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MAND 2024 Spring Newsletter

Letter from Our President

Hello MAND members! I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer and longer days of Spring. As my term as president draws to a close, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and reflection. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve MAND and its dedicated members over the past year.

I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up the year than at our annual conference in Bar Harbor! This year’s conference, Embracing Change; The Future of Dietetics, was filled with amazing speakers on various and evolving topics, research practice briefs, and loads of networking. Thank you to our speakers and sponsors for helping make the event possible. Also, a HUGE thank you goes out to the conference planning committee for working tirelessly during the year to bring the conference to fruition. Can’t wait for next year’s event!

I also want to thank the whole MAND Board of Directors for their work this year. Each committee has worked hard this year and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. For those who are staying, I look forward to working with you more next year and for those who are moving on, it was a pleasure and I hope to work with you again in the future. To our Past President, Sue Sullivan, thank you! I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your dedicated leadership and service. Your passion, vision, and tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on our organization and the profession as a whole.

Thank you to the Public Policy Panel who has worked on numerous things this year. Some of their accomplishments include supporting the appointment of two dietetic licensure board positions, meeting with Sen. King’s office to discuss MNT reintroduction and Treatment to Reduce Obesity Act, awarding the public policy leadership award to Representative Noonan-Murphy, holding the 2024 legislative event, and providing comment for compact licensure drafting.

Our communications committee has also worked hard to provide MAND members with information all year long via social media, eblasts, and newsletters. Our awards and nominations committee worked hard on our elections, awards, and scholarships. More info on award and scholarship recipients will be Our membership committee worked and supported this year’s Foodie Forum event! Again, thank you all for your hard work this year!

As many of you may know, we have also had a strategic planning committee in place. This committee did a deep dive into all things MAND– it held focus groups, conducted surveys, and completed an internal scan to update MAND’s mission/vision statement and create goals to better suit the needs of members. With this information, three goals with a timeline have been set. Those goals, in no particular order are- MAND will work to empower our members to advocate for their clients and patients, but also for themselves;  MAND will provide benefits and resources to help members expand their skills and advocate on behalf of the nutrition and dietetics profession with elected officials, healthcare organizations, and insurance companies; MAND will work to identify challenges facing the people of Maine and identify opportunities for MAND and its members to improve the health and wellbeing of our fellow citizens. MAND will also continue to engage in public policy and advocacy efforts, identify collaboration opportunities, and promote community programs for members to participate in that will benefit the citizens of Maine.

MAND is committed to success in a changing world. MAND’s focus is on understanding organizational limitations while maximizing the potential of our volunteer leaders, organizational partnerships, and financial resources. MAND’s leaders commit to creative change to help increase how effectively member and public benefits are delivered.

Thank you to all of the members who participated, we heard you! This committee has some brief work left in this board year but will have the new Mission and Vision statement ready by the 2024-2025 board year!

As I pass the torch to our incoming President, Laurie Copithorne, I have full confidence in her ability to continue advancing the goals and objectives of MAND. I encourage you to offer them your support and collaboration as they embark on this new chapter. Thank you for a great year, see you next year as your Past President!


Sarah Gilbert, MS, RD, LD

MAND President 2023-2024


MAND Member Spotlight:

Paul A. Blakeslee, MS, RD-AP, LD, CNSC 

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Paul Blakeslee and I’ve been a registered dietitian for sixteen years. I grew up in Vermont and my first job was working on a farm which is where I came to appreciate the importance of local produce. I attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island with the intent to go into the restaurant world; however, one of the core classes was a nutrition class, and was hooked. I continued to work at a small Vermont inn but took advantage of opportunities to volunteer and shadow at Hasbro Children’s Hospital where the RDs there were welcoming and wonderful teachers. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in culinary nutrition and went back to Vermont to work at the University of Vermont Medical Center. I told them I had full intent of going on for my dietetic internship, so they let me do everything, mixing formulas, checking tray line, working in call center, delivering trays, and thickening liquids to nectar or honey thick consistency, among other things. I moved to Boston to complete my dietetic internship and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which was heavy on the clinical and nutrition support. At that point I knew I wanted to go to the clinical side of things. I worked as a reserve (travel) dietitian for a while filling in three months at a time at various hospitals around the Boston area.

