Los Angeles District (LAD) of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics presents...

"Public Health and Private Profits: A Dialogue about Critical Topics Shaping the Future of the Dietetic Profession”

A Special One Day Conference

April 1, 2017

9:30am - 4:00pm

at Children's Hospital Los Angeles


The California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/Los Angeles District (LAD) represents the local professional organization of Registered Dietitians (RDs), Diet Technicians-Registered (DTRs), dietetic interns, and nutrition students residing in Los Angeles County. With approximately 50 board positions and over 900 followers, LAD strives to provide members with opportunities to network, obtain Continuing Professional Education Units, volunteer in the community, and promote the dietetic profession.



Learning Codes Covered:


1050: ETHICS


Registration & Opening Remarks


9:00am – 9:30am

Registration (Coffee & Tea)


Opening Remarks by LAD President Karmen Ovsepyan


Thank You to Sponsors Anet Piridzhanyan


Speaker: Michele Simon, JD, MPH

Speaker: Michele Simon, JD, MPH

Opening Keynote By

Michele Simon, JD, MPH

Author of Appetite for Profit & Executive Director of Plant Based Foods Association

9:40am - 10:10am

"Avoiding Conflicts of Interest When Working in the Public's Interest"



  1. Review examples of problematic sponsorships of health organizations by the food industry.

  2. Describe the role of front groups and other biased experts in the dissemination of science and health information.

  3. Outline ways to reduce conflicts of interest when working in the public's interest.



10:10am – 10:30am 

Questions and Comments

Speaker: Bonnie Y. Modugno, MS RDN CLE

Speaker: Bonnie Y. Modugno, MS RDN CLE

10:30am – 11:00am

“Selling My Time, Not My Integrity”

Bonnie Y. Modugno, MS RDN CLE

In addition to private practice, Bonnie presents seminars and workshops for both health care professionals, community groups and the lay public.  Bonnie is often called on as an expert witness and executes dietary analysis research for child custody cases. She consults with all players in the food industry, from the farm to the table, because every one who touches food needs to be part of the solution for a sustainable and healthy food supply.



  1. Identify three fundamental principles when considering working with a for profit entity.
  2. List at least two benefits and two risks of consulting with for-profit business.

Speaker: Andy Bellatti, MS RDN

Speaker: Andy Bellatti, MS RDN

11:00am – 11:30am

“Public-Private Partnerships: A Political Slippery Slope”

Andy Bellatti, MS RDN

Andy Bellatti, MS, RD is a Las Vegas-based dietitian, health coach, speaker, and freelance writer with a plant-centric and whole-food focus.  He is also a co-founder and the strategic director of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, a group that advocates for ethical and socially responsible partnerships within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.



  1. Understand possible negative consequences from food industry sponsorship of, and partnerships with, health organizations.

  2. Identify selection criteria that can help health organizations identify appropriate and like-minded sponsors.

  3. List examples of ways in which food and beverage industries actively battle public health.

11:30am - 12:00pm

Questions and Comments

12:00pm – 12:45pm


Speaker: Dr. Amanda Maxham, PhD

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Maxham, PhD

12:45pm – 1:15pm

"Why GMOs are a Good Thing"

Dr. Amanda Maxham, PhD

Amanda Maxham is a research associate and writer at the Ayn Rand Institute. She writes, speaks and gives interviews for ARI on topics in science and environmentalism, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), DDT and pesticides, climate change and energy. 

Dr. Maxham contributes regularly to public education and debate on science-based policy issues. She is a frequent contributor to the Institute’s blog, Voices for Reason, and is managing editor and host of Rise and Fall, ARI’s podcast focusing on ideas that shape the world. She holds a PhD in physics (astrophysics) from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.



  1. Situate genetic engineering within mankind’s long history of food improvement.

  2. Understand the importance of a human-centric approach in judging new food technologies.

Speaker: Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS RDN

Speaker: Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS RDN

1:15pm – 1:45pm

"GMOs: What Dietitians Need to Know"

Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS RDN

Melinda Hemmelgarn, a.k.a. the Food Sleuth®, is an award-winning writer, speaker, and nationally syndicated radio host, with more than 35 years’ experience in clinical, academic, and public health nutrition. Melinda serves on the Boards of Beyond Pesticides and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services, and contributes regularly to Organic Valley’s Rootstock Blog, and ACRES USA, where she explains the health benefits of organic food and agro-ecological farming methods. 



  1. Identify the most common genetically engineered crops, and related food products.

  2. Think critically about each application of genetic engineering to weigh potential benefits and risks.


1:45pm – 2:15pm

Questions and Comments

2:15pm - 2:30pm


Speaker: Dr. Peter Pressman, MD

Speaker: Dr. Peter Pressman, MD

2:30pm – 3:00pm

“Food Addiction: Clinical Reality or Mythology”

Dr. Peter Pressman, MD

Peter Pressman, MD, MS, FACN is Vice President, Medicine Public Health & Nutrition at The Daedalus Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia, and Director of Medical Operations at PolyScience Consulting in Chatsworth, California. Pressman has been instrumental in designing and coordinating healthcare services and product development in support of civil (medical) preparedness, rapid response and daily health requirements of those struggling with natural or manmade disasters.

Most recently, Pressman co-developed and taught the first-of-its-kind course in global nutrition in the Global Medicine Program at the USC Keck School of Medicine.



  1. Appreciate the neurobiological, phenomenological, and psychiatric distinctions between eating disorders and what has been termed “food addiction”

  2. Be able to critically review and appreciate the threats to validity inherent in the literature proposing “food addiction” and in particular “sugar addiction”

  3. Consider evidence-based approaches to helping medical providers, patients, consumers, and the media better understand behaviors leading to under- and over-nutrition.

Speaker: David Wiss, MS RDN

Speaker: David Wiss, MS RDN

3:00pm – 3:30pm

“Food Addiction: What Dietitians Need to Know”

David Wiss, MS RDN

David Wiss, MS, RDN is the founder of Nutrition In Recovery, which specializes in: Addictions, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, Body Image, and General Wellness.

Mr. Wiss has shared his expertise with numerous eating disorder and addiction facilities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Wiss is a published author, a renowned speaker, and is very passionate about his career and vision.

View more of David's work at NutritionInRecovery.com.



  1. Identify neurobiological advances in the field of food addiction.

  2. Explore potential benefits of viewing food addiction as a valid construct. 

  3. Explore negative consequences of not accepting food addiction as a valid construct.

3:30pm – 3:45pm

Questions and Comments


Closing Remarks

"The Future of the Dietetic Profession: Where Do We Go From Here?" 

Anet Piridzhanyan

(Each speaker will get 2 minutes to offer final thoughts about “moving forward”)


Thank You from LAD President Karmen Ovsepyan 



One Method Treatment

An exclusive and custom tailored Los Angeles drug rehab & dual diagnosis treatment center, heralded as the leading privately owned therapeutic experience in Southern California.

Marilyn Magaram Center

The mission of the Marilyn Magaram Center (MMC) is to enhance and promote health and well-being through research, education and services in food science, nutrition and dietetics.

Nutrition in Recovery 

Nutrition in Recovery is dedicated to the promotion of both physical and nutritional wellness as primary components of addiction recovery to contribute to positive long-term recovery outcomes.