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Our Behind-the-Scenes Team

Published:April 23, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2020.03.007
      I have devoted most of my President’s Page articles to spotlighting members: women and men from every practice area, geographic location, and career spectrum, from students to veterans of 50 years and more.
      In my final article as president, I would like to recognize one last Academy group. They work mostly behind the scenes and should not be overlooked. They work with hundreds of Academy volunteers to provide the support and services that meets our needs and those we serve. They are the Academy’s Headquarters Team.

      Respond and Anticipate

      Working primarily in Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC, they not only respond to our needs, they anticipate them. They provide whatever we need to do our jobs: products, services, information, answers. They work tirelessly to support our work.
      To do the job of president, I rely on the Headquarters Team, led by Chief Executive Officer Patricia Babjak. We all can do the same, since the team of 170 (more than one-third of whom are registered dietitian nutritionists [RDNs]) is available to all of us, by phone and online. The contact information for every Headquarters Team and group is located at www.eatrightPRO.org/about-us/academy-vision-and-mission/who-we-are/contact-us.

      Success After Success

      Working hand in hand with countless member volunteers, our Headquarters Team continues to support our work to advance the Academy’s Strategic Plan. A few recent examples include:
      • Quality Management: In January came a significant win for RDNs and the Academy. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved inclusion of the Malnutrition Quality Measures into two Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) for RDNs to participate for 2020 in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Malnutrition Quality Measures included in the Premier Clinician Performance Registry and the US Wound Registry will promote health care team collaboration with measures for physician and RDN reporting. (www.eatrightpro.org/news-center/in-practice/quality-and-coverage/cms-approves-inclusion-of-malnutrition-quality-measures)
      • Policy Initiatives and Advocacy: The Medical Nutrition Therapy Works for Seniors toolkit was launched in January in partnership with the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging. The toolkit helps RDNs and senior nutrition program administrators strengthen their ability to offer MNT services for coverage by Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans for older adults in community settings. (www.eatrightpro.org/news-center/in-practice/research-reports-and-studies/available-now-medical-nutrition-therapy-works-for-seniors-toolkit)
      • Membership: The Academy offers tools and resources we all need and, like our profession, are based on scientific research and evidence-based approach to practice. Membership offers us dozens of services totaling more than $3,000 in savings and benefits. And, in a continuing testament to the lasting value of membership, the Retired member category once again reached a record high in 2019-2020, growing 5% over 2018-2019.
      • Strategic Communications and Marketing: The Academy recently has won numerous awards recognizing excellence and leadership in association media, publishing, marketing, and communications. These include PR Daily Nonprofit Awards for the 2019 National Nutrition Month campaign and for Food & Nutrition Magazine, and EXCEL Awards for Food & Nutrition and the 2018 National Nutrition Month social media campaign.
      These examples are far from a complete list, but they illustrate the wide range of accomplishments that our Headquarters Team creates for the Academy every day.

      Support and Serve

      What an honor this has been to learn and grow from caring professionals who make a difference every day in the lives you touch. Together let’s continue to support and serve our profession and look to a future where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.
      I would like to thank Past President Mary Russell, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, who provided valued guidance throughout this year. And best wishes to Linda Farr, RDN, CSOWM, LD, FAND, who will lead the Academy forward in 2020-2021. Thank you all; you are forever in my heart and mind, as together, we advance our work and our profession. We are the Academy!