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Ask The Sage

October 8, 2020

Greetings members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics!

With just over a week away, many of us are gearing up for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics first ever Virtual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I could not be more excited to be part of the team, the Committee for Lifelong Learning (CLL), that is spearheading this momentous endeavor.

My name is Zach Breeding, the current Chair of the CLL. Because of the change in platform, and to engage all levels of membership, I felt a "live" blog would be a fun and interactive way to share a behind the scenes look into the first ever Virtual FNCE.

The CLL has been meeting virtually bimonthly to discuss the best ways to offer a virtual experience that meets the needs of our membership. FNCE 2020 will be like no other – and why should it? COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with each other socially, how we work together professionally, and the methods of which we deliver nutrition therapy and recommendations to
individuals and communities alike. The Academy leadership of the CLL has been working tirelessly to create a virtual experience that (1) looks incredible (2) introduces new ways of interacting and (3) offers the same high-level educational presentations known for advancing the skills of
Registered Dietitians, N
utrition and Dietetic Technician Registered (NDTR), dietetic interns, and students. To put it lightly – our virtual platform looks pretty cool!

Our committee’s mission has always been to offer educational sessions that are impactful to our members, but also ones that are timely and touch on the hot topics of the moment(s) leading up the FNCE. It is not uncommon practice for our team to develop a session based on new and
emerging data weeks prior to the conference. With this said, we recognize the growing needs of nutrition professionals to learn more about the nutrition implications of COVID-19. Despite the plethora of webinars and information we have introduced through, we plan to offer the most recent data and findings at FNCE as we continue to navigate this novel pandemic.

I would also like to recognize the lack of diversity among the dietetic community. It is no secret that, according to data from CDR, approximately 80% of dietitians are Caucasian, 3% are Black/African American, 4% are Hispanic/Latino, and 4% Asian. The Black Lives Matter movement has introduced many opportunities for our profession to look inward and make essential changes to how we support our members and communities of color. We are working diligently with the Academy’s Diversity Committee, Diversify Dietetics, and other stakeholders to not only ensure that diverse voices are
represented on the national stage, but considerations around implicit bias and the needs of communities of color are acknowledged and examined. These adjustments to how we present information and data at FNCE will surpass 2020 and be interwoven into our session offerings for years to come.

We hope this year’s FNCE presents you with more opportunities to engage and connect with other nutrition professionals, allows students to network in new ways, and introduces many more members to innovative educational experiences than ever before. Though we are not sure what the future may hold in today’s unpredictable world, we can promise that FNCE will continue to create a welcoming and educational space for all nutrition professionals to learn and grow in novel ways as we embark on this next journey of dietetics. “See” you in the coming weeks!

Cheers and Salutations,

Zachari Breeding, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN, FAND

Chair, Committee for Lifelong Learning 2020-2021

#FNCE #eatrightpro #blacklivesmatter

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