Congratulations to the recipients of the DIFM Excellence Awards and the DIFM Visionary Award

Excellence in Practice Award Winner, Lisa Dorfman MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND

Meet Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND

As The Running Nutritionist®, Lisa is leader to industry, Academia, the public & press for more than three decades. She has built a global Integrative Sports Nutrition & Performance Practice, consulting to Olympic gold medalists, professional tennis, football and baseball players & jockeys; collegiate & HS athletes & served as the US Sailing Olympic and Paralympics Team Nutritionist for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A consultant to Sony Entertainment Latin America, Lisa has worked with some of Hollywood’s Award-winning actors/actresses, young artists at The Juilliard School in New York City & Zumba® Plate Program.

An Integrative Nutritionist, and active DIFM member, Lisa was co-chair of of the DIFM Inaugural Certification committee, previously served on the nominations committee and recently provided a webinar on Integrative Sports Nutrition and Performance for members. She is Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, certified USAT&F & USA Triathlon Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, certified FNGLA horticulturist & Fellow of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and completed a four-year Integrative Clinical Nutrition program at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Formerly Director of Graduate Program in Nutrition for Health & Human Performance at The University of Miami, Lisa currently teaches online sports nutrition courses at

As a culinary consultant, & educator Lisa has created and launched spa cuisine, and kid’s cuisine programs for Sandals Resorts, Ritz Carlton Hotel & Bitter End Resorts BVI; taught culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University and serves as Chairperson of the MCI Advisory Board since ‘15. Lisa launched Miami’s first Farm- to- Table Performance Nutrition Delivery Service & co-founded the award winning global mobile app called cTHRUNutrition to help consumers find and select optimal foods at groceries and restaurants worldwide. She is currently a MCI culinary student and will complete a Chef Certificate program in ’18.

Lisa is the author of 8 books, numerous textbook chapters and has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN and publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside, Vegetarian Times, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Natural Health & Runners World magazines.  Lisa was a National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND); a three time DPG chair and was selected as a Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year. She currently serves as Country Representatives Director for the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA.)

Lisa is a competitive runner and triathlete who has competed in more than 35 marathons (PR 2:52:32), Ironman USA Lake Placid, and hundreds of running and multisport races. In 2004, she competed for the United States on Team USA at the World Long Distance Duathlon Championships. Lisa resides in Miami, Florida with her husband and is the mom of 3 children.

Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND-The Running Nutritionist®
Author: Legally Lean, Vegetarian Sports Nutrition Guide, Performance Nutrition for Tackling Stress
Chair-Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) Advisory Board
Country Rep Chairperson-American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA) Twitter@@FoodFitness

Excellence in Service Award Winner, Alicia Trocker MS, RDN, IFNCP

Meet Alicia Trocker MS, RDN,IFNCP

Alicia Trocker MS, RDN, IFNCP is in practice as the outpatient dietitian nutritionist at UCLA Health System and has a private practice in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. With a passion for counseling and teaching, she has a comprehensive practice that focuses on mindfulness, non-judgmental counseling, and balanced approaches to nutrition healthcare.

As a life long learner, she has been studying innovative approaches to integrative and functional nutritional medicine, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing. She holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition Through IFN Academy and is currently completing her Integrative Health Coaching Certification from Duke University.  She has also completed Mindfulness Meditation programs and meditated with Jon Kabat-Zinn at his Health Professional Symposium.  Alicia participated in the Mind/Body/Medicine program through The Center for Mind Body Medicine, and she has been studying EBT – Emotional Brain Training.

Aside from counseling patients, she is a preceptor for medical students, and created a patient nutrition counseling group called “Being In Balance.”   She speaks on a variety of nutrition related topics through UCLA and other venues. Alicia was a contributing author to the Binge Eating Workbook, by Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross, and, was a columnist for the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center Newsletter.

Alicia believes that volunteerism is an important way to honor all of our blessings.  To that end, she is a Past Chair and held a various Board positions with DIFM since 2009.   To honor her dear friend and all women, she was on the Organizing Committee for Run For Her, an international ovarian cancer charity whose mission it is to fund research for a diagnostic test, cure, and to empower women through education.

DIFM Visionary Award, Rita Batheja MS, RDN, CDN, FAND

Meet Rita Batheja, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, AFMCP

Rita was a key player in the formation of Nutrition in Complementary Care, recruiting individuals of like mind to join together to create the DPG that has become DIFM, says Kathy Moore-Gregory, RDN,LD,CCN. Her unique ability to engage individuals, and be very personal and sincere in her interactions, has enabled her to promote much positive change within the organization. She actively works to bring people together to achieve common good. Rita has the ability to be a very forward-thinker. Since she is a people-person, and basically has “never met a stranger”, Rita is not afraid to approach any individual or group to seek assistance, resolution, or actions. She is definitely a strong leader. Her amazing memory and attention to detail makes it possible for her to recall information that others easily forget, which I know has certainly served to benefit the DIFM DPG!

