Women's Health DPG Awards - 2020 Nominations

Nominations for the WH DPG annual awards are now being solicited. The following awards will be posted in Academy publications and presented at the upcoming FNCE®.

Excellence in Practice Award– this award is to recognize a DPG member who has exhibited outstanding service, dedication and/or innovation to the field of women’s health and nutrition.

Emerging Professional Award – this award is to recognize a member of the DPG who has exhibited interest and initiative in the area of women’s health.

Outstanding Student Award – this award will recognize two (2) student members of the DPG who have exhibited outstanding service, leadership and accomplishment.

Each nomination requires two (2) letters of recommendation. Please consider nominating a qualified candidate or yourself!

Deadline for Nominations is June 1, 2020.

View Past Awards Winners


2019 Winners

Excellence in Practice in Women’s Health - Mara Vitolins, DrPH, MPH, RDN


Dr. Mara Vitolins is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She has training in preventive care, wellness, health education and promotion, and is proud to be a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist. She is committed to developing and implementing interventions to improve health, and specifically women’s health.  Her research in women’s health includes serving as an investigator on the Women’s Health Initiative (Wake Forest Clinical site), the largest and longest trial ever conducted in women.

Emerging Professional in Women’s Health - Melissa Groves, RDN


Melissa Groves, RDN, is an integrative registered dietitian and owner of Avocado Grove Nutrition & Wellness, an in-person and virtual private practice specializing in women's health and hormone issues, including PCOS and fertility, which she opened in January 2018. She uses a functional medicine, food-first approach that combines holistic lifestyle changes with evidence-based medicine.Melissa is a second-career dietitian, having worked as a copywriter and editor in medical advertising in NYC for 15 years before going back to school for nutrition. She has a BA in English and Dance from Hofstra University and completed her BS in Nutrition/Dietetics and Dietetic Internship at the University of New Hampshire.

She is a regular contributor to and writes for several other food and nutrition blogs. She has managed social media accounts for multiple nutrition businesses and non-profits and shares information about nutrition and women's hormone issues on her Instagram account @the.hormone.dietitian.

She has served on the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine Board for 2 years as Social Media Chair, as well as on the New Hampshire state board as Professional Development Chair. She has been a Women's Health DPG member for 2 years.

Outstanding Student in Women’s Health - Jeani Hunt-Gibbon


Jeani Hunt-Gibbon is a graduate student and Top Scholar recipient in Nutrition at the University of Washington. She has 10 years of professional experience in marketing and is transitioning into the healthcare sector to follow her passion for preventative healthcare and women's health issues. Throughout her time at the University of Washington, Jeani has taken a special interest in women's health and plans to continue this specialty in her career as a dietitian. She decided to do her capstone on nutritition and fertility, because there are very few resources for dietitians on this emerging topic. She also gave a lecture to over 100 undergraduates on nutrition and pregnancy as a teaching assistant for an introductory nutrition course and worked with Judy Simon on her Nutrition for Fertility class. She is passionate about clinical nutrition and loves helping clients overcome barriers to better health. Before turning to nutrition, Jeani had a successful career in food, wine, and hospitality PR and Marketing and earned an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Literature. After graduation, Jeani plans to eventually open her own business dedicated to women's health.

Outstanding Student in Women’s Health - Manisha Pise


Manisha Pise is a Master of Public Health and Dietetics student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Currently, she is completing her clinical internship at Johnston Memorial Hospital, Smithfield, NC. She is originally from Mumbai, India, where she completed most of her education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and a master’s degree in Life Science with a specialization in Neurobiology, from Mumbai University and a postgraduate diploma in Clinical Research. In addition to this, she has completed the Integrative Health Coach Professional training (IHCPT) and EFT training from Duke University. Her personal health interests include Integrative medicine, Mindfulness meditation, Ayurveda, Yoga, Aromatherapy, and Energy psychology. Aside from school, she loves to cook, read, listen to music, and explore new places and cuisines.

Spring 2019 Announcement:


Women’s Health DPG member and HOD representative, Kathleen Pellechia received the 2019 Outstanding Preceptor Award from Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors (NDEP)!

Kathleen was nominated by Phyllis McShane, MS, RD, LDN, Director, Dietetic Internship, University of Maryland.



2018 Winners

  • Excellence in Practice in Women’s Health - Jean Tiffany Cox, MS, RD, LN
  • Emerging Professional in Women’s Health - Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

2017 Winners

  • Excellence in Practice in Women’s Health -Helen Lane, PhD, RD
  • Emerging Professional in Women’s Health -Kendra Tolbert, MS, RDN, CLC, CDN

2016 Winners

  • Excellence in Practice in Women’s Health - Lisa Akers, MS, RDN, IBCLC, RLC, FAND (Video)
  • Emerging Professional in Women’s Health - Traci Briant Causey, MS, MBA, SNS
  • Outstanding Students in Women’s Health - Lee Crosby (Video) & Leila Shinn (Video)