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Melinda Boyd, DCN, MPH, MHR, RD, FAND

Melinda is a registered dietitian and professor. She is faculty at Cedar Crest College, teaching in the MHS and dietetic internship programs. She also serves as an adjunct instructor for a variety of classes that include nutrition majors and non-majors across all levels of higher education. She has had a unique career path that she credits to her time as a military spouse. Living abroad for 9 years, she developed skills in cross cultural communication and counseling individuals from diverse backgrounds. She has been an active member in the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND), serving in many roles, including President, Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, and most recently the Country Representatives chair. In this role she oversaw a program with 45 local leaders from around the world. She recently finished her 2-year term on the Academy’s IDEA Committee. She also serves as the Nutrition Care Manual Editor-in-Chief: Education. 

Melinda completed undergraduate degrees in biology and nutrition, as well as a Master of Public Health, Master of Human Relations, and Doctor of Clinical Nutrition degrees. She is an internationally recognized expert speaking at conferences around the world on weight management, healthy lifestyles, and culturally appropriate care.

After frequent military moves, she has settled down in the Upstate area of South Carolina with her husband and their dog- a Bouvier des Flandres named Harley. In her free time, Melinda enjoys traveling and cooking.


Kat B

Katherine Bechdol

Kat is the Senior Manager, Area Clinical Support for Sodexo in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. She completed the coordinated program at Georgia Stage and graduated in 2019. Dietetics is Katherine's second career after working as an environmental consultant. Professional interests include imporivng the life and dignity of those living in LTC communities, advocating for the dietetics community, and helping families understand the aging process.

Past Chair


Matthew Landry, PhD, RDN

Matthew Landry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention within the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. His current research focuses on identifying the optimal diet (or diets) for chronic disease prevention, addressing the methodological challenges of designing, implementing, and reporting clinical trials that test dietary patterns, and quantifying behavioral and environmental factors that influence what people are eating and how much of it is driven by inequities and social justice issues.

Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences from Louisiana State University and completed his doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences and dietetic internship from The University of Texas at Austin. He then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention at the Stanford University Prevention Research Center.

Matthew was the 2022 recipient of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award and has been recognized as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association. He has been involved with COGA MIG in various roles and capacities since its inception.


James Childers

Jalak Patel, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES

Jalak works as a fulltime outpatient dietitian for Bon Secours Mercy Health in Greenville, SC.  She is currently serving as a board member for Piedmont Dietetics Association as the IDEA Liaison, and remains actively involved in the South Carolina Dietetics Association by serving on the IDEA committee.  She has had prior experience serving on the South Carolina Dietetics Association, as Annual Meeting Chair, Chair Elect and Past Chair; and has served as Treasurer and Education Chair for the Piedmont Dietetics Association.  She has also served on the interview panel for Winthrop University's DI program and as a reviewer for the Diabetes DPG. Jalak has a diverse background in the food and nutrition industry having worked in various roles including in acute care, nutrition counseling, program development, education and public health. Her career interests include: Inclusive Care, Cardiometabolic and Women’s.

Jalak received her Masters of Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed her Dietetic Internship at the UC San Diego Health System. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Diabetes, DIFM, and Behavioral Health Professionals dietetic practice group.



Suzanne ("Suzi") Domel Baxter, PhD, RD, LD, FADA, FAND

Suzi is an (unpaid) affiliate research professor at the University of South Carolina; she resigned her research professor position late in 2016 due to an acquired disability. Early in her career, she worked with children with disabilities, with adults as an outpatient dietitian, for school foodservice and for the WIC program. For most of her career, Suzi worked in research, first at the Medical College of Georgia and then at the University of South Carolina. She served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous competitive research grants funded mainly by the National Institutes of Health. Her research focused primarily on the accuracy of dietary recalls provided by children, and secondarily on the relationship between childhood obesity and daily participation in school-provided meals.  She received the Monsen Award for Outstanding Research Literature from the Academy in 2017.

Suzi's service focuses on IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) in the profession of nutrition and dietetics. She is a Co-Founder and current Chair of the new Disabilities in Nutrition and Dietetics MIG (aka "Disabilities MIG"). She actively participates in the NOBIDAN MIG; the Health Equity and Diversity Affinity Group; and the Dietary Guidelines Affinity Group. She is past president of her affiliate, South Carolina, where she also served for several years as Foundation Liaison and IDEA Liaison. Suzi was a member of the Board of Editors from 6/2007 to 5/2022 for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She was a member of the Academy's 2017–2019 Diversity Leaders Program. She is a past member and chair of the Scholarship Committee and past chair of the Task Force Chair that created the Amy Joye Memorial Research Grant.

Suzi received her bachelor's degree and completed the coordinated undergraduate program at Texas Christian University, and later received her master's and doctoral degrees from Texas Woman's University in Denton. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric nutrition research at the Medical College of Georgia.

House of Delegates Representative 


John Foust, RDN

John is a 24-year member of the Academy and currently the Director of Food & Nutrition Services with Boulder Community Health in Boulder, CO. He has extensive experience working in the healthcare and long-term care industries and is an acute care CMS subject matter expert. John has previously served as the Secretary for the Food & Culinary DPG & is a member of several DPG’s.

