Mandisha Waiters RD, LDN was nominated due to her efforts in getting SB95 passed which allowed order writing privileges for RDs in the state of Nevada along with her big heart for the Las Vegas community. She is described as open, outgoing, and driven. Mandi joined NvAND as an undergrad student about 10 years ago. She has served as the Public Policy Coordinator from 2017-2019.
Mandisha currently works at Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) as a community dietitian providing medical nutrition therapy to patients living with HIV and AIDS. Mandi also works part time as a clinical dietitian at Spring Valley Hospital. She reports she likes having multiple things on her plate to find new things she enjoys. She confesses she feels antsy only having one job or project.
Mandi makes a difference by making healthy eating and wellness accessible to everybody. A common concern she gets is how to afford eating and living healthy. Mandi loves teaching people how to eat within this budget and emphasizes that they do not have to overhaul their life or buy anything special. She looks at the items they are already buying and finds a healthier version that does not have a big price difference.
Mandi works with a diverse population and says that if you have never been exposed to a setting with low income, poverty-stricken people, you would not necessarily see that in your day-to-day and understand how to address that aspect of food insecurity with people. A lack of diversity in dietetics and the state leads to a lack of opportunity to receive training, especially as a student, to understand how to interact with a person different from yourself. If you are working at a hospital, you typically do not ask about food security or housing stability or anything that happens outside the hospital so you never learn how to address what happens outside the hospital setting. She goes on to say that this a big aspect that is missing during internships and it does not come with any age, race, ethnicity, or creed it is just understanding a different walk of life to be able to better help a person in a different socioeconomic bubble.
Mandisha was very modest and humble of her efforts and her role as Public Policy coordinator when asked to expand on her efforts getting SB95 passed. Mandi reports Allison Schnitzer was the hero of getting SB95 passed and that the stars aligned after being in the right place at the right time. This is despite Mandi explaining that testimony was required and well as consulting with the Academy multiple times. While Mandisha is proud of her role in getting SB95 passed and obtaining order writing privileges for RDs, she feels it is not her greatest accomplishment since it left some NV RDs out in the cold, like community and private practice RDs. Mandi realizes it was a great thing and that not everyone can always benefit but knows it is still a struggle for other RDs in the state.
Mandisha loves to cook and would like to attend Culinary School with a focus on baking. She loves to share her food with others. She also enjoys playing Call of Duty on the PlayStation with her partner which is a nightly routine.
Mandi shared that she has been a person who has been impacted by breast cancer and implores members to check themselves monthly for breast cancer, as early detection is the key to survival.
Question of the Month:What did you eat routinely as a family growing up?
BBQ, in particular, brisket. My family is from Mesquite, Texas so all family events had brisket and I have come to always look forward to it at family functions.
Kate Gardner Burt, PhD, RD is an assistant professor and Undergraduate Program Director of the Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition Program at Lehman College, City University of New York. Dr. Burt is a registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist who teaches courses in cultural humility and foodways and professional practice. Her research broadly aims to reduce racial and ethnic inequities in dietetics and food systems. Within this scope, Dr. Burt’s recent work focuses on unveiling systemic racial bias in the profession and in our dietary recommendations. She received her BS in film and television from Boston University and her MS in exercise physiology and nutrition, RD and PhD in food and nutrition policy from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Register for our annual conference to hear an amazing presentation given by Dr. Burt!
Wade Warren is a senior at UNLV and is the current president of the Student Nutrition and Dietetics Association (SNDA). Wade was nominated because of his commitment and the effort he has invested into SNDA over the past year. He is described as devoted, dependable, and encouraging.
Wade plans to graduate in May 2021 then head straight into the internship to become an RD. Wade focused his interview on SNDA which he reports has really helped guide him through his time at UNLV from being a member of the Garden Committee to Garden Committee Chair to now President, Wade said he has been able to develop connections, have invaluable experience, and grow as a dietetic student.
Wade has made a difference this year by taking on a leadership role through SNDA. He was able to step up to the role even through the daunting pandemic to keep the organization running. Wade said that COVID-19 has made many additional challenges this year for SNDA. The organization had to evolve and change to a virtual platform which Wade has been the leader of. SNDA has put member safety first while still promoting a sense of community for the members despite almost all in person activities being restricted. Wade added that this has stimulated growth and creativity and the organization has continued to thrive with virtual meetings and community service opportunities that allow social distancing.
