Greetings! As we transition to the 2017-2018 MAND year, I wanted to let you know what we’ve been busy with this past few months.
It was an active spring for MAND, particularly for our public policy panel members, who were working on testimony for a number of bills. Thanks go out to Patsy Catsos for providing testimony at the hearing on April 14th for LD 1162 – An Act to Reduce the Incidence of Obesity and Chronic Disease in Maine. This bill will allow coverage under the Mainecare Program for Medical Nutrition Therapy for certain diagnoses including: overweight, obesity, prediabetes, hypertension, malnutrition, disorders of lipid metabolism, unintended weight loss in older adults, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes. This bill is almost identical to the federal Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which the Academy supports and has been advocating for over the past several years.
Thanks also to Heather Healy, who provided testimonies including LD 692 – Resolve to Provide Meals to Homebound Individuals, as well as voicing support of LD 263, which is an Act to Provide Additional Assistance for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Receiving Food Supplement Program Benefits. Specifically, this bill will increase the minimum SNAP benefit for seniors from $16 to $30 per month.
The MAND Legislative Breakfast, back on March 1st, had an excellent turnout! There were presentations from multiple board members as well as a brief acceptance speech by Representative Scott Hamman, who received MAND’s Public Policy Leadership award. Representative Hamann has remained committed to supporting child nutrition and advocating for food security for Maine citizens. Despite a great event, we still hope to see some new faces next year! The Legislative Breakfast is a wonderful way to connect with your state leaders and make your voice heard. If you’re reluctant, we are more than willing to help provide talking points. Our voices do your matter, and can help create change in the public policy arena.
I also want to thank everyone that participated in the planning for this year’s MAND Spring Conference which took place on March 24th. We had a wonderful turnout with over 70 registrants at our conference locations: Southern Maine Community College and at University of Maine, Orono. The conference committee recognizes that the membership is geographically spread out and this clearly presents a challenge to some of our members in outlying areas. Overall, it was well-received despite having to navigate the technology. the diverse technology that the University of Maine System has to offer. MAND is always looking for help in planning our conferences. If you’d like to present at a conference, have an idea for a session, or would like to help on the conference committee, please reach out and let us know! It’s a great committee to be on if you’d like to get to know others in MAND and you have just a small amount of time in your schedule.
I’ve had a great time serving as MAND President this past year. It’s been an honor to work with the MAND Board members, and especially gratifying to serve you, our MAND members. This month we hold our transition meeting and Ali Caron will be taking over the position of President for the 2017/18 term. I’m confident she will be effective and enthusiastic in her role as an advocate for our profession and members.
2016-2017 MAND President