Dr. Jamie Benedict was nominated for a Member Spotlight for her contributions to Nevada’s SNAP-Ed program, demonstrating care for the community, and serving as a mentor to students. She is described as researcher, educator, and compassionate. Dr. Benedict has been a member of the state organization since 1990 and at one point was the President of the Northern chapter.
Dr. Benedict has served various roles during her career at the University of Nevada Reno as she has been there since 1990. She is currently the Chair of the Department of Nutrition, she has also had roles as the director of the DPD program, the director of the nutrition graduate program, and the state nutrition extension specialist. Dr. Benedict reflects that she has liked each of the roles as they allowed her to develop different skills and focus on different areas.
During her tenure as Nevada’s state extension specialist, Dr. Benedict was awarded a contract from the USDA to create the foundation for Nevada’s first Food Stamp Nutrition Education Plan (SNAP-Ed). Dr. Benedict states that the growth of this program is the direct result of dietitians, nutrition educators, administrators, and others throughout Nevada’s communities. She states she is inspired by her colleague’s creativity, perseverance, and is honored she can continue to be a small part of this.
Dr. Benedict would like to think that she makes it easier for people to achieve a healthy diet and hopes she has accomplished this through education including the education of future health professionals but also through her advocacy work in regards to school wellness policies and the development of Nevada’s SNAP-Ed program.
Dr. Benedict states that there are so many wonderful aspects about working in an academic setting so she narrowed now her favorites to three things.
Dr. Benedict has never regretted changing her major in college from geology to nutrition. She says it was the best the best thing she ever did. She is so pleased with her environment, opportunities, and the people she has met. “You can’t beat it.”
In her spare time, Dr. Benedict likes to spend time outside with her children and avid outdoorsman husband such as skiing, hiking. In her alone time, she likes to create new recipes, listen to music, and enjoy the quiet.
Darlene Dougherty, MS, RD, FAND is a 50-year member of AND who has had a diverse and involved career and is still actively practicing in dietetics. She is a former AND President, was the dietetic internship at the University of California San Francisco where she enjoyed teaching and training students, has conducted mock Joint Commission surveys across the country where she was able to test if what is taught in school is effective in practice while also assisting facilities in preparing for actual surveys, and has worked in business and industry markets such as Campbells, Kellogg's, EcoLab, General Mills, and Jack in the Box. Darlene was hired for her current position 16 years ago at a critical access facility after she conducted a mock survey. She has now completed 2 complete Joint Commission surveys at that site. Darlene has served on NvANDs Political Action Committee and as Newsletter Editor. Darlene enjoyed her time volunteering and serving on various boards throughout her career and now likes to support other younger members taking on their own leadership positions.
She is described as interesting, engaging, and involved. Darlene was nominated for a member spotlight due to her efforts not only as a former Academy president but also because of her role in helping to create and market Campbells Special Request soup line. Darlene fondly reflects that she worked with 2 other RDs on this project to try and reduce sodium in Campbell's soups so they could market to hospitals and patients. Barriers that had to be overcome during this project were determining if people really believed the soup had less sodium, if there was less sodium, did the lower-sodium version have a flavor that was at all palatable, and would it work in healthcare as well as retail markets. To test and overcome these barriers and questions, Darlene helped set up tasting samples, many in hospitals to allow RDs, MD, and nurses to become familiar with the soups. They also participated in a lot of trade shows. Darlene herself was the West Coast Representative so her role was in leadership and administration where she staffed the sample projects and trade shows and reported back their findings to Campbells. The Special Request soup line remains on the market today. Darlene also helped create Healthy Choice from ConAgra where she did the introduction kick-off for this product into the market. Darlene says she had so much fun working in this setting for a third of her career. Darlene stated that with any retail introduction of products to the market there was always the need to educate the population and media as to what the product was trying to accomplish. Overcoming the dietetic community's opinions about foods, whether it was for a particular product or even in other roles she has had in management, is always a challenge since students and RDs all have their own opinions about foods.
Darlene is getting ready to move out of state, but in her spare time she likes to travel, collect antiques, and bowl.
Darlene says she is a “butterfly lady” because “without change we would not have butterflies and so I enjoy change and the result of that change being butterflies”.
Jessica Enders RD, LDN, has been a member of NvAND since she moved to Nevada seven years ago. Jessica was nominated by multiple of her peers as a dietitian who makes a difference. She is reported as working on the frontline of counseling children with obesity and depression and being seen as a comfort for the parents of these children. She is described as engaged, passionate, and understanding.
