On October 24, 2022, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) published the fact sheet “Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Corporate capture of the nutrition profession.” If you haven’t read it, I strongly urge you to do so to gain a deeper understanding of what’s at stake for our industry and our nation’s health.
While you may find the findings of the USRTK to be shocking, this isn’t new information. In January 2013, Michele Simon, public health attorney, food policy expert, and author released the report “And Now a Word from our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?” Again, I hope you’ll read this report.
These articles tell how the most powerful nutrition association in the U.S. accepts millions of dollars annually from junk food companies in exchange for influence over their members and the nation’s food policy. It’s an ugly story that illustrates how unhealthy foods have been labeled “healthy” in exchange for corporate sponsorships. (Among other things, these sponsorship dollars help to fund the years-long campaigns that keep holistically trained nutrition professionals from working in some states and limit our scope of practice in others.) But I don’t want to focus on what they are doing.
I want to tell you how WE handle sponsorships here at the NANP so you can have confidence in our process and know that we are 100% committed to transparency. We strive to provide you, our members, with information about high-quality products, services, and educational offerings to help further your career in the holistic nutrition industry.
So, here are our promises to you:
- Speaking spots at HEALCon are not for sale. While other nutrition associations put sponsors on stage in exchange for big money, we do things entirely differently. I’ll be honest; I wish I had a dollar for every time a company representative said, “We’ll sponsor your conference IF our speaker is selected.” But that’s not how we roll. Neither the NANP Team nor the Board of Directors selects the speaker line-up. Instead, our Conference Planning Committee, comprised of nearly forty (40) NANP member volunteers, determine who will go on stage. Is this a laborious process? Yes. Would allowing the sponsors and exhibitors to provide our educational sessions be easier and more profitable? Yes. Do we think that would give our attendees the most valuable learning experience? NO!
- We carefully vet every company that wants to do business with us. Our team spends hours upon hours researching companies to understand as much as we can about their products, services, and ownership. And we’ve left some potentially BIG deals behind because the company’s owners didn’t share our quality and sustainability values.
- It’s all about what’s right for you, our members. Adhering to our Scope of Practice is critical to our ability to work safely and legally. So, when putting products and services up for your consideration, we always keep our Scope of Practice in mind. Whether it’s a podcast topic or a product you might recommend to your clients, we want you to be confident you’re not overstepping and staying in your lane.
At the heart of it, the NANP is, for all intents and purposes, a FUBU organization – For Us By Us. And because we are holistic health practitioners, we approach our business the same way. We pay particular attention to the details and don’t allow flashing dollars to dictate who we will invite on stage or with whom we’ll partner. Doing our work with integrity overrides the desire to post big earnings.
“Integrity is doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching.” -CS Lewis
Your trusted partner in health,
Nicole Hodson, NC, BCHN®, CDSP™
NANP Executive Director
P.S. If reading this note has created a spark and you’re thinking of a company that would be a good fit for your NANP peers, please send the information to us. We’re always looking for great companies in our space!