Welcome new members, and for our continuing members, welcome back!

I am thrilled to serve as your California Academy President for 2022-2023. To date, nearly 6,500 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), Nutrition Dietetic Technicians Registered (NDTRs), and students are part of our organization. Considering the vast number of nutrition professionals in California, we have the potential to be one of the most influential state affiliates. We are looking to members like you to revolutionize the dietetic profession and lead the way in improving the health of Californians, especially post pandemic. One way you can develop and enhance your leadership skills is by attending our upcoming Leadership Summit, Leading in Crucial Times – The New Normal of Connecting and Strengthening in San Diego, CA August 19th-20th, 2022. Speaker proposals are now being accepted and conference registration will be open in June.

As a daughter of immigrant parents, I understand the value in moving our organization towards inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (I.D.E.A.) and know firsthand the challenges many women of color face when becoming an RDN. Last year, our executive board created a Vice President of I.D.E.A. position – a proposal generated during a virtual member listening session in 2020 to address the lack of diversity among dietetic professionals. We will continue our commitment to support I.D.E.A. by working closely with members to foster a culture that addresses implicit bias and promotes equity, respect, and civility. Our goal is to increase member involvement from all genders, racial/ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, disability status and socioeconomic levels. Additionally, support and mentor historically marginalized and underrepresented students by removing barriers to entering and completing dietetics education and training.

Lastly, I wanted to remark on the devastating impact of the infant formula shortage across the nation. No baby should ever experience hunger. It is truly heartbreaking hearing stories about babies admitted to the NICU for malnutrition and online sellers increasing formula prices by nearly 300%. If you or someone you know have been affected by this crisis, resources are available through the Academy’s Infant Formula Safety Hub. We also invite you to read more about the Academy’s advocacy efforts and how you can get engaged on this issue.

I look forward to working with you and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together. Cheers to a successful year and good health!

Fatinah Darwish-Elsherbiny, MPH, RDN
CA Academy President 2022-2023