Leadership

Our annual election occurs every spring

Are you ready to cast your vote?
The essence of good government is trust - Kathleen Sebelius

Successful governing bodies build trust, set standards, define and delegate. Dallas Dietetic Alliance’s leadership is comprised of a General Governing Board as well as an elected Executive Board. The aim is to govern the alliance and its membership with integrity and proudly represent the alliance in our community and to fellow professional peers.

The Governing Board takes charge of the strategic direction the alliance takes, regulates and establishes beneficial policies for the organization, and directs the alliance’s budgeting and finance activities.

Select members and students serve on the General Governing Board as well. They act as representatives for all alliance members and ensure that a variety of perspectives and viewpoints are included during important discussions and decisions.

Both parties work hand-in-hand to ensure members of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance are the leading source of food and nutrition services. We encourage you to become a member and get involved with the alliance’s governance on any level -- whether you’re interested in the latest trends and developments affecting the industry, shedding light on pressing professional issues, volunteering for a committee, or even running for a leadership position. The Dallas Dietetic Alliance awaits members with open ears and an open heart -- we want to know your ideas, concerns and issues.

2020-2021 DDA Governing Board

Megan Norwood

Megan Norwood, MBA, MS, RDN, LD, CNSC is currently the Director of Food and Nutrition at Medical City Fort Worth. She has been a dietitian for over 12 years in various settings and has spent the last 5 years as a part of DDA with 4 serving in leadership roles. She is a runner and travels for races frequently. She is looking forward to help others in their leadership roles as the Past President.

Melissa Mendez

Melissa Mendez is currently an outpatient Dietitian for both Parkland Hospital and Lemond Nutrition. Melissa works with a variety of medical conditions within the pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations. Melissa received both her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Institutional Administration and Masters of Science in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. On her free time, Melissa enjoys rock wall climbing at Summit Gym, training for marathons (she has completed 8 marathons & 1 ultra-marathon), and going to rock/metal concerts.

Sapna Punjabi-Gupta

Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD is a Culinary Wellness Expert, Registered Dietitian, Ayurvedic Practitioner and the creative force of beSPICED (www.bespiced.com). Her work has been featured in both national and international print media. Sapna's wellness workshops and cooking classes, now offered online, are hugely popular along with her vibrant YouTube channel that celebrates food, life and all things spice. Sapna’s one of a kind energy, her strong eastern roots and western dietetics expertise enables her to connect to her audience both in person and through a growing organic following on multiple social platforms.

Sapna has more than a decade of experience as a Clinical Dietitian with a focus in the areas of neonatal nutrition and women’s health. She is actively involved with the Academy and part of several dietetic practice groups. She has been the Texas state coordinator for VNDPG for 3 years and involved with other local dietetic networking groups. Sapna was born in India and is a first-generation immigrant. Her deep connection to her Indian roots has shaped her work and social activism. She is passionate about education and is an active board member at her kids local and district Parent Teacher Association. She and her husband with their two kids are proud Texans and have called Dallas their home for the last two decades. Her best way to relax is to cheer for both her kids on the tennis court or at home creating new recipes or products

Jennifer Piazza

Coming Soon

Mina Zanami-McAnelly

Coming Soon

Meagan Dzekunskas

Meagan Dzekunskas graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale before working with ADM in Food Science Research and Development before graduating from the Baylor University Medical Center DI in Dallas. Meagan now works as a Clinical Dietitian for Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Meagan’s favorite aspects of her RD role are spending time with patients who are eager to learn and assuring people that they are worthy of a well-nourished, healthy life and educating them on how to achieve it.