Jessica is the director of the Healthy Hearts Program and the Children’s Heart Center in Las Vegas. Healthy Hearts is a risk reduction program for children with early obesity, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, etc. that helps not only the child but also the whole family make healthy changes to help prevent problems in the future. It is a multi-disciplinary program that addresses various aspects affecting the child’s life. Jessica says she is helping families learn how to eat and feel better. This makes her feel like she is making a difference because she is helping with the future. She says one of the best things about being a dietitian is that, ideally, you are helping people find ways to feel better on a day-to-day basis, through nutrition, exercise, and diet.
All the different possibilities that RDs have to work in different settings is what Jessica likes best about being a dietitian. For example, Jessica has worked in-patient, out-patient, in a doctors office, in a dialysis clinic. Sometimes dietitians do not realize the wide range of opportunities we have available to us which is one reason why Jessica likes the way dietetic internships are set up because you get to go to so many sites as an intern and discover opportunities you may have never even considered a RD being a part of. Being a part of organizations such as NvAND really helps identify and discover many opportunities that are out there in Jessica’s opinion.
In her spare time Jessica works with her husband at their new dog boarding business in Henderson. She also likes to travel, read, watch Netflix, and play with her animals.
Dr. Nancy Collins is a wound care certified Registered Dietitian (RD) with a varied and robust nutrition practice. Dr. Collins has been a member of NvAND since she moved to Las Vegas 10 years ago. Prior to relocating, Dr. Collins resided in Florida where she held volunteer positions for over 25 years including President of the Florida Dietetic Association, chair of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group, delegate in the House of Delegates, and many more. Here in Nevada, Dr. Collins has assisted in planning the annual meeting, was the newsletter editor for three years, and participated with several committees. Dr. Collins was nominated for this spotlight for always offering to help others in addition to being very particular and doing things well. She is described as influential, entrepreneurial, and daring.
Dr. Collins built a large entrepreneurial practice over the past 30 years. Dr. Collins’ main priority is helping to heal patients, most of which have a chronic wound. Most commonly, these wounds are from a recent surgery, an accident or other trauma, diabetes, or a pressure injury. Dr. Collins’ practice also has a medical malpractice component. Dr. Collins has served as an expert witness in over 500 legal matters in which an RD has been implicated in negligence, medical malpractice, or wrongful death suits.
Dr. Collins also authors and publishes professional articles for peer-reviewed journals and textbooks and is a highly sought-after speaker for professional conferences. In addition, she is a current member of the Board of Directors of the American Professional Wound Care Association, a board member of Wound Care Gurus, an editorial board member for the journal Wound Management and Prevention, and the Academy representative to the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders. This involves many hours of volunteer work but Dr. Collins enjoys it and states that she likes to give back to the profession.
Dr. Collins was also the founder of the website Nutrition411, which was often referred to as the “google of dietetics and nutrition.” She reports her greatest accomplishment was starting a website from nothing, building it up, and later being able to sell it to a multi-national corporation. Creating something that others thought had that much value was certainly an accomplishment for her.
When asked what the most important skill Dr. Collins has developed, she stated she is not sure it is a skill but that she is often described as “intense.” She states that she is a little easier going now and has mellowed with age.
Dr. Collins states that her most rewarding experience came from serving as president of the Florida Dietetic Association. She was able to accomplish many of the things she aspired to during her term, felt she was a good leader, and was able to have a lot of fun while helping the Association have a successful fiscal year. She remembers she enjoyed being president so much that at the end-of-the-year banquet with several hundred Florida colleagues present, she closed her term by wishing she could be president for a full 4-year term just like the President of the US. It was that much fun!
In her spare time, Dr. Collins has various hobbies including sight-seeing and seeing shows in Las Vegas, playing video poker, and collecting Barbie and other fashion dolls.
NvAND strived to make a difference in the 2020-2021 year. During this time, we were able to spotlight 13 members who truly make a difference to their clients, co-workers, interns, community, and state.
Here is a recap of the 13 members spotlighted during the last year:
The MNT Act has been reintroduced in both Chambers of Congress!
S. 1536 and H.R. 3108 are the newest iterations of the MNT Act. In this session, members have combined previous acts to make a more comprehensive legislative initiative.
The MNT Act aims to do three things:
Also, consider participating in the Academy Action Alert regarding the MNT Act, as well as several others. You can access the action alerts in the eatrightPRO Action Center.
On the State level, AB73 has been signed by Governor Sisolak! This cleans up our licensure statute (NRS 640E) and also provides an avenue for provisional licensing for newly graduated dietetic interns. Thanks to Kara Freeman, our former State Policy Representative, for her work in getting this accomplished! Please see her piece in the newsletter below for more information.
Have a great June!
