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
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.
Lauri Egan, RDN, CPT, is a key player in our state affiliate's organizational setup, structure and maintenance. She wears multiple hats and knows the inner workings of this organization, the Academy and how to run a successful board. She is an invaluable resource to incoming Presidents and any new board members, especially those who've never held a leadership position before. Lauri Egan is NvAND's rockstar, and we are so lucky to have her! Three words to describe Lauri are genuine, supportive, and reliable on top of being just a fun person.
Lauri joined NvAND while she was still an intern. She quickly became the Website Coordinator and is now the Administrator for the Nevada Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lauri has a lot of fun meeting new board members each year and seeing the back end of how the organization functions. Lauri helps with the fluency of the transition from board members serving one year to new board members volunteering the next. She assists in tracking documents, orienting new board members, and making sure that the by-laws of NvAND and the Academy are being followed.
One reason Lauri likes being a dietitian is to bring new and changing education and information to NvAND members and the public. Lauri’s favorite part of dietetics is that dietitians are able to communicate with the public better based on improved science over the years.
Technology is the most important skill Lauri has developed in her role. Lauri stated that if we can make tasks quick, efficient, to the point, and less time consuming; getting information across will be easier and less frustrating. Technology also plays a big role in training new board members.
The people-interactions are always the most rewarding experience Lauri has each year. Lauri loves discovering what motivates people, whether that be clients or members of NvAND. She said it is fascinating to see different people, in the exact same atmosphere, create something completely different. She said it is refreshing to have people rearrange ideas and promote change.
Lauri would like members to know that she is always a resource and can help members locate or find information they are looking for.
In Lauri’s spare time she loves to explore with her family and find new adventures around her town.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Lauri cooked a turkey one time and since has opted not to do a traditional Thanksgiving meal but instead creates a cultural immersion experience each Thanksgiving with different cuisines.
Please take some time to get to know some of your NvAND board members as well as the position they serve. It is never too early to start considering which board position you want to apply for. We welcome all members to apply for board positions. If you are interested in serving on the NvAND board or have questions please contact the Nominating Committee at NomCom@EatRightNevada.org.
Roxana Ehsani MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
As a new Academy Spokesperson, Roxana Ehsani demonstrates she is not afraid to take risks. Having recently moved to Las Vegas she began reaching out to local media organizations in a new city. Additionally, she has started accepting patients in her own private nutrition practice. She continues to accept these challenges so that she can grow professionally and also to help promote dietitians in our community. Three worlds used to describe Roxana are entrepreneurial, professional, and dedicated.
Roxana serves as an Academy Spokesperson which was a major professional goal for herself and applied as soon as her conflict of interest serving as a supermarket spokesperson ended. She is the first spokesperson to represent Las Vegas. There are about 30 volunteer Academy Spokespersons that represent dietitians, academy members, and nutrition professionals in various forms of media such as print, radio, podcast, and TV. Their goal is to represent the Academy and dietitians as the expert nutrition professionals’ consumers should turn to, especially in a world full of misinformation from non-professionals. Roxana has experience in TV media and tends to gravitate towards those roles. Media experience is one of Roxana’s greatest skills she has developed.
Roxana would love for fellow members to reach out for a virtual meet-up, especially any members that have media connections to local print, news, or radio outlets so she can effectively serve her role as Academy Spokesperson. To reach Roxana, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roxana comes from a culturally diverse background and spoke many different languages as she grew up, including German and Spanish. Her mother is from Austria and her father is from Iran. She feels she makes a difference as a dietitian as she can relate and connect with her patients with diverse backgrounds because of her own experience with various cultures and cuisines.
Roxana is new to Nevada who works full time in an outpatient setting and is also focused on building her own private practice. Roxana’s goal for early 2021 is to start working for herself full time. Roxana feels her greatest accomplishment is establishing her own business despite various challenges. Roxana had to learn many new skills from accepting and billing private insurance to building a professional website. Roxana states that “establishing my own business is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, but I feel really happy I pushed myself through and now I am a business owner.”
Roxana’s advice to fellow RDs passionate about starting their own business is to “push through” because there will be many obstacles in the path. She has faced many challenges in starting her own business but never gave up. She reports she had to learn many things that were never taught in school or the internship when establishing her private practice. Despite these challenges she is glad she pushed forward and is now a business owner.
