2018 Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award Recipient Highlights

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation’s Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award recognizes up to four Academy members annually working in a hospital setting who have made significant contributions to improve awareness and take action to address malnutrition with an award of $1,400.

To be eligible, candidates must be a registered dietitian nutritionist, be an active Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics member, work at least 30 hours a week in a clinical setting, and work as a part of an interdisciplinary team with other healthcare professionals.

Have you or someone you know made strides towards malnutrition identification in your clinical facility? Candidates for the 2019 Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award can be nominated by others or may self-nominate. Applications open in mid-November and will be posted on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation website.

We were greatly impressed by all 2018 applicants and are tremendously proud to announce this year’s award winners. Notably, this recognition award does not specify how recipients must use their award funds. Despite this, all of our 2018 recipients chose to use the funding to provide further education and training for their teams.

Valarie Chudzinski

Valarie Chudzinski, MA, RDN, LDN

Inpatient Clinical Nutrition Manager
Centegra Health System

Valarie Chudsinzki, MA, RDN, LDN currently works as the inpatient clinical nutrition manager for Centegra Health System and serves as a clinical preceptor. She has spent 11 years serving as a clinical dietitian, including four years in leadership positions. She earned her Master of Arts in dietetics and completed her dietetic internship at Western Michigan University.

In her current role, she implemented a malnutrition awareness program which increased system revenue by an outstanding 2213% in just three months, equating to a $1.2 million dollars annually. Chudsinzki’s associates testified that she is a strong leader who consistently displays purpose and passion in all her endeavors. She leads through engaging others to identify their passion and grow in the field of nutrition.

Chudsinzki is using the award funds from the Foundation to provide additional hands-on training in the Nutrition Focused Physical Exam for her team of registered dietitians. Chudsinzki’s passions include clinical informatics, critical care, and nutrition support.

Anne Coltman

Anne Coltman, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC

Clinical Nutrition Coordinator
Loyola University Medical Center

Anne Coltman, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC is the clinical nutrition coordinator for Loyola University Medical Center and is a Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam trainer for the Academy. She is an experienced nutrition support dietitian in surgical critical care and specializes in nutrition assessment, physical exam, and micronutrient deficiencies. She completed her Bachelors of Science at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and completed her Masters of Science in clinical nutrition and dietetic internship at Rush University.

In her current role, Coltman worked with her experienced staff to significantly improve malnutrition documentation through optimization of the electronic medical record. Her passion for quality improvement is evident through participation on the Academy’s Quality Leader Alliance, the Council for Future Practice, and the Evidence Analysis Library workgroup for adult nutrition screening.

Coltman’s colleagues shared that she has improved cost-effectiveness and the timeliness of providing malnourished patients with necessary nutrition interventions. Coltman is utilizing the award from the Foundation to fund further malnutrition education for her registered dietitians and other clinical staff.

Kathy Irwin

Kathy Irwin, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC

Clinical Nutrition Manager
Morrison Healthcare, Methodist Medical Center

Kathy Irwin, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC serves as the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Morrison Healthcare at Methodist Medical Center and is an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Peer Champion for the Nutrition Focused Physical Exam. She completed her dietetic internship and Master of Science in nutritional science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In her current role, Irwin began a malnutrition initiative to improve patient care at her facility. The initiative has more than tripled the amount of patients identified with malnutrition and increased Medicare reimbursement by 155%. Additionally, Kathy has increased job satisfaction among her staff of registered dietitians, reporting they feel more appreciated by physicians and more involved in patient care.

Irwin is allocating the funds from the Foundation award to further malnutrition identification and intervention within her facility. Irwin was praised for her passion and time invested towards improving patient care and elevating the reputation of registered dietitians among healthcare professionals.

Byron Richard

Byron Richard, MS, RD, CDE

Clinical Nutrition Manager and Outpatient Dietitian
UC San Diego Health System

Byron Richard, MS, RD, CDE serves as the clinical nutrition manager and as an outpatient dietitian for UC San Diego Health System. He has spent years working in acute and long term care as a dietitian, certified diabetes educator, professor, food service director, and as diabetes clinic coordinator. Richard holds two masters’ degrees in nutrition and international agriculture development from Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University.

Over the past four years, Richard and his clinical nutrition team have been successful in doubling their rate of diagnosing malnutrition in their facility through working together with coding and their physician networks. Richard presented that malnutrition impacted length of stay, mortality, and cost using Vizient risk models and created a creative, educational video to provide a visual demonstration of one of his registered dietitians completing a physical assessment.

Richard opted to use the award from the Foundation to fund furthering nutrition education of his staff.
Colleagues of Richard described him as friendly, knowledgeable, inspiring, humble and a creative leader.