February 12, 2016
By: Olivia Wagner
As your Public Policy Advocacy Leader (PAL), I want to share with you what I do for DIFM on behalf of all our members and why staying abreast and proactive on public policy issues should be a true priority for each and every one of us.
I serve as a communication liaison between the Academy and DIFM on all matters of public policy. What exactly does this mean? I am able to share a multitude of opportunities to showcase our expertise and allow our voices to be heard. This may be on topics of policy and regulation at the national level or subjects that are most relevant to your area of practice. Your opinions and expertise on important topics such as supplements, GMO’s, organic foods, and the scope of practice for dietitians affect us all.
As DIFM members, we have an opportunity to make some real changes happen. We can advance the area of integrative nutrition and dietetics, while advocating for our profession and the health of our nation!
4 Simple Ways You Can Help
ACT on Action Alerts
The Academy Action Alerts allow each of us to send our legislature a pre-drafted letter encouraging support for an area of nutrition advocacy. Over the past 5 months, DIFM member participation in Action Alerts has ranged from 2.8% - 14.9%. I think we can top that. These action alerts only takes a few minutes and each additional letter shows congress how important the issue at hand is. Notifications for new Action Alerts will be shared over the DIFM EML. Keep in mind the alerts are often time sensitive and every additional letter counts. Click a button, sign your name, send it off, make an impact, it couldn’t be easier.
Tweet & Re-tweet
What better way to let our voice be heard than via social media. Share posts and your thoughts with not only fellow dietitians, but with your congressmen. The more strategic and purposeful our message as a professional community, the more likely we will be seen and heard. Find your congressman by clicking HERE.
The Academy often requests comments on specific recommendations and regulation changes that they are submitting to congress. You have the ability to provide your feedback. These opportunities will be communicated to those who possess expertise in a given area. If you feel you are an expert on a subject, let DIFM know. In the next few months we will be surveying members to identify and record individuals to serve as content and comment experts. Keep your eyes out for the survey.
One way we can all contribute to nutrition advocacy is to provide support to those who are committed to making our voices heard. The Academy’s Political Action Committee (ANDPAC) collects contributions from members to fund support for pro-nutrition political candidates. With these members in office, the opportunity for nutrition regulation reform and support is present. In February, DIFM challenges you to pass on a barista styled coffee shop beverage just once or twice and donate that money to the ANDPAC fund. With your donation you will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift card to Starbucks.
I leave you with a few wise words shared with me at the 2015 Public Policy Workshop in Washington D.C. “If food, nutrition and dietetics are your profession, then policy should be your passion.”
Let’s use our voices and knowledge to push for the changes we would like to see in our national nutrition policy and profession. Thank you all for your continued work and support. Stay tuned for more public policy updates on the blog.
Olivia Wagner is DIFM's Policy Advocacy Leader and a Chicago based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and Certified Health Coach. Olivia passionately believes health is a positive vitality-NOT just the absence of disease. She has a knack for developing easy-to-prepare, flavor rich, wholesome recipes with the power to guide healing from the inside out. She takes an integrative, food as medicine, approach to coaching each of her clients emphasizing mindfulness and the power of plant-focused nutrition to achieve holistic health.