In 2006, when I was on the ADA Board of Directors, two ADA members whom I had not met before, Elaine Ayres and Lindsey Hoggle, came to the Board to educate us about nutrition informatics and make a case for an organized effort on this topic. By this time, when many of us still weren’t sure what informatics even meant, Elaine and Lindsey, along with two of their colleagues, had already published an article on this topic in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. ADA’s Nutrition Informatics Workgroup was born.
Fast-forwarding to 2011, we now have a formal Nutrition Informatics Committee, a nutrition informatics section on ADA’s website, this regular nutrition informatics blog, a HITECH Action Plan, and most importantly, a presence where it matters. That list is endless, including the HL7 workgroups on which we now participate, the Meaningful Use criteria that now reflect our recommendations, our new collaboration with HIMSS, to name just a few. Elaine’s passion and energy on behalf of nutrition informatics are endless, and her attention to every detail is unparalleled. I’ve watched in awe and admiration as Elaine “works the room” at conferences such as HL7 Working Group Meetings, introducing herself and making sure that nutrition is on everyone’s radar. Who better to be the inaugural Chair of ADA’s Nutrition Informatics Committee than Elaine, and along with Lindsey serving as ADA’s HITECH consultant, this “dynamic duo” has truly put nutrition informatics on the map, not only within our Association but world-wide.
As Elaine concludes her year as Chair on May 31, I am grateful for her inspiring leadership, abundant patience, and gracious mentoring. She’s a hard act to follow and so I’m especially thankful that she has agreed to stay on the Committee another year as Past-Chair.