Dr. Lauri Wright named national nutrition spokesperson

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Lauri Wright, PhD, RD, LD, assistant professor in the USF College of Public Health, is one of 10 newly named national media spokespersons for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each is selected to serve a three-year term on the 30-member board of registered dietitian-nutritionists. Collectively, they conduct more than 3,000 nutrition and healthful-eating interviews each year with print, broadcast and online media. The Academy appoints 10 new spokespersons every year.

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“With nutritional health continuing to be such a popular focus in all forms of media, it is vital that the public receive accurate, science-based information they can trust, and the Academy and its volunteer media spokespeople are the best source,” said Sonja Connor, Academy president.

“As recognized food and nutrition experts, these 30 individuals serve as the face and voice of the Academy in the media, providing consumers with information they can use to eat right, live better and make knowledgeable and healthful food choices,” Connor said.

Everyone chosen to be an Academy spokesperson has completed a supervised practice program and passed a registration examination, in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification.

“It is an honor to be chosen as an Academy spokesperson,” Wright said. “With the popularity of nutrition in all forms of media, it is vital that the public receive accurate, science-based information they can trust. I see my role as an Academy spokesperson as an extension of my role as a professor – teaching the community about nutrition in order to help improve their health.”

In 2013, Wright was president of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and she serves on the board of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. She also is a former clinical dietitian for the Veterans Administration, where she provided medical nutrition therapy for veterans with chronic disease.

Through its Kids Eat Right campaign, the Academy further recognized Wright this month by naming her one of its Everyday Heroes for June.

“In my role as a Kids Eat Right advocate, I focus on public policy to help promote children’s nutritional health,” Wright said. “Next year will be a critical year as the Child Nutrition Act is re-appropriated. This is where research and public policy join – outcomes studies that demonstrates the impact of nutrition intervention.”

A second-year assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Health, Wright teaches courses on community nutrition, food and culture, and lifespan nutrition. Through her research, she works with food insecurity, obesity prevention in children, and the nutritional needs of people with AIDS. She earned her doctorate at USF.

Story by David Brothers, USF College of Public Health. Photo by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications

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