Dawn Matusz, MS, NDTR
Public Policy Coordinator
Wendy Corkrum was awarded the Outstanding Dietetic Student Award from NvAND for her academic achievement, dedication to learning, and professional potential. Wendy just graduated from UNR and is excited to start her dietetic internship in August at UNR. Wendy is described as intelligent, passionate, and driven.
Wendy was very active throughout her undergraduate career. She worked at Washoe County School District as a Nutrition Service Worker and Northern Nevada Medical Center as a Dietary Aid. She has volunteered with the Northern Nevada Food Bank, Harvest Nevada which is a local gleaning project, and Tack Provisions which is a campus program that addresses student food security issues and addresses other basic needs such as hygiene and school supply needs. This past year Wendy served as Vice-President to the UNR Student Nutrition Association.
Wendy believes you can make a difference in anyone’s life by listening to them and providing them positive encouraging support. Wendy hopes she was able to make a difference to fellow students by providing them with support and plans to continue doing this as a future RDN. Wendy plans on providing clients with sound scientifically proven advice and provide them with perspectives and tools to help them lead their healthiest lives possible. Wendy hopes she will be able to influence people’s lives at a more individual and personal level.
Wendy shared that her passion to become a RDN has evolved from her own personal struggles with her weight. During her pregnancy and the following months after the birth of her son, Wendy says she gained a significant amount of weight and found it a struggle to keep up with the demands of being a new mother. Wendy decided to focus on her health, modify her diet and the foods she had been consuming and by eventually making changes and incorporating exercise into her life she was able to lose the weight she had gained. Wendy wants to help other individuals who are overweight or struggling to manage chronic conditions by improving their habits which she feels in the long run will help improve their health and quality of life.
The most rewarding experience Wendy said she has is meeting and forming relationships with some truly amazing individuals, from faculty to other community members to students. She has been really impressed with the genuine and professional interactions that she has encountered throughout school. She says she respects these individuals and is really excited she will get to possibly interact with many of them in a career setting in the near future.
Wendy wanted to also share that she has a passion for supporting breastfeeding mothers and she has a desire to provide them and their infants with a successful and enjoyable breastfeeding experience so she does have future plans to become a certified lactation consultant which she will use alongside her RN credential.
In her spare time, Wendy likes to garden, preserving the harvest, and cooking the foods she has grown. Wendy said her hobbies have contributed to her enthusiasm for nutrition and given her additional relevant skills that she will be able to use as a future practicing RD.
Question of the Month: If you could go anywhere to dinner tonight, where would you go?
The French Laundry in Napa. Wendy’s husband is a huge foodie and that is somewhere he has always wanted to eat and I would live to be able to take him there and make his day,
Sally has been a preceptor for the past 14 years and has precepted and mentored almost 65 dietetic interns! Sally was recently awarded the Outstanding Preceptor Award from the Academy. Sally is 1 of only 7 preceptors selected nationwide for this honor. Click here to read more about this award. Sally is described as dedicated, loyal, and pragmatic.
Sally is a clinical nutrition manager at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. She has been contracted in foodservice management for over 39 years, primarily through Compass Group. Sally started working at UMC in 2014 when the dietitians were just beginning to use electronic health records. In Sally words she was sent to UMC to be a “cheerleader” to help guide the RDs into the transition from paper hard charts to electronic health records. She reports she was sent due to her previous experience with technology in a former role. She recounts that the temporary cheerleading job transitioned into a permanent position at UMC. Some previous experience in business and industry include directing food service in businesses industries such as Automaker Plant, schools and colleges, and summer camps.
Before UMC, Sally worked at Eisenhower Medical Center in California which is where she began precepting in 2007. Sally shares she would never have been able to help these many interns without a very dedicated staff of RDs. The team of RDs that Sally leads each spends 1 week with clinical interns to introduce them and explore the specialty that dietitians focus on in his or her daily work.
Sally makes a difference as a dietitian through her professionalism and work ethic. These traits serve as a role model for anyone that has spent time with Sally. Sally makes a difference as a preceptor through her passion for the profession which inspires interns to “strive to make the best better”. She always has time for intern’s questions, concerns, fears, and accomplishments. Sally states she is known for setting the bar high and most interns strive to pass the bar.
The variety is what Sally likes best about being a preceptor. She says that each intern is unique and it is always a new experience with each day, you never know what is going to unfold.
Sally’s advice for RDs who want to precept is that you need to have a lot of energy, time, and patience. She goes on to say that you have to be a great motivator, because you are truly modeling the future of our profession. Preceptors need to build a relationship with each intern so you are able to understand them and bring out their assets and help them build upon things they need to grow on.
Sally advises future and current interns to find a mentor in the profession and be open to their guidance, helpful tips, and perhaps spend some time building a friendship with that person.
