Academy Foundation Blog

September Spotlight on Malnutrition

By Foundation Admin posted 08-31-2019 11:00 PM


2019 Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award Recipient Highlights

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation's (Foundation) 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.

We encourage you to read more about the 2019 Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award recipients below.

Have you or someone you know made strides towards malnutrition identification in your clinical facility? Candidates for the 2020 Abbott Nutrition Alliance Award can be nominated by others or may self-nominate. Applications open in early-December and will be posted on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation website.


Amy J. Berry, MS, RD, CNSC
Surgical Nutrition Support Specialist
University of Virginia Health System (Charlottesville, VA)

Amy J. Berry, MS, RD, CNSC serves as a Surgical Nutrition Support Specialist for the University of Virginia Health System. In her current role, Amy attends to all surgical patients that receive tube feeding and/or parenteral nutrition and spends most of her time in the cancer center seeing malnourished, nutrition-support dependent Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic and head and neck cancer patients, as well as thoracic surgery patients with jejunal feeding tubes.

Amy worked to implement a center-wide malnutrition screening tool to streamline workflow and the interdisciplinary communication chain to ensure malnourished patients are identified and properly treated prior to discharge. Amy educates other clinicians on how to combat malnutrition by publishing case studies and review articles, speaking nationally and locally, answering questions from nutrition colleagues nationwide, and continuing data collection to demonstrate both the prevalence of malnutrition and the of impact outpatient nutrition intervention on patient health outcomes.

Amy's associates attested that she is relentless in her efforts to ensure malnourished patients receive optimal nutritional care, serving as a role model for many, and inspiring them to go above and beyond for their patients.


Joanna Cummings, MS, RD, CNSC
Country Director and Clinical Nutrition Instructor
Lao-American Nutrition Institute (Laos)

Joanna Cummings, MS, RD, CNSC is the Country Director and Clinical Nutrition Instructor for the Lao-American Nutrition Institute in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic and is also a Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Trainer for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In her current role, she works in a low-resource clinical setting in Lao training doctors, nurses, and government officials about clinical nutrition including nutrition assessment, diagnosis, and intervention, particularly as they relate to malnutrition.

Joanna worked to conduct a nutrition risk screening study on newly admitted patients to central hospitals in Lao, in which preliminary results revealed that approximately 60% of patients met the criteria for moderate to severe malnutrition. Joanna intends to present her findings to the Lao Ministry of Health Care as evidence to support a nationwide screening tool in hospitals and provide career support for Clinical Nutrition Specialists. Joanna's next goal is to conduct a nutrition intervention study to show the efficacy of the Clinical Nutrition Specialist.

Joanna also works closely with the Lao Friends Hospital for Children working with children infected with Japanese Encephalitis, has hosted a series of nutrition education lectures, and provides nutrition education and malnutrition material in Lao language as a free-online resource to clinicians in Lao. Joanna's colleagues described her as an emerged leader who has created a momentum against global malnutrition.


Jennifer Doley, MBA, RDN, CNSC, FAND
Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager & Dietetic Internship Director
Morrison Healthcare at Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital (Tucson, AZ)

Jennifer Doley, MBA, RDN, CNSC, FAND serves as the Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager and Dietetic Internship Director at Morrison Healthcare at Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital. In her role with Morrison Healthcare, Jennifer oversees clinical nutrition services at her facility and 18 other hospitals across Arizona, California, Texas, New Mexico, and Hawaii. As a dietetic internship director, Jennifer also takes pride in educating future practitioners on the identification, diagnosis, and outcomes related to malnutrition.

Jennifer has worked in Quality Assurance Performance Improvement projects relating to malnutrition screening, diagnosis, and coding. She tracks patients coded for malnutrition to determine RDN agreement with physician diagnosis according to Academy and ASPEN malnutrition clinical characteristics. Through tracking this data, identifying gaps in knowledge, and providing extensive education to Clinical Documentation Specialists and Physicians on malnutrition criteria, including fat and muscle wasting, Jennifer increased RDN agreement with physician diagnosis to 82.1% in her facility, up from 29.9% agreement just three years prior.

Jennifer also tracks and communicates the financial impact of malnutrition diagnosis and coding as well as potential differences in case mix index and geometric length of stay to hospital administrators on a quarterly basis. Additionally, she gathers data on the ability of her institution's nutrition screening tool to capture malnutrition upon admission. Jennifer's directors described her as a highly respected expert on the Nutrition Care Process and standardized terminology who goes above and beyond to further education and advance technology in clinical nutrition.


Rayna McCann, RDN, CDN
Clinical Dietitian
St. Francis Hospital (Roslyn, NY)

Rayna McCann, RDN, CDN serves as a Clinical Dietitian at St. Francis Hospital. In her role, Rayna splits her time between the main campus and the Cancer Institute at St. Francis Hospital. In addition to her job responsibilities, Rayna is currently studying to obtain her Master's in Nutrition Sciences from Stony Brook University.

Rayna was instrumental in beginning Malnutrition Week at her hospital and coordinating the addition of a nutrition infographic to the St. Francis Hospital welcome folder given to new admissions and their families. The infographic was added to inspire the patients to ask to see an RDN if they have had any issues such as appetite change, weight loss, swelling, or fatigue. Rayna participates in multi-disciplinary rounds and optimization discussions on how to best utilize documentation to ensure malnutrition is properly communicated and coded in the electronic medical record.

Additionally, Rayna has worked closely with the Nursing Manager on one of the medical-surgical units to initiate a malnutrition huddle to raise awareness of malnutrition and identify how nurses serve as a vital component in early identification of malnutrition, which has since expanded to other units within the hospital. Rayna was described as enthusiastic, driven, and receptive by her co-workers and credited with developing a culture of nutrition throughout their facility in numerous ways.