Rita does not seek the lime-light, but rather looks for ways to encourage, recognize, honor and promote deserving peers. Because of her actions, however, others have long recognized her many contributions and have thus honored her with many awards. Rita has traveled the world, literally, to promote nutrition, and nutrition professionals. She has represented our profession well to many ancillary medical and nutrition groups. She continuously upholds the highest professional standards. She is a woman of her word. Rita has devoted much time to mentoring students, physicians, RDNs, and other healthcare professionals over the entire span of her career. As such, she is a role model for many, as she promotes Integrative Nutrition to other professionals as well as the public. Rita has enjoyed being very involved in public policy, and has attended the Academy Public Policy Workshop for many years. She is tireless in her efforts to promote RDNs in the Medicare arena. Rita has been honored with many awards related to Legislative service. Rita takes every opportunity to promote RDNs to the public, to other health care professionals, to policy makers, and basically anyone that will listen! She has strongly held beliefs that she is not afraid to support, even in the face of opposition. One of Rita’s great accomplishments was soliciting contributors for the AAPI Nutrition Guide, an eBook for American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), titled AAPI’s Nutrition Guide to Optimal Health: Using Principles of Functional Medicine and Nutritional Genomics. This book was released in Parts 1 and 2, in 2012. Rita personally compiled all of the contributor’s information for this e-textbook. I know this was a labor of love, as she spent untold hours on this project. It has been widely distributed and is a valuable resource. She is now in process of an update of this text, so once again Rita is promoting the tenets of the DIFM mission…both integrative nutrition and RDNs who practice in this manner.

Rita initiated DIFM’s SOP/SOPP in 2008, who ultimately published the first Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for Integrative Nutrition in 2012. She has appeared in the media, has public speaking experience, and has done book reviews, all related to nutrition. Rita is truly an ambassador for good nutrition and for the Academy. Rita is an advocate for diversity within the Academy at every level. She has personally recruited many, likely hundreds, of members for both the Academy and for various DPGs. (I don’t know of any other Academy member who is a member of so many DPGs…and active in many of them!) She has repeatedly represented DIFM at nutrition conferences, workshops, etc. by hosting an exhibit booth and has been successful in using this venue for recruitment and education. She attends nutrition learning events very routinely, both across the US and internationally, and leaves her personal stamp of enthusiasm on many people at every single event. That is the one thing for which Rita outshines above all others: enthusiasm!

Rita is in a continual “marketing mode” for Integrative Nutrition and RDNs. She is never without business cards, brochures, or any other appropriate marketing tool to promote our profession. Rita is an annual face at the New York Stock Exchange bell-ringing opening, representing the Academy alongside other elected and appointed officials. Because her high level of involvement spans so many years, Rita has cultivated a very wide array of professional peers, associates, and friends, many of whom look to her as a key leader in our organization. Many recognize in Rita that old adage: “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. Well, that’s Rita! This very busy woman gets the job done, every time.

I truly believe that Rita Batheja is a very deserving candidate for the Visionary Award, as her foresight as an early pioneer in integrative nutrition and dedication to furthering “our cause” has really helped DIFM become the strong DPG is it today. Also, her endless promotion of integrative nutrition, and Integrative RDs, across the globe, has helped the DIFM name become well known in many circles. In reading the criteria for the Visionary Award, I realize that these words specifically describe Rita: “…exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication and leadership in developing and advancing the principles and practice of integrative and functional nutrition and is a catalyst for positive change.” Rita sets the bar high for professionalism, dedication, and effort. Few could meet or exceed her achievements, and none could exceed her devotion to our profession and colleagues. It is an honor to call her my friend.

Words of appreciation for Rita from several DIFM EC members reveal the giving nature of her character:

From: Sarah Harding Laidlaw, MS, RDN, CDE

Rita has been a champion for the inclusion of integrative and functional medicine into the Academy since the first day I remember seeing her in 1997, encouraging Academy members to sign the petition to add a practice group with this focus. She worked tirelessly to help make this occur, along with numerous other thought leaders in the field. And yes, she is a thought leader, as well as a founding member of the DPG.  Rita is passionate about IFM and practices it in her own daily life as well as professionally. She is a wealth of knowledge in many aspects of IFM and promotes the concepts within other activities and DPGs she is involved with. She is aware that IFM is the way of the future; in fact, I think she was aware of this even before it the DPG came to fruition. This is one reason why she lobbied so vigorously for a practice group that focuses on this discipline.

From: Deborah Ford, RDN, CCN, NP

Rita and I have had a long relationship through the Academy’s dietetic practice group (DPG), first when it was called Nutrition in Complementary Care (NCC) and then though Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine (DIFM). We worked together through many chair positions and the writing and subsequent publication of the Standards of Practice and the Standards of Professional Performance. She was always tireless, professional and a positive force that was a true pleasure to work with. She saw the vision of what DIFM could truly be and tirelessly sought out other skilled professionals and mentored them as they developed the capacity and desire to volunteer for a leadership position in DIFM.