In her spare time Sally likes to travel around the world, enjoys fine foods, and during her travels Sally collects beads and stones which she ultimately designs into jewelry.
Question of the Month:
What is an unusual food pairing you love?
Avocado and beets, or hot tamale peeps and TAB soft drink
There are several child nutrition programs which help families, schools, and child care programs provide healthy foods to children. Rather than revisit each one separately, Congress uses a process called Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) to revisit and modify the permanent laws that established many of these programs. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 was the most recent CNR, and certain provisions in that law expired at the end of September 2015.
Some of the programs typically included in CNR laws are permanently authorized and have permanent authorization of appropriations.1 The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are two examples of such programs. In other words, programs of this type do not expire, even if the CNR law expires. Other programs – WIC, for example – have permanent authorization, yet their authorizations of appropriations expired when the HHFKA expired.1 Funding for these programs has been provided through yearly appropriations acts since the expiration of HHFKA. Still other programs expired and ceased to operate when HHFKA expired.
Especially in light of recent crises like the COVID pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn, CNR is an important step towards improving access to healthy food for all children. Dr. Lee Beers, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently reported to Congress that physicians across the nation have seen an alarming rise in child obesity – including body weight increases between 20% - 90% over the last year.2 Furthermore, Feeding America projects that 1 in 6 children may experience food insecurity in 2021.3 Both child obesity and food insecurity have been exacerbated by the current crises experienced nationwide.
Undoubtedly, Child Nutrition Reauthorization is a crucial endeavor for the 117th Congress. Thankfully, CNR is largely a bipartisan effort, and Congress has already started working towards a new CNR law to be enacted before this session ends in January 2023.
I hope this has increased your understanding of CNR. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. For information on the Academy’s CNR stance and talking points, visit here. Also, there are several active Action Alerts in the Academy’s Action Center.
Dawn Matusz, MS, NDTR
Public Policy Coordinator
Debbie Klein is an RD who has worked at Renown Hospital in Reno for the last 22 years. Debbie has been a member of NvAND for 24 years. Debbie has served multiple positions on the NvAND board which she reflects was a most valuable experience. Debbie served as Public Policy Chair for 6 years, then served as President-Elect/President/Past-President for NvAND. Debbie was nominated for her nurturing nature to new RDs and assisting interns with entry into the field, her obvious love for her complex career in the ICU, and for being a great example of daily passion for her job. She is described as energetic, inspiring, and dedicated.
Working in the Trauma Unit at Renown as a critical care RD inspired Debbie to become specialized in her field and she became certified as a Clinical Nutrition Support RD and has also been a member of ASPEN. Debbie states that she is passionate about what she does and the way in which she does it.
Integrating into a team and bringing new ideas for the good of the team as well as the patients is one way Debbie makes a difference as an RD. Debbie explained that she is very forward thinking and serves as an agent for change and progress. Debbie reflects that she has had the opportunity to gather ideas through attending conferences and leadership conferences while serving the Academy that she was able to bring back and introduce at her hospital to bring forth new ideas and policy change.
The most important skill Debbie feels she has developed as a clinical RD and serving a role in public policy is the confidence that she is a nutrition expert. As a young RD Debbie felt she lacked the confidence to speak up. She explains that when she became Public Policy Chair of NvAND she knew nothing about public policy. This did not stop her from taking the position and going to Washington DC every year. This experience allowed her to build her confidence as a nutrition expert because she was promoting nutrition knowledge to people who did not know about nutrition. This served as a confidence booster for her. She says this also translates to her job in the hospital as she continues to be the nutrition expert for others who do not know about nutrition.
Reflecting on her career Debbie confesses she has had many memorable and rewarding experiences and could not narrow it down to just one. Debbie listed the following: gaining self confidence as a young RD, initiating policy change in the hospital she works, having a conversation with a MD that lead to a hospital policy change, introducing the concept of RD involvement in bedside feeding tube placement and resulting policy change, her experience serving on the NvAND board was a time of growth both personally and professionally as it allowed her to make many life-long friendships that continue today while being active in NvAND, learning during her time as Public Policy Chair, attending leadership classes which produced changes in both her personal and professional life, she is proud to have been involved introducing the idea for dietitian licensure in the state of Nevada while she was serving as President-Elect and working as part of a great team where she learned on mean different levels, and she is glad she came up with the idea to hire NvAND’s first professional website designer and first administrative aid.
Debbie loves to spend time with her family and friends which she has missed over the last year and also likes hike, bike, and travel.
Question of the Month: Sweet, Salty, or Sour?
I love the sweet and salty combination, it makes my taste buds go wild!
Supporting Nevada Nutrition Professionals