Roxana loves to cook and bake for hours at a time, run, and travel (though not this year, unfortunately).
Question of the month:
What is one food you cannot live without? Dark Chocolate
Nicole Bustamante, RDN, LD works as the Manager of Clinical Nutrition at Renown Health in Reno, Nevada. Nicole was nominated for this month’s member spotlight because she is the clinical nutrition manager of a large hospital and has been very focused on understanding and working to implement order writing privileges at her facility in addition to being active in attending NvAND events. She is described as proactive, detailed, and responsible.
Nicole has been an RD since 2008 after graduating from University of Nevada-Reno. Nicole has been a member of NvAND since 2008. She was the Northern NvAND president from 2009-2011. She reports being a board member was a great experience and her favorite part was participating in networking events.
Nicole began her management role at Renown in 2015 when she became a supervisor and then a manager. She currently manages 42 employees.
She feels she makes a difference as a dietitian because nutrition is one of the few things in the hospital setting that can provide patients with comfort. “Through a warm meal or a friendly education, we can hopefully make a difference during their stay.”
Adaptability is one of the most important skills Nicole has developed and continues to work on. She may think her day is going to go one way but many times has to be flexible as the day unfolds in a different direction.
Renown Health is currently going through the process of allowing dietitians order writing privileges. Nicole says this has been the most rewarding experience she has had because it shows how important dietitians are to the medical team and providing care to the patient. Nicole is working with a host of other disciplines to push this initiative forward, not only for dietitian privileges but for other discipline writing privileges in the hospital as well.
In her spare time, Nicole likes to work on various craft projects, be outdoors, and spend time with her husband and dog at a lake or hiking.
Question of the month: What is one food you keep typing to like but just can’t?
Salmon. Nicole tries to eat it but it is never something she looks forward to.
This month we would like to highlight the efforts of the two dietitians at Clark County School District (CCSD):
Christina Saheb RDN, LD and Lory Hayon RDN, LD.
You can follow @CCSDfoodservice on social media platforms.
These two dietitians were nominated due to their phenomenal work during the pandemic. CCSD food service uses a central kitchen. When schools closed and COVID guidelines for social distancing were released, the food service team had to come up with multiple plans. Christina and Lory brainstormed with their team on the best ways to follow these new guidelines while still feeding nutrient dense foods to those in need.
Christina oversees the central kitchen and plans all the menus. She is able to make a difference by creating healthy menus for children to eat at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Her healthy menus have a large impact as they were served to over 1.3 million students each week during the last school year.
Lory oversees special diets, including allergens and modified textures. Lory is also in charge of special events, social media and marketing, and the fresh fruit and vegetable program at the elementary level. Lory makes a difference by researching products and providing more fresh fruits and vegetables that some students have never even seen before.
Christina and Lory make a strong team. They work together on developing and researching new items for the menu but also have different roles they complete independently. “Divide and conquer” is their motto. They stressed that they are only two members of a much larger team. The combined efforts of team members at schools, warehouse workers, the procurement department, and student workers are essential. The student workers come up with ideas and test potential items for menus. All departments are essential for a smooth operation.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a direct impact on these two dietitian’s roles at CCSD. The pandemic has made it difficult to forecast how much food is needed for this coming school year. It is still unknown when school is starting, how many students will be eating meals, or if the supply chain will be impacted.
CCSD is currently operating under the Summer Food Service Program which allows meals to be served to children from 2-18. All children are able to utilize this program, not just CCSD students. This has significantly increased the amount of meals they are able to provide to the community. They have now served over 4 million meals in just a matter of months!
These two dietitians had to quickly adapt and change procedures once the pandemic started. Online platforms are being utilized as much as possible for meetings and training purposes. The pandemic also impacted how meals are served in the schools. All foods must now be packaged, changing the way open food, such as the salad bar, operate.
Lory recommends to pursue the field of dietetics you are most interested in but to also be flexible as new opportunities arise all the time. She reports she would never have thought she would end up in food service. Lory and Christina both love the outdoors and share a strong interest in camping.
Question of the Month: What is your favorite school cafeteria foods?
Do you know a fellow professional who makes a difference? Please email Newsletter@EatRightNevada.org or click here to nominate a member for a future spotlight.