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ACEND Standards Committee


ACEND Standards Committee

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) serves the public by establishing and enforcing standards for the educational preparation of dietetics practitioners. The ACEND Board includes a Standards Committee which is charged with ongoing monitoring of accreditation standards; periodic review and revision of accreditation standards; assess and implement, as appropriate, current trends and new developments in dietetics education and practice; and assure policies, guidelines, guidance and documents used in the accreditation process are in compliance with USDE accreditation regulations. The Standards Committee makes recommendations for standards revisions to the ACEND Board for their approval. The Standards Committee includes a chair, DPD Program Representative, DT Program Representative, DI or CP Program Representative, Public Member, ACEND staff, and potentially non board members who may be appointed to meet committee responsibilities.

ACEND Standards Committee (for Fiscal Year 2015)

  • Chair: Maxine McElligott, MA, RD, LMNT, CDE
  • DPD Program Representatives: Suzanne Leson, PhD, RDN, LD; Jamie Erskine, PhD, RD
  • DT Program Representative: Kathleen Creedon, MHPE, RD, LDN
  • DI/CP Program Representative: Wanda Eastman, PhD, RD, LD
  • Public Members: Joan Straumanis, PhD; Sue Abbe, PhD, RN
  • Practitioner Representatives: Amelia Larkin, MS, DTR; Ashley Vargas, PhD, RDM, CSG
  • ACEND Staff: Joan Vogt, MS, RD, LDN; Mary Gregoire, PhD, RD, FADA

The ACEND Standards Committee reviews and revises, if needed, the Standards on a planned cycle of every five years. The most recent Standards were approved in 2012 and will be reviewed/revised for 2017 approval. A workgroup of the ACEND Standards Committee with expanded membership will guide this review/revision process and will make recommendations to the ACEND Standards Committee.

Workgroup Members

  • Suzanne Leson, PhD, RDN, LD, Co chair
  • Pascale Jean, MPH, RDN, LD/N, Co-Chair
  • Maxine McElligott, MA, RD, LMNT, CDE
  • Ashley Vargas, PhD, RDN
  • Kathleen Creedon, MHPE, RD, LDN

In 2012, the ACEND Standards Committee began a process to explore the development of standards for baccalaureate and graduate level practitioners in the profession of nutrition and dietetics for the purpose of advancing the profession and protecting the public. A project termed the Expanded Standards Development Project was launched. A workgroup of the ACEND Standards Committee with expanded membership will guide this review/revision process and will make recommendations to the ACEND Standards Committee.


Expanded Standards Workgroup

The Expanded Standards Workgroup is guiding the development of accreditation standards for baccalaureate and graduate-trained practitioners in the profession of nutrition and dietetics; and provide continuity in the efforts of the visionary and subject matter expert work groups. Work on the expanded standards project will be completed by the core expanded standards workgroup, a visionary group, and a subject matter expert group.

Core Workgroup Members

  • Elaine Molaison, PhD, RD, Chair
  • Maxine McElligott, MA, RD, LMNT, CDE, Co chair, graduate Level
  • Pascale Jean, MPH, RD, LD/N, Co-Chair, bachelor’s level
  • Wanda Eastman, PhD, RD, LD
  • Joan Straumanis, PhD
  • Amelia Larkin, MS, DTR
  • Jamie Erskine, PhD, RD
  • Sue Abbe, PhD, RD

Visionary Workgroup Members

  • Carol Turner, PhD, RD, LD (public health)
  • E.C. Henley, PhD, RD, LD (business and industry)
  • Kaylene Coffey, MAEd, RD, LD (clinical nutrition/foodservice management)
  • Janet Bezner, PT, PhD (physical therapy)
  • Joel Kopple, MD (medicine- renal research and practice)

The Expanded Standards Committee met in February 2014 to begin exploration of degree-based standards and competencies for nutrition and dietetics practitioners potentially at both the baccalaureate and graduate levels. The following guidance emerged:

  • Use evidence-based practice information to determine knowledge and skills needed for nutrition and dietetics practice assuring resultant education requirements be ethically and legally sound, meet requirements of the United States Department of Education, maintain national recognition and assure high quality accreditation practices and standards.
  • Assess existing research and environmental scan data and collect additional stakeholder and market-place data, if needed, to identify the roles of future practitioners, the education level required and the needs of the marketplace.
  • Compile a Background Report and Rationale Document to serve as the foundation for accreditation standards revisions.

This Background Report was released in July, 2014. It provides a summarized overview of the forthcoming evidence-based Rationale Document for the future educational requirements of baccalaureate and graduate level prepared nutrition and dietetics practitioners.

The Expanded Standards Workgroup provided an overview and update of the degree-based standards development process at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE®) in Atlanta, October 2014. Links to the slides from that presentation and a FAQ addressing questions received at FNCE® are listed below.