Emily Weeks

Emily Weeks, RDN, LD is a food photographer, recipe developer and culinary nutrition communications expert based in Dallas, Texas. Emily partners with like-minded food brands and organizations on recipe development, food photography, nutrition communications and media spokesperson work. She is often sought after for her recipe development skills and food photography, and has won several recipe competitions and blogging awards. She has been featured on Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post, and won the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016 Media Award. Emily graduated with honors from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in 2012 and completed her dietetic internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She lives in Wylie, Texas with her husband and daughter.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan Palmer has served on Dallas Dietetic Alliance Governing Board since 2014 and has previously held positions as Website Manager, Annual Conference Chair, and Social Media Chair. She will be serving as this year’s President-Elect.
Jordan is currently the Dallas Account Executive for Option Care Health Infusion Specialties. She also provides nutrition services for two DFW hospice companies and American Health Assessments. Jordan’s previous experience includes 4 years as a Neuro Critical Care Clinician at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and 5 years with the Dallas WIC Program as a Clinic Supervisor/High-Risk Dietitian. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a B.S. in Dietetics and Institutional Administration and completed her internship with the Texas Department Health and Human Services. She is also a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC). Jordan and her husband reside in East Dallas along with their rescued dogs Phoebe and Maggie. In her spare time she enjoys taking fitness classes (especially boxing, she is even a certified boxing instructor!), running in her neighborhood, and walking her pups. She also likes live music, exploring new “hot spots” in Dallas and spending time with her family and friends.

Katie McKee

Katie McKee, MCN, RDN, LD Health and Wellness Program Coordinator, Dairy MAX
Katie McKee always loved learning about the power of nutrition, and now she has the joy of teaching others about it. With a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arizona, Katie worked as a writer, editor and reporter before returning to school at the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center to earn a Master of Clinical Nutrition. Katie joined Dairy MAX in early 2015. In 2018, she was named Media Dietitian of the Year by the Dallas Dietetic Alliance. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, she now lives in Lantana, Texas, with her husband, Sean, her son and their French bulldog.

Stella Yan

Stella Yan will graduate from UT Southwestern's Masters of Clinical Nutrition Coordinated Program in August. During her graduate schooling, she worked on a research project on evaluating healthy vending, which she will present at this year's FNCE poster session. Within dietetics, Stella is interested in public health and clinical nutrition. She is currently the President for her local Toastmasters club, Richardson High Five. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her fiance and dog. She frequents the dog park and love to run with her canine companion. She has also started woodworking as a new hobby.

Yolanda Cepak

Coming Soon

Jennifer Rodriguez Jaramillo

Jennifer Rodriguez Jaramillo, MS, RDN, LD is an entrepreneur and bilingual private practice dietitian in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the owner of ‘Food is Vida’, where she provides media/photography and nutrition services, respectively, to food-focused companies and adult/pediatric populations within the specialties of preventive nutrition, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, vegan/plant-based nutrition and more. Jennifer completed her dietetic internship at Prairie View A&M and her Master’s & Undergraduate education at Texas Woman’s University, wherein 2015 she received the TWU Simmons Community Service Award for tackling the lead coordinating role of a North Texas fundraising event with proceeds directly benefiting hunger initiatives in our local communities. She continues to serve her community by volunteering with non-profit organizations, the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and serving as Website Manager for the Dallas Dietetic Alliance.
With roots originating in Southern California, Jennifer enjoys all things nature. Among her favorite pastimes include visiting the coastline or mountains of any region, spending time with family/friends and photography/videography.

Grace Rivers

Grace Rivers, RDN, CDE provides diabetes and wellness consulting for individuals and companies. A 1993 graduate from UT Southwestern in Clinical Nutrition, Grace has been practicing for more than 25 years, specializing in diabetes for 17 of those years. She has worked in long term care, renal dialysis, home health and diabetes outpatient care.
Grace is a member of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance (DDA) and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). Grace is a Past President and has served as Chair for Membership Communications, Nominating Committee, Main Event, and Strategic Planning for DDA. She resides in the DFW metroplex with her husband. They both love animals and strive for a greener planet. They also support each other as they practice living a simple life in this busy world. Grace is a firm believer in physical activity for all ages. Along with walking, she attends a core class along with yoga.

Brittney Gross

Brittney Gross has been a dietitian for about 1 year. She currently works as a consulting dietitian at several local hospitals. During her time as an intern at Baylor University Medical Center, she completed a research project looking at different modes of tube feeds and the effects on insulin utilization. This has led her to become more interested in the research side of things. While she is open to any new career opportunity, she is currently looking to gain experience in the research, food science, or sustainability areas. In her free time, she likes to try new foods, bake, and travel. She has been to 11 countries and hopes to increase that number soon.

