Elizabeth Haven on Nutrition Policy & Advocacy

March 28, 2016

Liz Haven Day on Hill

We asked Liz about co-coordinating MDA Day on the Hill!

In what program are you in at Simmons?

I'm in the Didactic Program of Dietetics Certificate program.

What attracted you to Nutrition & Dietetics? And to Simmons?

I want to help people realize their potential and be well. I believe that by promoting health and wellness I can do that. The vastness of the field was a pull too. I am a very independent person and I like the idea of paving my own path. There are so many different opportunities in nutrition and dietetics and I am so excited to try to do a little bit of everything, learn as much as I possibly can and build a career I really love.

What attracted me to Simmons was the community. I instantly felt at home when I visited the campus for the first time and I really like the smaller classes. Compared to the DPD programs at larger schools, everything at Simmons just seemed more personal.

Tell me about MDA Day on the Hill.

Day on the Hill is an event that the Massachusetts Dietetic Association hosts every year at the Massachusetts State House. The event consists of a panel of speakers who discuss the importance of dietetics and the current health issues that face Massachusetts. Day on the Hill is also a day to advocate for the issues that are important to us. This year that was the funding of the MA Food Trust to improve food insecurity and inaccessibility in Massachusetts. The MDA uses Day on the Hill as an opportunity to introduce local dietetic interns to public policy and encourage their involvement.

Why did you get involved as coordinator of the event and what did it entail?

I asked Dr. Lisa Brown some questions after her Introduction to Community Nutrition class last summer and expressed my interest in nutrition public policy She mentioned that if I was interested in policy, coordinating this event would be a great opportunity.

I coordinated the event with Sarah L. Conca, MPA, RD, LDN who is the Public Policy Research Assistant for the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Sarah has been organizing the event for about five years now and is really great. We brainstormed a theme for the event, recruited some awesome speakers and found a legislative sponsor. Then of course, we needed to work with the caterer, invite the legislators, organize the dietetic interns and students and put together some of the handouts.

What was the highlight of the day?

Hearing from four Boston Public School children about how receiving breakfast in the classroom has benefited their class. They made some excellent points and were so poised and impressive.

What lessons from the experience will you take with you?

How important it is that we all get involved in politics and advocate for what matters to us. How can legislators advocate for their constituents without ever hearing what is important to them?

What does National Nutrition Month mean to you?

Advocating for reputable nutrition education and care. It also means recognizing registered dietitians as the food and nutrition experts, and advocating for their work so that we can improve the nation’s health.

Simmons Dietetic Interns attend MDA Day on the Hill.
March 14, 2016

Photos courtesy of Chloe Davis.