College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Nutrition & Food Science

Nutrition Bill Advocacy at MAND

MAND Members and Dietetic Interns Join with Senator Nathan-Pulliam for the apple crunch challenge



“An apple a day will keep the dietitian happy,” could be heard throughout the day at the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) Annual State Legislative Interactive Workshop. Distinguished MAND members looked to RD’s and dietetic interns to play a crucial role in advocating important nutrition bills to their state legislators.


Maryland State Senator Brian J. Feldman (15th Legislative District) began the day with important tips on how to approach legislators. Then our team got to work discussing the bills that MAND strongly supports:


HB0086/SB0656 – Health Insurance Coverage for Elevated or Impaired Blood Glucose Levels and Prediabetes Treatment

Currently, insurance covers individuals with Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. This bill supports insurance coverage for individuals that fall into the “Prediabetes” category. This diagnosis is given to individuals with elevated blood glucose levels that are not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. Without lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes have a significant risk of progressing to Type 2 diabetes. This bills provides individuals with preventative care so that they may be able to lower their blood glucose levels and never develop diabetes.

HB0490/SB0163 – Public Health – Community Health Workers – Advisory Committee and Certification

Community Health Workers (CHW) play a vital role in bridging the gap between medical doctors and people in the community. A task force found that these CHWs often have varying degrees of education with differing backgrounds, therefore an advisory committee was made to educate CHWs and aid them in supporting the community. Currently, there is no Registered Dietitian (RD) on this committee. This bills supports adding an RD to the committee to ensure that nutrition concerns and problems can be properly addressed.

HB0806 – Education – Summer Meals Expansion Grant Pilot Program

Many families rely on school lunch programs throughout the school year to ensure their children have access to meals. When school ends for the summer, these children still require nutrition support. This bills will further expand the Summer Meals program, making it easier for children with limited income and transportation to get a healthy, nutritious meal throughout the summer months.

HB1113 – Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Services for Children with Prader-Willi Syndrome

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that occurs in 1 out of every 15,000 births. With this disorder, children have impaired cognition, low IQs, insatiable hunger leading to obesity, and a strong likelihood of developing other chronic diseases. These children require lifelong support, and currently this responsibility falls on families. This bill will help these people gain access to family trainings, treatment services, and various specialized support services.

I had the pleasure of advocating for these bills with six others, including RD’s and dietetic interns. Legislators were happy and open to hearing our opinions on these bills. To my surprise, many legislators were already strong supporters of the bills and valued the importance of an RD. In addition to advocating for legislation, we invited delegates and senators to participate in the “Apple Crunch Challenge.” By taking a bite of an apple, legislators and MAND members joined together to show support for healthy eating and nutrition.

The opportunity and ability to practice nutrition should not and cannot be taken for granted. This workshop helped me understand the magnitude of work that must be done at state government levels to ensure the success of dietitians. As someone just beginning my dietetics career, I think it is my responsibility to work with policy makers to advocate for sound nutrition policies. By advocating and building relationships with state legislators, we can have a positive impact on both the health of our communities and the future of our profession.

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