Member Spotlight

Debra Geary Hook, MPH, RDN, FAND, PhDc

All of us find ourselves on a career path where we attempt to have complete control while avoiding conditions which we find less than ideal. When I look back over my career, it was these less‐than‐ideal conditions that gave birth to growth and opportunities.  My journey as a dietitian and now research dietitian has been anything but linear. I started university at a time when my family’s life was chaotic due to my father’s chronic health which led to numerous surgeries, serious medications, and finally the removal of a kidney and an early retirement. My father had been seriously ill since I was five years of age. Little did I know that understanding chronic illness and its impact upon family dynamics and finances would be the gift that I brought to my work and patients.


Debra's advice to share: 

"I have learned many important things during my 60 years on this earth. There will always be obstacles to overcome and plans to change. There are days filled with sunshine and others filled with rain. If one has the courage to keep riding, then the rain is simply the rain."


Jay Patruno, RD, LDN, CPT

Jay Patruno RD, LDN, CPT is a residential eating disorder dietitian in the Greater Boston, MA area. He completed his DPD at Boston University and his DI at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Along with being an eating disorder RD, he is a committee chairperson for the Boston Alliance for Diversity in Dietetics (BADD) and started a telehealth-based private practice with his partner (and two dogs, Hugo and James Hamilton [Ham]) called Digital Dietitian. A big part of his passion in the field of nutrition is diversity and inclusion, ensuring that our profession not only reflects those we serve but also provides ethical, affirming care for all. If Jay could freeze time, then the first thing he would do is take a nap. COGA is proud and honored to have a member like Jay who is open-minded, curious, and a HUGE peanut butter lover. 

He has given many presentations at the local, state, and national level on LGBTQ+ nutrition care! Check out one of his most recent presentations from this year at FNCE (you'll get to see Hugo and Ham too!) - LGBTQ+ Health: Nutritional Considerations and Providing Inclusive Patient Care

Areas of Focus: Sports and Wellness, Eating Disorders, and Diversity and Inclusion

Jay's advice to dietetic interns: 

"Be open to change, be open to the known, go forward with curiosity, and an open mind. I feel as though RDs are naturally 'type A', and we want to be prepared for everything. But we’re students of life, and I’ve learned I’m the most effective when I set my biases aside and don’t pre-formulae a plan because you never know what that individual actually needs or what that situation calls for. Sometimes our intention to be prepared prevents us from seeing the whole picture and being flexible."


Mary Roseman, PhD, RDN, LD

Mary Roseman is a busy dietitian, professor, and hospitality management program director at the University of Mississippi. Mary has an MBA and completed her DI and doctoral studies in Food Systems Management at Oklahoma State University. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has provided and continues to provide resilient teaching, mentoring, and support to her students. If Mary could freeze time, then the first thing she would do is hang out on a beautiful day with her husband, kids, and grandkids! She also told us if she could be any food item, then she would be a fresh garden-picked tomato. COGA is proud and honored to have a member like Mary who is a leader in her field, learner and researcher at heart, and sweet and caring to all.

Check out one of her recent publish articles with the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - Attitude and Behavior Factors Associated with Front-of-Package Label Use with Label Users Making Accurate Product Nutrition Assessments

Areas of Focus: Child Nutrition, Foodservice Management and Systems, and Hospitality Management

Mary's advice to dietetic interns: 

"Continuously be open to learning new skills (especially technology), maintaining growing relationships and networks in a virtual world, and creating strong and lasting organization and time management behaviors."




Allison Childress, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD


Allison Childress PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Online Master's Program at Texas Tech University and Chief Clinical Dietitian at the Nutrition and Metabolic Health Institute. She is a licensed dietitian in Texas and New Mexico and maintains a consulting practice as well. Allison is board certified in Sports Dietetics as well as a certified personal trainer. She has experience as a clinical and consultant registered dietitian specializing in cardiac, women's health, bariatric, pediatric and geriatric nutrition as well as weight management. To learn more about Dr. Childress, click here.

Click here to read Allison's article entitled Is Your Mentorship Actually Working?  Here's How to Tell.






The goal of  "Member Spotlight" is to share and become acquainted with members of the COGA online community. We invite you to share information about food and nutrition activities in which you or a COGA colleague are participating. We also ask that you add a photo to your COGA profile so that we can post with your spotlight information. You may share your information by clicking HERE.