How to Vote in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Elections

By Caroline Kohler

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) elections are open from February 1 – 15, 2020, and all Academy members are eligible to vote – including student members! It’s important to participate in the elections to decide who will lead the Academy over the next three years. But for many students, being part of a national professional organization is a new concept. 

Maybe you’re wondering how to vote in the AND election, what the positions mean, and how to pick a candidate. Here’s your guide to understanding the election! 

This guide can help you figure out your first election, and I hope it also inspires you to think about running for these positions in the future. (Someone’s gotta do it!) Take some time to read each candidates bio and watch their video. Also, as you’re deciding who to vote for, this is a great opportunity to read abbreviated resumes from some very accomplished RDs and think about all the ways you can be a leader in the field.

What positions are up for election?

The Academy Board of Directors (BOD), House of Delegates (HOD), Nominating Committee, and Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) all have positions in the election. Most Academy positions are 3-year terms, with three people serving in the same or similar roles. For example, each year the BOD includes the President, the President-Elect, and the most recent Past President. They each have specific duties and work together in a similar role. Each year, a new President-Elect is elected and the others move up in their roles.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board of Directors

The Board of Directors determines the strategic plan for the Academy, manages the finances, and advocates for the profession and health policy to the public and government bodies. It consists of 19 total members, five of whom are newly elected each year. 

The President oversees all of the committees within the Academy. She or he directs the strategic vision for the organization and serves as the Academy’s main spokesperson. Look for a candidate who has extensive leadership experience (including on the national level), has a strong vision for the future of dietetics, and is collaborative and inclusive.

The Treasurer manages the Academy’s finances – which is a multi-million dollar budget. The budget is used to provide resources for members, maintain accreditation, publish research, and advocate for the profession. Look for a candidate with experience with managing large budgets, who is efficient and detail-oriented.

The Director-at-Large promotes Academy resources and services and listens to the needs and desires of members. She or he also makes sure that the strategic plan is keeping up with today’s trends and proposes adjustments as needed. While the President is the person who manages all of the internal functions of the Academy at the national level, the Director-at-Large focuses on what’s going on at other levels of the Academy and in the broader world. Look for a candidate who thinks globally, can identify opportunities, and is a good problem-solver.

The House of Delegates Speaker facilitates conversations among the Delegates (read more below) and communicates between the HOD and BOD. She or he also appoints Academy committee members, of which there are many doing lots of different jobs. Look for a candidate who has group facilitation experience, communicates confidently, and can identify opportunities and issues for the profession.

The House of Delegates Director works with the Speaker to manage dialogues among members and guide the ideas proposed by the HOD. Look for a candidate who is a good communicator and has a broad understanding of the profession.

The Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee works to find the best future leaders for roles in the Academy. They develop a leadership pool, review nominations, and run the elections. Look for a candidate who is organized and objective and also has a strong network and passion for building teams.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates

The House of Delegates is similar to the US House of Representatives (but there’s no Senate equivalent). There are 105 members of the HOD: 

6 leaders (the Speakers and the Directors)

53 affiliate representatives (one from each of the 50 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the international dietetics group)

25 delegates representing the Dietetics Practice Groups (DPGs)

1 delegate from the Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors (NDEP) group

1 delegate representing Nutrition and Dietetic Technicians-Registered (NDTRs)

3 delegates representing members under 30, retirees, and students

2 delegates representing the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR) and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)

The HOD discusses current trends in the world of health, brings the needs of their constituent members into the national discourse, and recommends policy and action to the BOD. You’ll likely see elections for delegates within your state affiliate and if you’re part of a DPG. The student delegate, the under 30 delegate, the NDTR delegate, and the retiree delegate are each elected in different years – in 2020, we’re electing a new NDTR delegate.

The Commission on Dietetics Registration

If you’re not yet familiar with CDR, you will be. They are in charge of the RD and NDTR exams! They also manage the specialty certifications for dietitians.

CDR has lots of representatives from various practice areas – this year, we’re electing an RDN representative, an Advanced Practice representative, and a Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition representative. (Your ability to vote for these positions depends on your status in the Academy – sometimes students can’t vote for these positions.)

That’s the low-down on Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic elections!

You can vote at www.eatrightpro.org/elections from February 1st to 15th. Election results are announced February 18th!

Here are some other helpful links:

More about the positions: https://www.eatrightpro.org/leadership/nominations-and-elections/national-leadership-positions

A nice infographic about the BOD and HOD: https://www.eatrightpro.org/media/multimedia-news-center/infographics/academy-of-nutrition-and-dietetics-governing-structure-infographic

The Academy’s 2018 Annual Report: https://www.eatrightpro.org/-/media/eatrightpro-files/about-us/annual-reports/annualreport_2018.pdf?la=en&hash=29832B52193737EFC6BC6899FBE7F59E869B9906