History of the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly West Virginia Dietetic Association)

Sister Edwina of St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington saved Bulletins from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Much of the information here was derived from those Bulletins by Annabelle Cruise, who summarized the "First 50 Years" and the "First 60 Years". Annabelle interviewed several West Virginia RDs for her report.

The 1940s

"A state dietetic association was impossible when I first arrived in West Virginia as there were no other hospital dietitians who were ADA members. After a few years, we had more than ten members necessary to form an association." -Mildred Kent Shaw, 1st President of WVDA

In 1941 dietitians in Charleston, corresponding with other dietitians in the state, organized a meeting to arrange for affiliation. While there was no constitution or nominating committee, Adelaide Weber from Charleston was the "unofficial" president.

The first annual meeting was held in May, 1942, at the Hotel Frederick in Huntington. Educational speakers spoke on "Medical Treatment in Gastro-Intestinal Hemorrhage" emphasizing use of the Meidengract Diet and "The Community Nutrition Program". A ballroom was filled with commercial and professional exhibits. Mildred Kent Shaw of Ohio Valley General Hospital, Wheeling, was elected the first (legal) president. Fifteen active members were present which included practically all of the active membership.

Jean Riggs of McMillan Hospital, Charleston, wrote the first constitution.

Many of the dietitians then working in the state were not ADA members.

The second annual meeting was in 1943 in Parkersburg. The program included such subjects as "Food Rationing" and "O.P.A. Regulations" topics of great interest during the time of war.

The third annual meeting was in 1944 in Fairmont. Margaret Joseph of St. Joseph's Hospital, Parkersburg, was elected the third president. Most of the members were teaching Red Cross Nutrition Courses and were occupied with the labor and food problems created by the War.

The fourth annual meeting was in Charleston in 1945.

The fifth annual meeting was in 1946. Dorothy Franz of Morgantown was elected president.

In 1947 Morgantown was the site of the meeting.

The seventh annual meeting was at the Hotel Roanoke in Virginia where WVDA acted as hostesses to the Virginia and Carolina Dietetic Association.

Ona Stinson Gadd was elected president and delegate and was also bulletin chair.

The eighth annual meeting in 1949 was at Marshall College in Huntington. This was the first meeting attended by an ADA officer-Grace Bulman, the vice-president.

As a sidelight of this meeting, Margaret Joseph Doyle gave a vocational guidance talk over radio station WSAZ.

In 1949, WVDA took part in the national project of assistance to libraries in foreign countries when two cartons of books and magazines were mailed to the Home Economics Department of West China Union University.


The 1950s

The ninth annual meeting was held in Clarksburg. The main project of WVDA was the standardization of diabetic diets. This was an outgrowth of the national work on the same topic. Charleston dietitians met with representatives of the Diabetes Committee of the Medical Association. WVDA members assumed much of the responsibility connected with Camp Kno Koma, West Virginia's free camp for diabetic children of the state. Today members continue that responsibility.

The Charleston Association initiated a series of radio programs on "Mainly for Women".

Elizabeth Anderson Henry was president in 1951. The tenth annual meeting was held in Roanoke with the Carolinas-Virginias Hospital Association. There were 51 members.

An official cape was adopted by the group with "finger tip length of gray wool lined with cadet blue". Only 2 official capes were purchased.

It was decided to have 2 meetings per year.

In 1952, the 11th annual meeting was held in Roanoke with the theme "Improving Nutrition of Human Beings Through Service".

Sister M. Edwina Zerwas gave a detailed report from the Mid-century White House conference on what was accomplished in West Virginia for the social, economical, mental, spiritual and physical development of children.

Picture taken at the WVDA luncheon at the Beckley Hotel in 1955. Left to right (seated): Mildred Ornold, Nutrition Representative with American Institute of Baking; and Mary Boyles, President-Elect, WVDA. Standing: Winifred Castle, Dietitian with the VA Hospital in Clarksburg; Rachel Ferguson, retiring President; Ann File, Incoming President; and Cleo Gray, Marshall College.

In 1952 Cleo Gray, director of the dietetic curriculum at Marshall, became president.

The question of state licensing for dietitians was discussed and the consensus was we did not want to be licensed. The public relations committee was instructed to publicize "qualified" dietitian.

In 1953, the spring meeting was held jointly with the Home Economics Association at Jacksons Mill. Sister M. Edwina became the 12th president.

The WVDA Scholarship Program was established.

In 1958, there were 73 qualified members. "While the numbers have increased, the interest has not. If it were not for a faithful few, WVDA might actually fade out completely."

In 1959, WVDA purchased ADA's career guidance movies "View From the Mountain" for $125.