Eventually, I met my (now) wife and she brought me up to Maine where we’ve lived since 2009 when Maine Medical Center hired me. I recently completed my Master of Science in Applied Nutrition from the University of New England. I am  one of the senior clinical dietitians coordinating the nutrition support team and also covering the neurocritical care ICU at Maine Medical Center. I have my Certified Nutrition Support Clinician and Advanced Practitioner Certification in Clinical Nutrition board certifications. I live in Cape Elizabeth with my wife, 10-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, and our pet regal jumping spider, Meep. I love doing things with the kids, running, biking, and of course, cooking.

Why did you choose to practice in Maine?

My wife lived in Portland at the time and when we were dating, I spent a lot of time up here and grew to love it. I set my sights on Maine Medical Center after attending their nutrition symposium to see what they were all about. I remember leaving thinking how innovative in practice and collaborated with other disciplines. Additionally, I like things like trees, being outside, and not sitting in traffic. 

What is your favorite food?

Fresh sliced tomatoes, burrata, basil, with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and bread. 

What are some of the favorite things about your current job(s)?

I love learning and in my job part of the role of the senior clinical dietitians (there’s one adult, one pediatric) are to support others in the department with clinical questions. I enjoy that I get to learn along with them. There’s an incredibly talented team in our department so there’s a lot to learn from people no matter what their experience. Every single person brings a strength. I love being surrounded by that. I also love spreadsheets. Another part of the job is keeping track of the various metrics we follow as a department so we can see our progress and keep getting better at what we do. I’m the report wrangler. 

Do you have any advice for new dietitians, dietetic interns, or students?

Ask questions; specifically, ask those in other disciplines questions. Learn how what you do impacts what they do as a clinician and what they do impacts you. Respect that they are the content expert in their field and absolutely, positively do not forget that you as the nutrition clinician, are the content expert in your field. Even if you’re still a student you still most likely have far more nutrition education than most other clinicians outside nutrition. Be confident in what you know, even if you’re just starting your journey.  If you’re presented with an opportunity to find something you haven’t learned yet, take advantage of that opportunity and figure it out. That’s why they call it practicing nutrition science.  If you do work in a hospital, be present on the floors and get to know other members of the care team. It helps you be more available to your patients, questions from staff, and will make you the go-to for all things nutrition. If you’re not there then they’ll look to someone else as a resource. 


MAND Public Policy Update

Hello from the Public Policy Panel! The PPP has been feeling electric about this past fiscal year due to the successes from the 2024 legislative event, excitement surrounding the dietetic licensure compact and from the anticipation for a new fiscal year.

2024 Legislative Event

This year the legislative event focused on the role of the RDN in rural healthcare. We were exceptionally grateful for Eileen Molloy, RDN, the featured speaker of the event. She provided education regarding the necessary training and role of the dietitian, as well her previous experience serving as a RDN in a rural location. We were also honored to present the Public Policy Leadership Award to Representative Kelley Murphy-Noonan. Representative Murphy-Noonan was honored due to her contributions in sponsoring  and cosponsoring several bills including:

  • LD 603: An Act to Make Electric Breast Pumps More Accessible by Providing for MaineCare Reimbursement

  • LD 999: An Act to Support Family Caregivers by Expanding Family Medical Leave

  • LD 287: An Act to Support Parents by Providing a Sales Tax Exemption for Diapers


We hope to work with Representative Murphy-Noonan in the future to promote nutrition efforts. This year we also met with Representative Kristi Mathieson, the only registered dietitian nutritionist to serve, representing Kittery. We applaud Representative Mathieson for her advocacy efforts and look forward to working with her in the future. We would also like to extend our appreciation to all MAND members who attended. Your devotion in advancing nutrition policy in Maine is not without appreciation.