Lisa Presley

Lisa Presley is a Bariatric Dietitian at Medical City Fort Worth with experience in Clinical Dietetics and Foodservice Management. She graduated from Texas Woman's University with a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition with an emphasis in Dietetics. She has served in many leadership roles and has been recognized for all her hard work through this process. She was recognized by the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with the 2017 Outstanding Dietetic Student Award and Dallas Dietetics Alliance with the 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Lisa is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Northeast Region), and Dallas Dietetics Alliance. She is serving as the upcoming Dallas Dietetic Alliance Annual Conference Co-Chair. Lisa is enjoying these experiences and getting to meet new professionals within the field of dietetics.

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys watching Netflix, walking nature trails, and also enjoys baking and sharing the goodies with her family and friends.

Hadley Brown

Hadley Brown, RD, LD is a clinical dietitian with Medical City and a hospice dietitian working for Encompass Health. With a passion for nutrition support, Hadley’s currently preparing for the CNSC exam. Hadley keeps busy taking care of her sweet pup, Tuck, and playing with her niece and nephew. Hadley is very honored and excited to begin her first year in a leadership role with DDA serving as Annual Conference Co-chair!

Janice Scott

Janice Scott is a registered and licensed dietitian with an additional board certification in pediatric nutrition. She holds a Master’s degree in Food Science from Texas Woman’s University. Her experience in providing nutrition counseling and medical nutrition therapy spans over 30 years with a special emphasis in pediatrics. Her volunteer activities include local hunger initiatives and community nutrition education. Janice is an active member of the Dallas Dietetic Alliance, the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has served on the executive committee of the Dietitians in Medical Nutrition Therapy and the Behavioral Health Nutrition dietetic practice groups. Janice is currently nominating chair for Dietitians in Medical Nutrition Therapy. In her personal time, Janice loves to plan travel adventures. Her favorite in-country vacation spot is the Finger Lakes area in upstate New York, but she has been to Russia in 2007 and to Israel in 2010. Her trip to Israel was part of the People-to-People Ambassador program with a group of dietitians. We were favored to meet the directors of the Ben Gurion University school of nutrition; the Hebrew University nutrition program and had dinner with the president of the Israeli dietetic association, Naomi Trostler.

Kirsten Granberry

Coming Soon

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai, MS, RD/LD is a Culinary Dietitian behind Food, Pleasure, and Health (www.foodpleasureandhealth.com) and co-owns a retail market & culinary studio called The Table in Fort Worth (www.thetablemarket.com). She has several years of experience in clinical dietetics but her ultimate passion lies in the culinary world developing recipes, teaching cooking classes & culinary workshops. Dixya also teaches at Tarrant County Community College as an adjunct instructor.

Kira Miller

Kira Miller currently works in school nutrition as a Nutrition Coordinator for Southwest Foodservice Excellence within Grand Prairie ISD. She moved to the Dallas area from Washington late 2018 after earning her Master of Science in Dietetics, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology from Washington State University. Kira is currently working on starting her own private practice focusing on weight management through nutrition and exercise. Kira is also part of a local initiative, 24HourDallas, to promote the nighttime economy and its growth by creating a safer, more inclusive, vibrant night. Her favorite group to work with and be a part of is Pavé Group, which is a group dedicated to empowering women through connections and community development. With most of her life spent outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, Kira enjoys spending as much time as she can finding new places to explore.

Joanna Li

Joanna Li is a registered dietitian and a public health graduate student at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University and completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She spent most of her career in community nutrition, as a registered dietitian for the WIC program, providing nutrition counseling to pregnant women, their infants, and children, and for a state health department as a public health nutritionist. During her free time, you can find Joanna taking a group fitness class (yoga, barre or spin), testing out new recipes in the kitchen, or playing with her two cats!

Nora Moreno

Nora Moreno, MS, RD, LD is a corporate wellness dietitian and health coach in Dallas, She was a graduate of the Texas Womans University internship program and since then has worked with a variety of regional and national clients managing and executing their employee wellness programs. She is currently working as an onsite wellness coach for the hospitality industry. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellness Program Coordinator. Her professional passion is group lectures, and presenting to clients about how wellness and preventative interventions lead to a return on their investment. She is a Dallas native, and in her free time enjoys discovering local restaurants, volunteering with RST. ( Refugee Services of Texas) and as a former fitness instructor herself, she stays active trying new group classes and studios.

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