The 1960s

Finances were minimal. Active members' dues were $20 with $4 per member being for the state rebate. Registration for the Fall Meeting was $2 per members and $3 for non-members.

In 1960, the executive board prepared a Policy and Procedure Manual.

WVDA gave $100 for food management program sponsored by WV Restaurant Association and Raleigh Vocational Schools.

Alida Thistleton was president in 1960-61. She recalls a challenging time during her presidency: The meeting was to be in Parkersburg. They wanted to meet at the historic Chancellor Hotel. However, they learned that one of their members from Institute would not be allowed in the hotel. They decided to try the Blennerhasset Hotel. Yes, they were told, there was a table near the door and the member could come in the back door and sit there. WVDA had come face to face with segregation."

In 1961, attendance at the Spring Meeting was 24. The Charleston Dietetic Association was still active.

Elizabeth Bare Roberts was president in 1962. WVDA was 20 years old and growing at that time.

In 1968 the Fall Meeting was at White Sulphur Springs with the topic "Convenience Foods".

In 1968, ADA Registration required continuing education hours.

In 1969, members worked with Camp Bronco Junction, an 8 week/nonprofit program in Putnam County for asthmatic children.

In 1967 there were 105 dietitians in West Virginia. In 1969, there were 85. "Young dietitians leave the state; old dietitians retire." No facilities met requirements for internships.

Three $25 scholarships given to undergraduates from 1954-1957 were discontinued for a period of time due to lack of funds. Records indicate a undergraduate entering an internship or graduate programs has received a scholarship since 1968.

The Spring Meeting in Charleston in 1969 was the 1st joint meeting with the WV Hospital Association.

In 1969 some interest in consulting was expressed by 25 dietitians.

In 1969, dietitians began using R.D. after their name.

Margaret Ferguson Pfoust was on almost every committee possible in the 60s, 70s and 80s and she was our delegate for a period of time. She was never president. "No (says Margaret), but I am much more comfortable putting my 'two cents worth' in from the side lines." This editor remembers that Margaret (then a public health dietitian in Charleston) gladly let me shadow her over Christmas break during my internship in 1975.

The 1970s

West Virginia First Lady Mrs. Arch Moore entertained the membership during National Nutrition Week.

In 1979, First Lady Sharon Rockefeller served as Honorary Chairman of National Nutrition Month and entertained the membership at the Governor's Mansion.

For Helen Lodge, the highlight of her presidency in 1975 was meeting the speakers: Dr. Frederick Stare, who wrote the book "Panic in the Pantry" and Dr. Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who spoke on "Death and Dying". It seems Helen managed to hear Dr. Stare speak 38 times-a few repeats!

Journal Clubs for the purpose of acquiring Continuing Education Hours were formed in many areas of the states.

Many hospitals in the state had ADA approved traineeships in their Dietary Departments, which provided a route to membership.

In the late 1970s, a Coordinated Undergraduate Dietetic Program began at WVU.

Presidents in the late 70s all reported struggles with finances. One bright spot was that several young dietitians were coming into the state and with a little encouragement, volunteered to get involved.

In 1979, there were 184 members-137 registered and 47 non-registered.

Recognition of WVDAs own members began in 1971 with the Outstanding Dietitian being recognized by the South Eastern Hospital Association.

In 1975, ADA asked each state to select a member as Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year.

In 1990, Margaret Lavery received ADA's Huddleston Award and in 1991 Diane Salamie received the National Estee Award for Nutrition Education from the American Association of Diabetic Educators.

In 1977, members worked with Camp Bronco Junction, an 8 week camp for asthmatic children in Putnam County.

The 1980s

In 1980, the membership was 200 with 152 registered, 48 non-registered and 21 students.

In 1983, the proposed ADA dues were $90-100 with a state rebate of $15.

In 1980, the balance in our budget was $5,090. In 1985, the balance was $15,717. Funds were reserved for the licensure project. In 1986, a timetable was developed to pursue licensure. The bill was defeated in 1987 and 1988.

District dietetic associations operated in Huntington (WOK), Charleston (CDDA) and Morgantown (MDDA). WOK developed a Huntington area diet manual.

In 1980, 3 WVDA dietitians were among the founders of ADA's Consulting Dietitians in Health Care Facilities. In 1984, WVCD-HCF was organized with 25 members.

In 1983 the first dietetic internship in West Virginia was accredited at WVU Hospital. Six young women entered the one-year program in October.

West Virginia Food & Fitness Year was proclaimed by John J. Rockefeller IV, Governor in 1983.

Nutribird was a common nutrition education theme shared throughout the state.

