From the Desk of Maree Ferguson, Founder & Director, Dietitian Connection

Welcome to our second issue of Infuse! I am both thrilled and grateful for your overwhelmingly positive response to our first issue, and more passionate than ever about bringing you unique content that is cause for conversation, and reason to pause and digest.

I’m writing this just days after returning from my annual attendance at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). I love to be present at this meeting annually, as I come away so inspired. It should be on every dietitian’s bucket list!

This year’s conference, held in Chicago, coincided with the Academy’s centennial, and there were more than 13,000 dietitians in attendance, making it one of the largest meetings for many decades.

One of the main reasons I attend is to hear from world-class keynote speakers, and I was not disappointed. The distinguished opening speaker was CNN chief neurosurgeon Dr Sanjay Gupta. His topic: Why do certain medical messages work or stick with people? Dr Gupta shared that he likes to consider whether the stories start a conversation with others as evidence of impact. Do people hear the story, and share it with others, he wondered? A successful story, he posits, will create change in people’s lives. He left us with this challenge to think about: “How do you create that conversation to happen continuously with consumers?”

Kimbal Musk co-founder of The Kitchen and brother of famous entrepreneur Elon Musk, spoke on why “food is the new internet – the future of food”. A trailblazer in the food industry, advancing indoor farming in shipping containers, school learning gardens, and farm to table restaurants, Kimbal’s passion comes from his mother, Maye Musk, a dietitian. Kimbal punctuated his presentation by enthusing, “it’s never been a better time for dietitians to shine in today’s food revolution!”

Physicist and highly regarded scientist Dr Michio Kaku was the closing speaker. He took us on a tour of what the future might hold for medicine – and how what we once thought was science fiction is now becoming reality. Think: intelligent paper, 3D printing, supersonic jets, and flying cars – just like the Jetsons!

Of particular note, I followed with great interest the Academy’s goal of encouraging dietitians to take the pledge of professional civility. This is a topic that I have been thinking a lot about lately, and I’d like to share my viewpoint.

I believe there are lots of things we agree on as dietitians, so let’s focus on and celebrate those. At the same time, we must continue to debate issues, as this is critical for the future of our profession — but we should do so respectfully, and ideally by speaking with colleagues, rather than shaming or bullying one another on social media. My hope is that we focus on our end goal: our clients. What do they want and need? And perhaps we’ll be educated ourselves, along the way, by another dietitian’s approach or perspective.

My biggest take-away from FNCE? A presentation by Ted Souder, Google’s Head of Industry Retail, on the concept of “moonshot thinking” at Google. Ted asked us, “What if?” His point was, what if we started all our conversations with “What if?”, and started to get comfortable with being UNcomfortable, and took bigger risks?


So now I turn it over to you, our esteemed Infuse readers: What if?


Click here to see our snapshot of trends emerging from the conference.

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