She saw in others, the skills, talents and potential that they didn’t yet see in themselves. She mentored those talents in others and always served DIFM is a selfless and true servant to the group that I have not seen in anyone else. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Rita, and came to know her as a truly valuable asset to DIFM. The DPG would not be where it is today without her heartfelt and passion for the mission of the organization. Rita is visionary who saw the potential dietitians to take a larger role in healthcare. Food truly is medicine to her and her enthusiasm to bring that message to the public with the dietitian-nutritionist at the center of her personal mission. Beyond that, she is an impressive boldness who is always seeing a larger role for the practice group. Rita always saw opportunities that DIFM could grow, teach, mentor, and influence the next generation of dietitians and then found time and energy to encourage each dietitian/nutritionist she met.

From: Diana Noland, MPH, RDN, CCN, LD

In reflecting on the word “visionary”, it is the most accurate description of the amazing person of Rita Batheja. There are not many of us that reach a level of vision that impact on a global scale, but Rita is one of those with a passion for a vision of positioning nutrition and functional medicine as a foundation in all healthcare worldwide. And for a visionary to take action and accomplish implementation and development of a vision, one must have a gift for developing relationships that build a community to join in the vision, and that gift Rita has in a level I have hardly recognized before. I have experienced her tireless, focused work in DIFM and other DPGs and interest groups to bring vision into reality. And it is important to recognize the tremendous support of her amazing husband Kashi, whom I am always aware of behind the scenes creating the atmosphere for Rita to function.

I have known of Rita since the early days of the founding of DIFM (Nutrition in Complementary Care) and later was privileged to know her as a friend. I have experienced her kindness, her selfless untiring support of so many Academy and AAPI goals, her vision, her accomplishments over the past decade, and astonished at how she can reach in someone’s heart and make connections, and pull them into join in her vision. In fact, many times I have thought and heard comments from others, “How did Rita do that?” How did she get that book written with a team of authors who are almost impossible to connect with and get results?”

Rita has been a kind, persistent force to bring DIFM to the greatness it is in 2017 as she markets our value, and works behind the scenes at the Academy spreading the word of integrative and functional medicine. She knows all the right people, beyond what one can imagine, and knows how to bring them into support of her vision. It is one thing to have a vision, be a visionary, but another more powerful ability to accomplish the vision.


This is an opportunity to honor your peers for their leadership and service to both DIFM and our profession, and to recognize outstanding practice skills in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

Excellence in Service Award
The purpose of the Excellence in Service Award is to recognize an individual who has demonstrated leadership and service as a member of the DIFM DPG.  This $500 award is awarded to a leader in the profession, who has served the DIFM DPG over the course of time in specific capacities to help achieve the mission, goals, and work of the DPG.  Through their service, this individual has promoted both dietetics professionals and the advancement of integrative and functional nutrition.

Excellence in Practice Award
The purpose of the Excellence in Practice Award is to recognize a DIFM member who has demonstrated extraordinary skill in practice. This $500 award is given to a practitioner with commitment to the science, skills, and art of integrative and functional nutrition. Through this commitment, exceptional skill in practice is shown in medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, whole foods, dietary supplements, and/or natural healing modalities.

DOWNLOAD: DIFM EXCELLENCE AWARDS Criteria and Biographical Form

Outstanding Student Award
To recognize an individual student who has demonstrated extraordinary skills and commitment in the practice of integrative and functional nutrition including nutritional genomics, whole foods, dietary supplements, and/or natural healing modalities. Nominees will be considered for this award based on: active participation and leadership in DIFM DPG, promotion of DIFM DPG outside the practice group, involvement in other dietetic organizations that promote the registered dietitian in integrative and functional nutrition practice, and / or contributions to research in the area of integrative and functional nutrition.
$500 awarded to chosen recipient.

DOWNLOAD: DIFM STUDENT AWARD Criteria and Biographical Form

Visionary Award 
The purpose of this award is to recognize a DIFM member who has done revolutionary work related to advancements in research, clinical practice or education, and has a compelling vision for the future of integrative and functional nutrition practice that inspires and encourages others. The recipient exhibits creative thinking and a unique approach in practice, leading to innovation, and demonstrates leadership and advocacy. He or she has contributed to the advancement of the Integrative RDN, other health professionals, and consumers and has demonstrated a positive influence among their colleagues and those they serve. The recipient exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication and leadership in developing and advancing the principles and practice of integrative and functional nutrition and is a catalyst for positive change. $1500 awarded to the chosen recipient.

DOWNLOAD: DIFM VISIONARY AWARD Criteria and Biographical Form


Instructions and Timeline for Nominations for DIFM Awards:

1. Nominees complete the Award Application and Biographical Form, and submit these forms and the nominee’s curriculum vitae to support the nomination.
2. Final application, biographical information and curriculum vitae must be received by April 30, 2017.

3. Selection will be made by May 30, 2017.
4. The award recipient will be notified by email and announced in the DIFM newsletter, The Integrative RDN.
5. Email all forms to Nominating Committee Members:
Chair, Aarti Batavia at
Chair-Elect, Stephanie Harris at
Nominating Committee Member, Betsy Redmond at