He reports he is very lucky to have such a good group of officers to work with because they bring a lot to the table. He has learned how to collaborate and make decisions as the leader on what is best for the organization moving forward. He has found that many people want to get involved but sometimes just need a little support to commit.
Besides being president of SNDA, Wade is also very involved volunteering in Nicole Kiley’s sports nutrition internship. He is currently one of a few students who are able to stay involved in this program through COVID. He has been able to observe what a sport’s dietitian does day to day, the role they fill, and how to thrive in a sports dietitian position while being supported by Nicole and gaining confidence.
Wade would like to strengthen the relationship between NvAND and SNDA. He said it would be great to be able to show members the diverse interest and career options that dietetics can offer as the possibilities are endless. He invites anyone who is interesting in speaking to members of SNDA or collaborating with the group to reach out to him at email@example.com.
Question of the Month: What is your favorite food quote?
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”-- J.R.R Tolkien
Sora Julie Lee, RDN, LD is the current Diversity Liaison for NvAND. She is a clinical dietitian at Veterans Affairs. Sora Lee has served on the NvAND board for two years and joined to increase diversity in dietetics and increase cultural competency in our practice. While serving on the board she has learned more about NvAND’s role in disseminating crucial and helpful information to the members which allows her to be informed about our dietetic community and provides networking opportunities. Sora Lee stated that learning about the efforts and impacts NvAND makes in our community has been the most positive experience of serving on the board. Sora Lee thinks fellow members questioning if they should serve on the board most definitely should! It provides a supportive learning space that may bring opportunities and skill sets to enhance your profession. Sora Lee loves that NvAND has such a positive and supportive environment that celebrates and encourages each other.
The Diversity Liaison serves a 2-year term.
The month of November has finally come to an end, and so has the completion of our first academy fundraiser! The results of the Step-Into-Fall Challenge are in, and I’m pleased to share that we’ve had considerable efforts made by participants to earn the title as one of the top prizewinners who will receive prize baskets! Since the excitement to win was shared equally among Board and Non-Board members, I’ve decided that two in each group should be recognized for their hard work. The awardees and their noteworthy step records are shown below. Thank you to everyone who participated, your support of NvAND is extremely appreciated! I look forward to holding future fundraising events with all of you- stay safe and keep moving and grooving!
Highest Cumulative Stepper/Most Steps in a Single Day - Joaquin Farr
This participant wishes to remain anonymous, but stepped into the competition with the creative alias above. This participant definitely lived up to their name, earning a spot in First Place with a total of 369,132 steps for the duration of the challenge. This participant also achieved the most steps in a single day, weighing in at 50,193 steps in one day, wowza!
Second Highest Cumulative Stepper - Brandy Kuebler
Brandy came in Second Place, with a total of 240,978 steps for the duration of the challenge. She remained active throughout the competition, and her hard work truly paid off. Way to go Brandy!
Highest Cumulative Stepper - Jake Yarberry
Jake was determined to earn the title of highest stepper for the entire three weeks, and managed to achieve this winning spot at First Place with a total of 573,891 steps for the duration of the challenge. He also came close to winning the most steps in a single day, totaling 53,009 but just fell short of Kara’s single day total. His endless determination, however, led him to become the highest stepper among all participants in the challenge. Bravo and well done, Jake!
Second Highest Cumulative Stepper/Most Steps in a Single Day - Kara Freeman
Kara set the bar for the challenge since the very beginning- she averaged 20-30 thousand steps a day, working nonstop to be the one to beat. She came out successfully in Second Place, with a total of 570,435 steps for the duration of the challenge. As if this number wasn’t already hard to top, try accumulating 53,442 steps in a single day! Kara, you take the gold on this title, and major applause for hitting daily records. Amazing job!
McKenzie Mayor, RDN, LD
NvAND Fundraising Chair
This upcoming year the Consumer Protection Coordinator (CPC) position which serves a 2-year term will be open. The 2-year term of Licensure Liaison will also be open.
Laura J. Kruskall, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD, FACSM, FAND, serves as both the current CPC and Licensure Liaison for NvAND. Dr Kruskall currently works at UNLV in the Nutrition Sciences department. Dr. Kruskall is Founding Director of UNLV Dietetic Internship, MS Nutrition Sciences program and the UNLV Nutrition Center.