Dietetic Licensure Compact

MAND’s PPP continuously works to advocate for the dietetic licensure compact for registered dietitian nutritionists. Our aim as a Public Policy Panel is to introduce the dietetic licensure compact in the next legislative session. The compact will allow RDNs to have licenses in multiple states, without enduring the traditional, strenuous process of applying for multiple licenses for multiple states. This is specifically beneficial for those in the military or military spouses, or RDNs with clientele in multiple states. To keep up to date on all information, both MAND’s state policy representative and the public policy coordinator have attended monthly meetings regarding licensure held by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Interested in volunteering?

The Public Policy Panel has two upcoming volunteer opportunities. Please refer to the descriptions below for more information.

  1. State Regulatory Specialist - The state regulatory specialist is responsible for monitoring state regulatory changes that can affect dietetic practice. The state regulatory specialist will play a crucial role in advocating for the interests of registered dietitians, dietetic technicians, registered, and nutrition services within the state regulatory landscape.

  2. Nutrition Service Payment Specialist - The main roles of the nutrition payment specialist include: (1) communicating MAND’s activities related to reimbursement issues to the Academy’s Reimbursement Team, (2) sharing success stories through newsletters or presentations to members and (3) promoting the collection of cost/benefit and cost-effectiveness data, while being proactive in encouraging members to conduct studies and report results through the Academy’s publications or medical journals.


Interested in dipping your toes into policy, but not sure where to start?

The Maine Public Policy Panel welcomes all levels of advocacy - the more the merrier! The Academy provides multiple educational resources to help refresh your memory regarding the legislative process. We’re always looking for new members, whether you’re a student, newly credentialed dietitian or an expert in the field, all volunteers are welcome. For more information about the panel, please reach out to Kayla at She’d be happy to answer any of your questions.



MAND Spring Conference 2024

The MAND annual conference convened in Bar Harbor on Friday, April 26. Over 100 attendees, including members, students, and non-members, seized the opportunity to enrich their knowledge, earn CPE credits, and foster invaluable connections with peers. Preceding the conference on Thursday evening, attendees had another chance to socialize at the networking event at Blaze, also in Bar Harbor.

This year's conference, "Embracing Change: The Future of Dietetics," was reflected in the forward-thinking agenda. Four main sessions challenged traditional notions, sparking new ideas and approaches. Here are the highlights from the 2024 MAND Conference:

  • Rebecca Schubert, MS, RDN, NBC-HWC, kicked off the day with her captivating presentation, "Cultivating Resilience to Avoid Burnout."

  • Drew Hemler, MSc, RD, CDN, FAND, a renowned expert in his field, enlightened the audience “A Dietitian's Guide to Gender-Affirming Nutrition Care: Education, Counseling & Clinical Considerations."

  • Kristine Kittridge, MS, RD, LD, challenged old-school thinking with her discourse, "Why Weight? Considerations for a Paradigm Shift from Weight-Centric Care to Weight-Inclusive Care"

  • Heidi Schauster, MS, RD, LDN, CEDS-S, SEP, ended the conference with a bang, presenting "Nurture: How To Raise Kids Who Love Food, Their Bodies, and Themselves." 

