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This consists of The Academy members nationwide who represent and act as liaisons to other members in their state and/or congressional district.

Public Policy Coordinator: Educates and engages affiliate members on federal legislative and public policy
issues, and coordinates grassroots activities. This role is the key connection between the Academy’s Policy Initiatives and Advocacy staff and affiliate leaders. The PPC leads and facilitates the public policy panel meetings and is responsible for annual submission of the affiliate public policy plan of work to Academy staff.

State Policy Representative: Monitors state legislation relevant to the affiliate and keeps affiliate members informed on key state legislative issues. The SPR takes the lead in coordinating meetings with the state legislators who serve on committees with jurisdiction over legislation impacting food, nutrition, health and licensure, and is often responsible for organizing an affiliate’s state legislative or lobby day with the support of others on the PPP.

State Regulatory Specialist: Leads state regulatory initiatives and works in coordination with the public policy panel to keep affiliate members informed. The SRS also identifies opportunities to provide input during the regulatory process to advance the Academy’s and the affiliate’s public policy priorities. This role may be the lead on issues relating to health care reform.

Affiliate President: The affiliate board point of contact for the public policy panel. This role provides leadership and guidance to the public policy panel. The AP is responsible for appointing members to the public policy panel who are not elected by the affiliate.

Consumer Protection Coordinator: Leads the affiliate’s consumer protection and licensure initiatives; advises and updates affiliate leaders and members on local, state-level and nationwide consumer protection issues. The CPC coordinates the reporting of professional success stories, incidents of harm or hypothetical harm and effective practice to responsible parties. This role monitors and advances state licensure activities, while maintaining key relationships with the state credentialing board and other parties related to state licensure.

Reimbursement Representative: Serves as coordinator of state-level or DPG-specific advocacy efforts to expand nutrition coverage polices in policies in public (Medicare, state Medicaid/MCOs, state employees) and commercial/private payer health plans. This role is the local resource for affiliate or DPG members who have questions about coding, coverage and payment issues. The RR reports to the public policy panel affiliate board or DPG executive committee and the Academy ‘s Nutrition Services Coverage team.

Affiliate Delegate: Represents the affiliate in the House of Delegates and ensures alignment of public policy activities with Academy legislative priorities.

ADAPAC: The Academy's political action committee. The AcademyPAC collects funds to be donated to political candidates who support The Academy's priorities.

The Academy's Policy Initiatives and Advocacy Team staff: This group of Academy staff members located in the Washington and Chicago offices works on food nutrition and health issues to influence policy at the federal, state and local levels.

District Legislative Chairs: Appointed leadership position cultivated by each district that serves to oversee issues important to their home stateand district.

TAKE ACTION on Important Issues Now!

Our Public Policy Panel is made up of our Public Policy Coordinator, State Policy Representative, State Regulatory Specialist, ALDA's President, the Reimbursement Representative(s), Consumer Protection Coordinator, and ALDA's Delegate. RDs with advocacy expertise in certain specialty areas are appointed to serve on an interim basis as needs and issues arise.

Public Policy Coordinator
Taylor Brown

State Policy Representative
Tammie Brown

State Regulatory Specialist
Mariane Atkins 

ALDA President
Julie Drzewiecki 


Reimbursement Representative
Janet Benefield, MS, RD, LD


Nutrition Services Payment Specialists

Laura Watson, RDN, CDCES


Desiree Walker, MS, RD, CSP, LD 


Consumer Protection Coordinator
Melissa Hughey, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

ALDA Executive Director
Larry Vinson
(334) 260-7970 | email

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