Dr. Kruskall has volunteered on the NvAND board numerous times in the past. The positions held include Media Rep, Nominating Committee, President (2010-2011), CPC (2018-Present), Annual Meeting Chair (2018-2019). Dr. Kruskal reports she has learned about the legislative proves, developed several lasting professional relationships and developed administrative skills while serving on the board.
Dr. Kruskall states that leadership is important to advance the profession and she joined the board to not only serve as a role model for my students but also to take the lead as President to obtain licensure. Writing the Bill for licensure and seeing that process through has been the most rewarding experience she has had while serving on the board.
Dr. Kruskal stated “Nothing changes if nothing changes” and encouraged members to play a role by joining the board if you want to see our profession advance because It is such a rewarding experience.
Aurora Buffington PhD, RDN, LD, FAND is a NvAND member and dietitian who was recently recognized as a fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND) is a recognition certificate that identifies Academy members who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of nutrition and dietetics, establishing them as role models. Aurora was nominated for this month’s spotlight because she is willing to take on leadership roles, is passionate about sharing information regarding community programs and because she is a role model, not only to interns she precepts for but for fellow dietitians as well. Aurora is described as being an initiator, educator, and mentor.
Dietetics is a second career for Aurora. Her first was serving for 10 years in the US Air Force. She states this was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life because she made many lifelong friendships, met her husband, and developed a love for pasta and wine.
Aurora Buffington is now a RD, public health professional, physical activity practitioner, mother, wife, auntie, and brand-new grandmother. Aurora was the very first UNLV dietetic intern and now he works at the University of Nevada Reno Extension in Clark County as an assistant professor specializing in public health nutrition.
Aurora has been a member of NvAND since 2004 and has held a wide variety of many different positions including media representative, public relations chair, president elect, president for 2 consecutive terms, past president, annual meeting chair, nomination committee, and state regulatory specialist.
Aurora loved being president despite it being a touch position that really stretched her. Her favorite position was working as past president and annual meeting chair because she was able to collaborate with Today’s Dietitian and merge their national meeting and Nevada’s state meeting to benefit both groups.
Aurora makes a difference by demonstrating that dietitians can work anywhere and everywhere. She tries to be inclusive to anyone showing an interest in healthier environments, especially in healthier food environments, in helping to develop healthier food goals. The difference she makes is mentoring people to aid them in reaching their personal goals and make connections.
Aurora feels she does not have a single greatest career accomplishment d/t her diverse background. Besides being a dietitian, she teaches fitness classes at a local rec center, active in church, loves cooking for her family, and participating in Member Interest Groups through the Academy. Aurora feels her biggest personal accomplishment is the connection and relationship she has with her family.
The ability to connect with other people is the most important skill Aura has developed over the years.
Aurora loves informal entertaining, cooking and hanging out with friends and family, and listening to music. Aurora loves to help people shine and move ahead, starting new projects, and being a pioneer by pushing the envelope trying new things even if she has to learn tough lessons because it broadens her horizon.
Question of the Month: What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Peanut Butter sandwich with American cheese, jelly optional
Samantha Farr, RD, CSO, LD works at Optum Care Cancer Center as an Outpatient Oncology Dietitian. Samantha currently serves as the Incoming Nominating Chair. This is a one year position that transitions to a year position as Nominating Committee Chair.
Samantha joined the Nevada Academy Board to give back to the organization that has helped her so much throughout her career. The Academy has been a stable base for Samantha throughout living in 4 different states in the past 7 years.
When asked what she has gained while serving on the board, Samantha replied “Being new to the Las Vegas area, the NVAND has helped me make more connections with fellow RDs and has helped me feel more involved in the community.”
This year has been very challenging for Samantha. She was working as an inpatient RD during the peak of COVID. Sierra, the current Nominating Committee Chair, was the driving force for completing tasks for our department within the board, and Samantha is grateful to have Sierra as a partner. Samantha has enjoyed the Zoom calls that she has been a part of and it has helped to get some socializing outside of her family and coworkers during these crazy times.
Samantha thinks anyone questioning being a board member should definitely give it a try. If it doesn't work out, you don't have to run for anything after, but she believes it is a good way to network as well as build on leadership skills. Also doesn't look bad on the resume.