can contribute.
Charlotte, Emily, and Rickelle representing UAND at the Capitol building
Three of our wonderful board members recently attended the Academy’s 3-day Public Policy Workshop in Washington DC. While attending the workshop Public Policy Coordinator, Rickelle Richards, State Policy Representative, Emily Vaterlaus, and State Regulatory Specialist, Charolette Vincent were able to learn about and discuss the most poignant issues of public policy affecting nutrition and dietetics professionals through out the country.
Rickelle was kind enough to give us an overview of their trip and all that they were able to accomplish. The three most prominent federal legislative issues that the Academy is encouraging members to advocate in 2012 are:
- Older Americans Act (s.2037)
- Drug Shortage acts (s. 296/HR 2245)
- Pre-diabetes Medicare reimbursement act (HR 2741)
- Farm Bill (no bill number yet)
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressing PPW attendees
Rickelle, Emily and Charlotte had the opportunity to hear Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, speak about the role of RDs in advocacy efforts and how to most effectively share our voice with our Congressmen. The ladies were able to put his words into practice when they visited the offices of Utah Congressmen. They visited the offices of Representative Jason Chaffetz, Representative Jim Matheson, Representative Rob Bishop, Senator Mike Lee, and Senator Orrin Hatch. They were even able to snap a few pictures of themselves with staff members in select offices.
Visiting Representative Rob Bishop's office with Legislative Aide, John Newhall
- The ladies visiting the Manager of Media Relations/Legislative Aide, John Hadlock, at Representative Jason Chaffetz’s office.
Rickelle reported the following about their interactions with the state representatives, “Overall, we had positive meetings with them – no guarantees that the Congressmen would vote “yes” on the bills we advocated for, but a willingness to discuss each one with the Congressman directly. Some even felt that until next year’s elections are over, not much would move forward to floor vote until after next year’s election. We’ll just have to wait and see!”
We would like to thank Rickelle, Emily, and Charlotte for taking time to travel to Washington DC and represent UAND at this wonderful workshop. Your passion for elevating the field of nutrition and dietetics is inspirational!
Now we want to hear from you in the comments section below! How have you contributed to the Academy’s advocacy efforts in the past? If you are just learning about them, how do you plan to become involved in the future?