In 1984, the first male president was elected-Frank Markun.

In 1985, WV Department of Education sought help from members in their quest to prevent sale of non-nutritious competitive foods during the school day.

Recognizing the contribution to dietetics of non-members in West Virginia, WVDA established the Rhododendron Award in 1988. Dr. Margaret Albrink was the first recipient.

The 1990s


Past Presidents Picture from 1992 gala: Back Row, Elizabeth Henry, Evelyn DiTrapano, Elizabeth Bare, Rosemary Kelly, Lena Richardson, Mary Jane Newland, Mary Catherine Hawes, Susan Foster, Annabelle Cruise, Anna Orr, Margaret Abbott, Helen Lodge, Diane Keegan. Front Row: Pat Conaway, Grace Barnett, Frank Markun, Lillian Halverson, Kathy Hettlinger, Denise Harper, Frances Wilkinson)

In 1992 WVDA had a 50 year celebration. On that day in April, we looked back and focused on the future, specifically licensure and reimbursement. 5 years later, licensure was achieved.

In 1996, House Bill 4126 was signed into law. Helen Lodge, Evelyn DiTrapino, Kathy Hettlinger and Frank Markun fought long and hard in the struggle and stayed with it all the way.

In February, 1992, Marshall submitted a self-study to ADA in an effort to begin an internship program. It was approved in December, 1992. The first class started in June, 1993. Tracy Hawthorne and Ann Groce were in the first class.

In 1996 there were 196 active ADA members in West Virginia.

The WV Board of licensed Dietitians was comprised of Helen Lodge, Frank Markun, Sharon Maynard and Evelyn DiTrapano.

In 1994, new awards created for a Dietetic Educator and Outstanding Dietetic Student. We continued recognition of Outstanding Dietitian of the Year and Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, as well as the scholarship for a dietetic intern or graduate student. Recognition of nonmembers for their contribution to nutrition continued with the Rhododendron award.

In 1996, Larry Swann (picture) was awarded a Distinguished Fellow Award for his efforts and assistance in attaining licensure.

The 2000s


2001 WVDA President Susan Poindexter (on right) with ADA President

A highlight of the annual meeting is having the ADA President speak.


Leadership Institute, Helen Lodge, Mindy Zook-Weaver, Sharon Maynard and Betty Forbes

In 2004, Mindy Zook-Weaver served as ADA Speaker of the House after 25 years of service in WVDA. Several WV members attend ADA's leadership institute.


2004 "Run Obesity Out of West Virginia" relay

A 2004 relay run "Run Obesity Out of West Virginia" raised awareness across the state with community events in seven cities.


2004: Richard McGinnis receives ADA's Emerging Dietetic Leader Award

In 2004, Richard McGinnis, organizer for the Run Obesity Out of West Virginia event, receives ADA's Emerging Dietetic Leader Award.


2009 Childhood Obesity Essay Contest awardees with Governor and First Lady Manchin

In 2009, a childhood obesity essay contest was conducted for 7th grade students with prizes presented at the WV Capital Easter Egg Hunt.


In 2009, Helen Lodge is awarded ADA’s prestigious Medallion Award.

The 2010s

The profession of dietetics has evolved into science and evidenced –based fields. MNT-Medical Nutrition Therapy- the "nutritional diagnostic therapy and counseling services" for the purpose of disease management, furnished by qualified nutrition professionals-is recognized as an integral part of healthcare.

The name change to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, on January 1, 2012, reflects "nutrition of the 21st century".


The Annual "Dietitian Day at the Legislature" provides the opportunity to meet with elected officials in their capital offices. Governors have been consistent with a proclamation of National Nutrition Month.


WV dietitians exhibit posters at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo annually. Here these knowledgeable and inspiring professionals present and discuss their cutting-edge research.

WV dietitians perform in key roles in public health initiatives and serve on numerous food and nutrition boards and commissions.


In 2012, the group celebrated "Seven Decades of Service" at a gala in Morgantown. Past presidents attending the gala included (left to right): Kendra Stoen, Annabelle Cruise, Mary Kathryn Gould, Lillian Halverson, Amy Gannon, Sharon Maynard, Linda St. Clair, Kelli Williams, Susan Poindexter, Eloise Hollen, Richard McGinnis, Helen Lodge, Frank Markun, Diane Keegan, Karen Ghiardi, Betty Forbes, Anna Orr Bronsak, Evelyn DiTrapano, Stacy Wellman and Peg Andrews.


In 2016, two scholarships for dietetic internship and dietetic students were awarded in honor of West Virginia Dietitians Helen Lodge and Lillian Halverson.