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Dynamic Duo: Nutrition Researcher and Communicator Team Up to Advocate for Dietetic Practitioners and Students with Disabilities

Nutrition communications consultant, Neva Cochran, and nutrition researcher, Suzi Baxter, team up to address the need for access and inclusion of dietitians with disabilities in the profession and the Academy.

Member Price $24.00

Nonmember Price $54.00


Date: March 8
Time: noon - 1 p.m. (Central time)

In February 2016 Neva Cochran, a RDN nutrition communications consultant, was contacted by a young Academy member and DPD graduate with a disability seeking her advice for matching with a dietetic internship. After working with her for 10 months, she contacted her longtime colleague, Dr. Suzi Baxter, a RD research professor for her assistance. Suzi had an acquired disability due to a rare disorder diagnosed in 2011. Over the next few months working together, they realized there was a larger concern than one dietetics professional with a disability and the issue took on a broader perspective. Over the last 6 years, Neva and Suzi have been actively involved in advocacy efforts to foster access, inclusion and recognition of dietetics professionals with disabilities. Their synergistic skills have resulted in a very successful collaboration. Neva excels at communication, marketing, public relations, networking, connecting, speaking, consumer writing and has vast experience in Academy leadership and knowledge of the organization while Suzi is a gifted researcher, grant writer, author of nearly 100 professional journal articles and speaker at numerous professional conferences as well as a leader in the Academy at all levels.

CPEU: 1.0
CPE Level: 2
Performance Indicators: 3.1.2, 4.1.1, 4.2.1, 4.2.7, 6.1.1, 6.4.1

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe 2 ways a RD researcher and practitioner worked together to promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and access for students, interns and practitioners with disabilities in the dietetics profession.
  2. Explain 3 benefits of researcher/practitioner collaboration in enhancing the dietetics profession.
  3. Formulate a strategy to create a research project between researchers and dietetic practitioners in your institution/workplace.


Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Registered dietitian nutritionist, Neva Cochran, is a nutrition communications consultant in Dallas, Texas who is passionate about promoting fact-based food and nutrition information to help people eat beyond the headlines and enjoy a variety of nutrient-rich foods. She serves as a consultant for food, nutrition and agriculture organizations. In addition, she is a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Speakers Bureau and the Animal Ag Alliance Allies program. She is frequent speaker for professional and consumer groups and blogs about hot food and nutrition topics on her “Eating Beyond the Headlines” blog. She also wrote a monthly nutrition article for Southern Dallas County Business and Living Magazine from 2012 - 2021. In addition, she was a freelance writer for Woman’s World magazine for 20 years and for Maximum Fitness and The Female Patient magazines for five years each.

An active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, she has served as President of both the Dallas and Texas Dietetic Associations, a member of the Academy House of Delegates, a national Academy media spokesperson and Chair of the Academy Foundation. Neva was a 2012 recipient of the Academy’s Medallion Award, 2016 recipient of the Texas Academy’s Outstanding Preceptor Award and 2021 Dietitians in Business and Communications DPG Founders Award. And in May 2016, she was invited to present the keynote speech, “Take Opportunities, Make Opportunities and Walk Through Fear,” at the Texas Woman’s University College of Health Sciences commencement. After receiving her BS degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Oklahoma, she completed a dietetic internship at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and earned a Masters in Nutrition at the Texas Woman’s University.

Suzanne Domel Baxter, PhD, RD, LD, FADA, FAND

Dr. Baxter completed her bachelor’s degree and a Coordinated Undergraduate Program at Texas Christian University, MS and PhD at the Texas Woman’s University, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia.  Her dietetics career includes foodservice/clinical (residential school for children with disabilities), clinical (adult outpatient clinic), school foodservice (Training/Quality Control Supervisor), public health (WIC Supervisor), and research.  As Principal Investigator on numerous research grants funded mainly by the National Institutes of Health, her primary research concerned the accuracy of dietary recalls by children.  She has authored 93 peer-reviewed articles, 5 chapters, 180 poster or podium presentations, and 97 invited presentations.  She had to resign her Research Professor position in late 2016 due to an acquired disability which impacts her mobility.

Dr. Baxter’s leadership service includes the Academy (D&I Advisory Group 2021; EAL Adult Weight Management Workgroup 2020-present; Health Equity and Diversity Affinity Group since 2021; Dietary Guidelines Affinity Group since 2022; Farm Bill Task Force 2022; Strategic Advancement Group for Diversity and Inclusion area 2022; Diversity Leaders Program 2017-19; Journal Board of Editors 2007-2022), Research DPG (past Treasurer; Mentor since 2017; Diversity Liaison 2017-19), COGA MIG (past Membership Chair; current Treasurer), NOBIDAN MIG (Mentor since 2021); Foundation (Scholarship Review Committee and Chair [2009-10, 2016-19]); Second Century Philanthropy Council), and South Carolina Affiliate (President-Elect, President, Past-President 2009-12; past Foundation Fundraising Liaison; Diversity/IDEA Liaison since 2019).  As a Diversify Dietetics member, she was a DICAS mentor in 2021, served on the 2022 Scholarship Selection Committee, and is now a student mentor.  She chaired the Task Force and fundraising to create the Amy Joye Memorial Research Award endowed through the Academy Foundation.

Dr. Baxter’s honors include the 2012 South Carolina Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, 2016 Research Dietetic Practice Group First Author Publication Award, and 2017 Monsen Award for Outstanding Research Literature.

Release Date: March 8, 2023


Educator Publication Review Program

We are honored to offer a complimentary electronic examination copy (temporary access) for books being considered for adoption, and a complimentary print or electronic desk copy for books adopted for use in an undergraduate or graduate course or in a dietetic internship