By Alisha Bowen
With all of the acronyms floating around, it may sometimes seem like they're nothing but the result of a spilled bowl of alphabet soup.
The acronyms in the medical and professional world can be particularly confusing as it seems as if every medical condition and professional organization has its own unique acronyms that frequently overlap with one another. There is an actual rhyme and reason behind these acronyms, however, and they often help to explain an organization's mission and background.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA), is one such organization. ADA is the largest worldwide organization representing food and nutrition professionals, such as registered dietitians (RDs), dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs), dietetic students, educators, and international members. ADA manages the educational training of RD eligible students through a subsidiary called the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE).
The basis for ADA's founding in 1917 was inspired by the commitment to healthfully feed the troops in World War I. It then evolved into "improving the nation's health and advancing the field of dietetics through research, education, and advocacy" and that commitment still exists. According to http://www.eatright.org, the vision statement is: "Optimizing the nation's health through food and nutrition." However, much of the public is still unclear on what the term "dietetics" encompasses, along with the lack of the word nutrition. Hence, ADA has recognized this problem and responded in a noteworthy way.
Effective Jan. 1, the ADA will become the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, or AND. ADA President Sylvia A. Escott-Stump, RD, announced the name change to members in September: "An academy is a 'society of learned persons organized to advance science.' ... By adding nutrition to our name, we communicate our capacity for translating nutrition science into healthier lifestyles for everyone. Keeping dietetics supports our history as a food and science based profession. ... The name change communicates that we are the nutrition experts."
As a result, CADE's name will change to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, or ACEND, an acronym securing the professional training and educational standards of registered dietitians.
Dietetics, the science of food and nutrition as it correlates to health, continues to advance, and it seems fitting that its governing organization would advance along with it. It is expected that the transition to AND will change the public's perception of the field, and command more respect for the knowledge of dietetics professionals.
For information, visit http://www.eatright.org.