Interact for Health

Q&A: Lisa Cimperman, registered dietitian nutritionist, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

(Sep 27th, 2016)

Lisa Cimperman is a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Among other things, the academy aims to disseminate reliable nutrition information and advocate for public policy measures related to healthy eating. Cimperman spoke with Interact for Health to discuss the successes and lessons learned from her time with the organization.

Interact for Health: Could you explain more about the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its goals?

Lisa Cimperman: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. We are committed to sharing evidence-based expertise in our clinical practice and outreach. We also are committed to improving the health of all people, as well as advancing the profession of dietetics through our research, educational outreach and advocacy. Today, the academy provides reliable evidence-based nutrition information; provides accreditation of undergraduate and graduate programs; credentials dietetic professionals; advocates for public policy measures; and publishes a peer-reviewed journal.

Interact for Health: What lessons have you learned?

Cimperman: I have seen first-hand the power of a collective voice in providing consistent and evidenced-based nutrition messages to the public. And I work to amplify these messages, reaching more individuals, and hopefully driving a widespread shift toward healthier eating patterns and lifestyle choices. The importance of communicating with legislators has also become more apparent, as a means to advocate for public policy that allows dietitians to most effectively support the health and wellness of their communities.

Interact for Health: What accomplishments of the department are you most proud of?

Cimperman: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has made a tremendous impact on the nation's health since its founding. Throughout my experience I have seen registered dietitians establish themselves as resources and recognized experts in the field of nutrition. During a time when inaccurate health and nutrition information abound, this is essential to our communities.

Interact for Health: Could you tell a brief story that illustrates the effect of your project in the community?

Cimperman: I work with hospitalized individuals and their families on a daily basis to manage their nutrition plan of care. It is often the simple act of reassurance and explanation that touches these individuals most during a very stressful time. I recently worked with a patient who was committed to improving his control of diabetes and hypertension. The experience of being in the hospital and being sick is never pleasant, but in this case, it was strong motivation for him to change tracks in terms of food choices and activity level. After coming up with a well-defined plan together, the look of confidence and determination in his eyes was an extremely rewarding professional moment.