Public Policy & Advocacy

SC Public Policy Panel

On the SCAND Board, the Public Policy Panel is comprised of 2-3-year term Positions:

Affiliate President
Erin Seprish

Public Policy Coordinator
Carmen Thompson 

Public Policy Coordinator Elect

State Policy Representative
Melinda Boyd 

State Regulatory Specialist
Arrianna Johnson

Consumer Protection Coordinator
Rowan Goodrich

Nutrition Services Payment Specialist
Jeremy Ponds 

Molly Mills

Public Policy Partners Coordinator

District Legislative Chairs

Charleston Trident Dietetic Association: Heather Barraco


South Carolina Public Policy Partners

South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SCAND) is committed to improving health in South Carolina and advancing the profession through research, education and advocacy. Public policy and advocacy are core functions of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and SCAND. Both are critical to achieving the mission, vision, goals and strategies of the Academy. Public policy significantly influences and shapes the public image of the Academy and that of the nutrition and dietetics profession. 

The goal of the Academy is to help improve the health of Americans and to ensure that the public trusts and chooses Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and Nutrition and Dietetic Technicians Registered (NDTRs) as food and nutrition experts. Public policy and advocacy efforts can enhance the value of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and position the RDN to the forefront of the policy process by passing effective legislation and issuing regulations that support the Academy’s priorities.

What is a Public Policy Partner?

A Public Policy Partner (PPP) is a dietitian member of SCAND who agrees to personally contact their legislator several times a year to establish regular communication about who dietitians are, what we do, and why we are the nutrition experts!

What do you have to do?

The SCAND Public Policy Panel will provide you with basic training on how to communicate with your legislator, including talking points, template emails, and phone scripts. We ask that you contact (by phone, email, or in person) your legislators under the direction of the SCAND Public Policy Panel. You will then be asked to enter brief info about these contacts into a database so we can keep track of the relationships that are being built between our members and legislators. We will also encourage you to attend our annual Policy/Legislative Day in Columbia in the spring and other policy-related events.

What do you get out of it?

Legislators make decisions about our future every day and many times these decisions have to do with health and nutrition, an area they know little about, but one you know A LOT about! We want YOU to be their GO TO person to ask when anything comes up about the health, wellness, or nutrition of South Carolinians. It is important that ALL dietitians have a relationship with their legislator so that if an important nutrition policy emerges, you already have established rapport with the decision makers! As a bonus, being involved in nutrition policy is a great resume builder!
What’s next?
If you agree to be a Public Policy Partner, we will be in touch with you regularly to provide training and materials to initiate contact with your legislator. We will have a training webinar and check in with you periodically to be sure you are feeling comfortable and confident in your role! We will also provide you with ideas and guidance for types of contacts to make with your legislator throughout the calendar year.

Your Role as an Advocate

Your elected officials and their staff in our state capitol are there for you. Voters like you elected them to office and it is the central focus of an elected official’s job to respond to voter concerns. They need to hear from their constituents regarding issues of importance. They also need to hear from us about critical nutrition and health issues. We must be able to define our role as the expert in nutrition or others will define it for us. 

Grassroots advocates raise the level of awareness regarding certain causes and issues at the local, state or federal levels. Unlike “direct lobbying,” grassroots advocacy relies almost entirely on volunteers and not professional lobbyists to contact legislators and other government officials regarding specific issues involving legislation and regulations.

Grassroots advocacy is one of the most common forms of lobbying. It has become an increasingly popular way for associations to harness the thoughts and ideas of their members in order to create change within the public policy sphere of influence. Many legislative and regulatory issues have been identified and addressed because groups of dedicated individuals made their voices heard.

Your elected representatives in the state legislature discuss legislation that is important to nutrition professionals routinely. Medicare and Medicaid coverage, child and older adult nutrition programs, agriculture and food access, licensure and managed care mandates all have impacts on the nutrition and dietetics profession. 
By educating your representatives and sharing your personal experiences in practice, you can make a difference in our nation’s health and nutrition policy.

You are invited to be a public policy partner!

RSVP by clicking here

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Grassroots Advocacy Guidebook