  • New to this year's conference: Research and Practice Brief Sessions. Two sessions featured seven compelling presenters discussing clinical and community nutrition topics. Topics included: 

  • "GLOW: Guiding Lifemakers on Wellness a Community-Based Participatory Approach to Perinatal Wellness" with Leigh Neptune, MS, RDN

  • "Maine Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC)" with Ginger Roberts-Scott, LSW

  • "Increasing access to locally sourced foods through Tailored Farm Shares: A Pilot Study for WIC participants in Hancock County" with Rebecca MacLean MS, RD, CSO, LD

  • "Partnering with College Students to Develop a Tailored, Wellness-Focused Intervention for University Campuses" with Emma Watras, BS

  • "Implementing Medical Nutrition Therapy as a Standard Practice of Care for the Treatment of Chronic and Evolving Wounds: A Program Proposal" with Lily Brickman, MS, RD, LD

  • "Northern Light Surgical Weight Loss Bariatric Surgery" with Emily Lavertu, MS, LD, RDN

  • "Implementation of Metabolic Evaluation Program at Southern Maine Health Care" with Suzanne Landry, MS, RDN, LD


MAND Board Transition

You can see who is on the MAND Board now and their roles on our website. The new term for MAND Board members starts on June 1st and with that transition some of us will stay on in our current positions, we say goodbye and thank you to others, and welcome new people to the MAND board. 

Congratulations to our newly elected and appointed 2024-2025 Board Members!


President-elect- Jane Sylvestre

Delegate:  Kristine Kittridge

Treasurer:  Linda Russell

Appointed Positions:

Student representative: Lydia Roy

Membership:  Amy McClellan

Food insecurity: Rebecca Smith, Sue Sullivan, & Pat Watson (Chair)

Conference Chair:  Amelia Sullivan

Meet our New Additions to the MAND Board!

Rebecca Smith: lives in Van Buren, up north in Aroostook County. I am employed by Fish River Rural Health as an outpatient Dietitian and will be joining the Food Insecurity Committee.

Lydia Roy: “I am from Monmouth, ME and I am currently a Food Science and Human Nutrition undergraduate student at the University of Maine. Recently, I was accepted into the combined Master’s/Dietetic Internship program at UMaine and will be completing my thesis under Jade McNamara. I am excited to be serving on the MAND board as the Student Representative for the upcoming year."

Amy McClellan: I live in Eliot, Maine, which is on the border of New Hampshire near Dover.  I am looking forward to rejoining the MAND Board, I was President 2013-2014.  As Membership committee member and eventually Chair, advocacy for membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with professionals is well established. The growth and strength of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists as the leading professionals in nutrition must also include educating our co-workers, our clients, and the public on the Academy.   

Linda Russell:  After working for 24 years, Linda retired 14 months ago from working at the Bridgton Hospital as a Clinical Dietitian and primary instructor for the DSMES program. She continues to work as a Consulting Dietitian at Genesis Mineral Springs in North Conway, NH on a part time basis.  She lives in Fryeburg with her husband Elbridge, and they have 3 grown children, 4 grandchildren and a new granddaughter due next month. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, baking for church bake sales and preparing crafts for their family exhibition at the Fryeburg Fair.



2024 MAND Awards

Each year MAND chooses award recipients from among our outstanding members to recognize their contributions to our profession and our state. We are pleased to announce the 2024 winners of the Maine Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  annual nutrition and dietetic awards.

Outstanding Dietetic Student- This award is given to students enrolled in an ACEND-accredited dietetics education program, who has demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and professional potential. Congratulations to these students!

Undergraduate: Lydia Roy. Dietetic Intern: Emalee Harrington, Graduate: Kayla Raymond 


Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year- This award is given to an RDN 35 years of age or younger who is active in the national, state, or district academy who demonstrated concern for the promotion of optimal health and nutritional status of the population and leadership.  Congratulations to: Leigh Neptune

Emerging Dietetic Leader- This award is given to a RDN or DTR who has practiced 5-10 years and is active in the Academy (national, state, or district). The recipient demonstrates concern for the health & nutritional status of the population and exhibits leadership. Congratulations to:  Rebecca Maclean

Outstanding Dietitian of the Year- This award is given to an RDN who is active in the national, state, or district Academy who has demonstrated leadership in the field of nutrition. Congratulations to:  Jane Sylvestre


Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year–This award is given to an DTR who is active in the national, affiliate, or district academy who has demonstrated concern for promoting optimal health and nutritional status of the population and leadership. Congratulations to: Shari Bowden



MAND Updates

Connect with us!

