National Public Policy, Legislation & Advocacy




The Academy and Public Policy

As the state affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (“the Academy”), the Massachusetts Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) promotes public policy and advocates for issues in line with those of the Academy.The Academy’s defined legislative and public policy priority areas, which are critical to achieving its mission, vision, goals and strategies, are outlined in its Strategic Plan Roadmap.


See the Academy’s Strategic Plan Roadmap:


The Academy has identified the following public policy areas for the 2015-2017 period:

  1. Disease prevention and treatment – Cancer, cardiovascular health, diabetes and prediabetes, HIV/AIDS, obesity and weight, access to healthcare
  2. Lifecycle nutrition – Prenatal and maternal health, early childhood, school-age and older adult nutrition
  3. Healthy food systems and access – Food security, supply and management of food systems, dietary supplements and food fortification, food and menu labeling, nutrition education
  4. Quality healthcare – Healthcare equity, consumer protection and licensure, workforce demand, research and monitoring, lowering healthcare costs, quality measures


Policy Initiatives and Advocacy Team

The Academy's Policy Initiatives and Advocacy (PIA) team, including the Director of Grassroots Advocacy, is located in Washington, DC, where it serves as the Academy’s voice on Capitol Hill. The work of the PIA team complements and supports the work of state affiliates and individual members to promote healthy food and nutrition policies at the national level. For example, staff members lead the Academy’s consumer protection and licensure efforts, meet with government agencies such as USDA, FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)to discuss regulatory issues and visit members of Congress to promote nutrition-focused policy. Theyare also responsible for organizing the Public Policy Workshop and guiding the Academy’s grassroots activities.


Learn more about nutrition policy and advocacy:


Public Policy Workshop

Held annually in Washington, DC, the Public Policy Workshop (PPW) brings together RDNs and NDTRs from across the country to learn about current issues in nutrition public policy andreceive training on how to become the voice of nutrition that Congress trusts. The first day of the conference,key pieces of legislation supported by the Academy and its nutrition policy partners are discussed, as are reasons for members of Congress to support the bills and encourage others to do so as well. On the second day of the conference, these bills arebrought to the attention of members of Congress by the Academy members who visittheir Capitol Hill offices to ask for their support on the bills.


PPW 2017 will be held in Washington, DC, on June 25-26, 2017. Learn more about attending the conference:



U.S. Congress

Each Congress lasts two years, with two one-year sessions. The current115th Congress began on January 3, 2017 and will end on January 3, 2019. Every new Congress, the Academy works with members of both the House of Representativesand Senate to find sponsors and cosponsors of bills in line with the Academy’s stated public policy priorities. Bills which do not pass and become law during a session of Congress “die in session” and need to be reintroduced in the new Congress. Thus, bills supported by the Academy vary over time, as bills get passed, die in session, or are reintroduced in a new session. Every Congress, Academy members work with nutrition champions on Capital Hill to get new bills introduced to get bills from the previous Congress reintroduced.


In the 114th Congress, which ended on January 2, 2017, the Academy’s main legislative priorities were: (1)the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act; (2) the National Clinical Care Commission Act; and (3) Child Nutrition Reauthorization. In the current, 115th Congress, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and the National Clinical Care Commission Act have been reintroduced. A new piece of legislation is the Resolution Recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (H.R.1953/S.830)

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2017, introduced by Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3) on April 5, 2017, aims to effectively treat and reduce obesity in older Americans. It would give CMS the authority to allow additional types of health care providers, such as RDNs, to offer intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for weight loss.It would also authorize Medicare Part D to cover FDA-approved obesity drugs like BELVIQ and Qsymia.


National Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R.309/S.920)

The National Clinical Care Commission Act, introduced by Representative Pete Olson (R-TX-22) on January 5, 2017, has been an Academy legislative priority for the past three Congressional sessions. This bill works to ensure that federal programs provide the most efficient and effective care for people with diabetes and related diseases, and would ensure RDNs have appropriate roles in this coordination.


Recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics(H.Res.161/S.Res.75)

A resolution is similar to a bill, but does not appropriate money to a government agency, and instead is intended to recognize historic events. Recently, a resolution was successfully introduced in both houses of Congress in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.



Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

When Congress passes a bill into law, one ore more government agencies are identified and funded to write regulations to explicitly outline the specifics of the law. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the main health care agency in the U.S., overseeing the health care of over 100 million Medicare and Medicaid recipients, write and updates regulations over time to reflect major health care legislation, such as new preventive services under the Affordable Care Act. Importantly, CMS regulations impact the large percentage of Academy members working in clinical and outpatient settings.


Therapeutic Diet Order Writing

The Academy was extremely pleased with CMS’ final rule, issued on May 7, 2014, permitting RDNs in hospitals to be privileged to independently order therapeutic diet and monitor and manage dietary plans for their patients. The Academy is actively involved in the rollout of the new rule, including providing support to members working in clinical dietetics seeking to be privileged to work within this new, enlarged role.


Learn more about this ruling and access the Academy’s many resource documents:



The Academy and Advocacy

The Academy calls upon its members to support legislation and issues important to our profession, and provides background information and the means for doing so. These include “Action Alerts,” “Take Your Congressman to Work Day,” and Quarterly Advocacy Days. Members may edit their Academy correspondence subscriberpreferences and receive regular e-newsletters, such as Daily News from the Academy and Eat Right Weekly. Those who serve on an affiliate Public Policy Panel (PPP) may also subscribe to Public Policy Weekly News, which provides updates on a wide variety of policy issues.


Set your subscriber preferences:


Action Alerts

“Action Alerts” are sent out by the Academy throughout the year as bills or resolutions supported by the Academy are introduced or up for a vote in the House of Representatives or Senate. Members are urged to take a few minutes to log into their account to use the Academy-provided tool, the “Grassroots Manager,” to send pre-written electronic letters to their members of Congress. With only a few keyboard strokes, members canpersonalize the letters and include their contact information.


Learn more:


Take Your Congressman to Work

Each August, Congress recesses and members work from their home district offices. This district work periodprovides the opportunity for Academy members to meet with their members of Congress to provide further information on key pieces of legislation discussed at meetings held at PPW. The Academy suggests that during this time members may also wish to organize an opportunity to “take their Congressman to work,” inviting them to see the important work they do in their role as RDN in the private, public or non-profit sector.


If you would you like to join MAND members from your Congressional district to visit your member of Congress, or if you would you like to invite your member of Congress to visit your workplace, please email


Quarterly Advocacy Days

To provide more frequent opportunities for Academy members to meet with their members of Congress, the PIA office has established Quarterly Advocacy Days. These days are organized so that those able to travel to Capitol Hill on the date established meet at the PIA office to learn more about the policies and bills being supported, then travel together to meet with members of Congress. The most recent Quarterly Advocacy Day focused on Medical Nutrition Therapy and Prevention in Health Care.


For any questions about any of the information on this page, please email


Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting

ANCE 2019 will take place on Friday, March 29, 2019. We hope to see you there!

Public Policy

Public Policy

Do You Want to Make a Difference for Your Profession and Your Community?  Visit our Public Policy Section.