John received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University.

Membership Committee Chair

Crystal Vasquez.jpg

Crystal Vasquez, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, NWCC, FAND

Crystal Vasquez, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, NWCC, FAND, is a Clinical Dietitian for Mercy Medical/Dignity Health. Crystal completed her education at California State University, earning a B.S. in Food and Nutrition with Honors, minors in Psychology and Health Promotion, and an M.S. in Nutrition Education. She is working on a Ph.D. in Health Sciences at Northern Illinois University. Before becoming an RD, she was a DTR working with mentally and physically disabled adults in care homes, having both clinical and food service-related duties.

Crystal is a member of several AND DPGs. Crystal has served at the district level in Northern California and the state level as the VP of Member Benefits for the California Academy. She has also served the Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and was awarded the Emerging Leader Award for 2022. In addition to being the Membership Committee Chair for COGA, she is currently serving the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on the Committee for Lifelong Learning.

Crystal has a passion for evidence-based nutrition practice, which has led her to have various experiences in her dietetics career, including speaking at a national conference (Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior 2013) and presenting research at several CAND conferences. Her research in childhood nutrition, “Association of Parental Attitudes and Restrictions during Childhood on College Students’ Eating Habits,” has been presented at the California Dietetic Association annual conference and the CSU Student Research Competition. 

Crystal’s leadership experience has not been limited to dietetics, social justice movements, and her local Blue Star Moms group supporting our military families. When not working, furthering her education, or serving in various leadership roles, she is a mother to six grown children and grandma to one. She enjoys spending time with her family and dogs.

Professional Development Committee Chair


Heather Dover, MS, RDN

Heather is the Coordinator for Undergraduate Research at Michigan State University (MSU) where she plans two university-wide events showcasing the research and creative scholarship of MSU undergraduates and visiting students. Her early career focused on community mental health services in Michigan and Texas. She has served as President of the Michigan Academy and Lansing Dietetic Association, along with several other volunteer roles.

Heather holds a Master of Science in Food Safety from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics from Abilene Christian University. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting and crocheting, as well as singing with MSU's Choral Union.

Communications Committee Chair


Zachari Breeding, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN, FAND

Zachari Breeding is a registered, licensed dietitian and holds his Certification of Specialty in Oncology Nutrition (CSO). He is the owner of Sage Nutritious Solutions, a personalized nutrition and private chef company and is the Food Operations Manager at the Philly VA Medical Center. Zach has held leadership positions as the Chair of the Committee for Lifelong Learning, which plans the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), Chair of the Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition Member Interest Group, Chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Nutrition Dietetic Practice Subgroup, and most recently – on the Academy of Nutrition Board of Directors as the House Speaker-Elect. Zach has been recognized nationally for his efforts in Hispanic and Latino health disparities, nutrition considerations for the transgender community, cannabis counseling, and cystic fibrosis.

Communications Committee - Social Media Coordinator

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Timothy Wiley


Communications Committee - Website Coordinator



Communications Committee - Newsletter Editor



Nominating/Awards Committee Chair

Beverly Bixby, RD, LD

Beverly Bixby is the staff dietitian for Ohio LifeCare Hospice for close to 14 years. She is responsible for the assessment, counseling and nutrition therapy for patients who receive hospice and palliative care services. Beverly is also involved in the instruction of nutrition services to new employees for the entire Ohio Hospice organization, which comprises 13 affiliates. She also offers End of Life Nutrition instruction to new volunteers of LifeCare Hospice. Beverly also has been an independent consultant for LTC facilities for over 30 years.

Beverly graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Dietetics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She has been an Academy Member since 1980.

Michele Sidorenkov, RDN is passionate about our profession and has spent her 4-year RDN career carving out an online space for dietitians and loves showing future RDNs how to do the same.

Nominating/Awards Committee Chair-Elect



Networking Committee Chair



IDEA Liaison

Melissa Altman-Traub, MS, RDN

Melissa Altman-Traub is an Associate Professor of Allied Health at the Community College of Philadelphia. She has been a part-time academic adviser, led several faculty learning communities, and completed the CCP Leadership Institute. She is an Outreach Specialist for a Title III education grant and works collaboratively with faculty and staff to develop new ways to improve student success and retention. Melissa has also been an adjunct faculty member at LaSalle University. Her background includes clinical nutrition in hospitals, long-term care facilities, dialysis centers, nutrition support, and outpatient nutrition counseling. For the Nutrition Educators of Health Professionals Dietetic Practice group, she worked with the chair to write a successful diversity mini-grant proposal and organize an online diversity symposium in September of 2022. Melissa serves as a mentor for the Diversity in Dietetics and RD mentoring programs. She also has a food blog and has expertise with plant-based diets and Jewish cuisine. Melissa holds a B.S. in Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University, completed a dietetic internship at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, an M.S. in Health Education at Arcadia University, and completed additional coursework in Health Studies at Temple University.