MAND communicates with members through several channels. 

  • This newsletter is sent out four times a year via email and posted to our website.

  • We have a website  In addition to the information available to the public and non-members, there is a members only section to the website with the password of “strategy”.  If you have nutrition news to share with other members, take advantage of the submission button from this members section of the website.

  • MAND also sends out information via email to members.  You can look for this twice a month-about the 10th and 25th of the month.

  • We have a Facebook account that you can follow at

  • And, we have a Linked-In page -

Join us on all of our platforms!


2024 MAND Scholarship Recipients


2024 MAND Undergraduate  Scholarship Recipient- Lydia Roy

Lydia Roy has been awarded the 2024 MAND Scholarship for her outstanding academic performance and commitment to nutrition and dietetics. With a GPA of 3.7, Lydia's dedication to learning at the University of Maine, Orono, has been exemplary. Her involvement in extracurricular activities such as the Nutrition Club and volunteer work at Monmouth United Methodist Church showcases her leadership skills and passion for community nutrition. Lydia's acceptance into the Graduate Program in Nutrition at UMaine further solidifies her commitment to advancing the field. Congratulations, Lydia, on this well-deserved honor!


2024 MAND Graduate Scholarship Recipient- Kayla Parsons

Kayla Parsons is celebrated as the recipient of the 2024 MAND Scholarship for her exceptional achievements and dedication to food and nutrition sciences. As a third-year graduate student at the University of Maine with a GPA of 3.9, Kayla's academic prowess is evident. Her active involvement in nutrition organizations and research, including roles as a Graduate Research Assistant, demonstrates her commitment to shaping nutrition policy and practice. Kayla's passion for teaching, mentorship, and volunteer work further exemplifies her dedication to improving public health outcomes. Congratulations, Kayla, on this well-deserved recognition!


What's New - The Academy

Renew Your Membership with the Academy and MAND!

As a new membership year is about to start, now is a great time to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you join, your annual dues includes membership in a state affiliate of your choosing. For a limited time, if you specify Maine as your affiliate, the rebate funds that we receive for your membership will be provided to MAND at a boosted percentage (30% versus 20% of AND dues). 

To help MAND receive this benefit, please specify the following promo code when joining the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Promo code- ME25. The funds we receive from AND support our MAND Board activities, which focus on providing member benefits.  We look forward to you joining us!


Join the Academy Foundation Charity Bib Runner Team for Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is taking place during the 2024 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo®. The Academy Foundation has limited charity bibs for both the 10 Miler and Marathon on October 6. If you will be attending FNCE® or want to run, join our team as a charity bib runner, commit to fundraising and our Foundation will provide support and incentives to help you along the way and through the finish line. Learn More


Call for Late-Breaking FNCE® Abstracts

The Academy is seeking abstracts to be presented during poster sessions at the 2024 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo®, to be held October 5 to 8 in Minneapolis, Minn. This is a great opportunity to present research that was not completed in time for the original call for abstracts. Late-breaking submissions will be accepted until May 31. Learn More


RDNs: Participate in the Clinician Information Survey 

The Clinician Information Surveys are now being sent out by Mathematica — if you receive this survey, please participate and share your feedback. The aggregated survey results will be used in support of fair and accurate clinician payment. Learn More

On-Demand Session: "Diet, Mental Health and Heart: Stepping Stones to Better Cardiovascular Health"

Learn about the psychological, physiological and behavioral changes that occur when mental health is not optimized — changes that can lead to increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This session also addresses how nutrition professionals can play a key role in addressing the importance of mental health and its impact on food choices and CV health, as well as ways patients or clients can improve their mental health and dietary choices for CV well-being. Learn More

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