Hello MDA members!
In reflecting on the recent increased publicity and subsequent scrutiny by independent parties regarding AND activities, it is very possible we will all be receiving questions and seeing similar publications. Please be sure to read the rebuttal by our national president, as well as the resources the Academy has provided on its corporate sponsorship program and the misinformation contained in the third party report, and keep these comments in mind as you respond professionally and courteously. It is vitally important that Missouri Dietitians provide accurate information while maintaining high levels of sincerity and integrity as we respond.
We must assure the people of Missouri that Registered Dietitians are here to protect and serve the public health. We work with industry and many not-for-profit groups to encourage accuracy and science-based nutrition information and application. Missouri Dietitians are the only group of volunteers in the state whose function is to protect and serve the public’s nutrition health. As an affiliate of AND, we have representation with AND in the body of delegates which scrutinizes and reviews policy and strategic plans. The work of this group of volunteers is transparent and available to the public through the MDA Advocate which can be viewed on our website.
For our hard-working district associations, we have prepared an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-approved list of talking points for the use of your organization’s members. Before publishing any articles as a group, please forward your article to MDA so we can get AND approval first. We will turn this around as quickly as AND responds to us.
Key talking points for MDA members in response (only) to direct questioning by friends, neighbors, and associates:
1) The recent articles published with concerns about AND corporate sponsorship reflect opinions of the authors. We are thankful to live in a country where everyone has the right to have and verbalize an opinion.
2) We appreciate that these individuals are willing to share their concerns, however the spread of misinformation is what is most damaging to our profession.
3) The Academy does have a corporate sponsorship program that includes collaborations with not-for-profit groups, consumer advocacy groups, and research foundations in addition to industry partners.
4) Registered Dietitians work with all of these groups in an effort to encourage accurate information, consistent messages, and translate science and research to practical lifestyle applications.
5) Missouri Dietetics Association and its members collaborate with other organizations in Missouri to promote good nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles.
6) The Registered Dietitians who run for the volunteer position of Delegate are screened by MDA, elected by Registered Dietitians, and are passionately representing the interest of Missourians. This includes being verbal and pro-active at the AND level to assure accurate and nutrition-focused policy and strategic planning remain high priorities for the Academy.
7) Please note the comments below taken directly from Ethan Bergman:
“…You will see that the report is a mixture of facts – most of which were obtained from publicly accessible pages on the Academy’s website – and opinion and speculation on the author’s part.
For example, of 67 references at the end of the report, at least 24 (more than one-third) consist of links to the Academy and the Foundation’s websites; the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s website; and research articles published by Academy members. Many of the report’s references are to previous blog postings by the author herself…”.
Remember to respond with understanding and respect to whoever asks questions of you. Missouri Dietitians must remain a calming, resolute voice that reassures Missourians that the Registered Dietitians of the state of Missouri are solely focused to ensure the accurate nutrition facts and transparency in food and health claims to protect and serve public health needs.
Janice A. Rambo, MS, RD, LD, MDA President
Sarah J Eber, MPH, RD, CDE, LD, MDA President-Elect
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