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How to Spread & Sustain Awareness of Malnutrition


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Suzanne Fleming, Mary Policastro Dinsdale, Leila Goharian, Heidi Olstad


The Canadian Malnutrition Task Force and the Canadian Nutrition Society are pleased to host this webinar in partnership with their society partner, ASPEN. 

Webinar description:

The data and evidence on the impact of malnutrition are strong; however, continued efforts are needed to increase awareness of malnutrition across several healthcare settings. Despite barriers and challenges brought on by staffing and funding restraints, many clinicians have been able to increase malnutrition awareness by using approaches that are targeted to their specific settings. In this session, several speakers from ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness Week (MAW) Ambassador Program and Canadian Nutrition Society’s Canadian Malnutrition Task Force (CMTF) will share their personal insights on how to increase awareness of malnutrition and which effective strategies can be deployed. Resources and tools that are easily available to support these efforts will also be shared. Concluding remarks will focus on key messages around sustaining initiatives aimed at increasing malnutrition awareness..

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the impact of malnutrition and the importance of increasing awareness
  2. Recall various strategies for raising malnutrition awareness in a variety of patient care settings
  3. Apply principles learned to initiate a malnutrition project in one’s own practice setting
  4. Describe strategies to measure success and sustain ongoing malnutrition awareness efforts

Suzanne Fleming, MS, RDN, LD., McPherson Hospital/McPherson Center for Health
Mary Policastro Dinsdale, MS RD, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center
Leila Goharian, MSc, RD, Vancouver Coastal Health
Heidi Olstad, MSc, RD, Nutrition Services at Alberta Health Services

Moderator: Kelly Kinnare, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, Director, Development and Strategic Partnerships, ASPEN | American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition kellyk@nutritioncare.org

About the Speakers:

Suzanne Fleming, MS, RDN, LD has been the Registered Dietitian at McPherson Hospital/McPherson Center for Health for seventeen years.  She graduated from Viterbo University in Wisconsin with her Bachelor of Science in Community-Medical Dietetics and received her Master of Science in Dietetics at Kansas State University.  Suzanne became an advocate for malnutrition awareness when she saw first-hand the repercussions after malnourished patients were discharged from the hospital. Her role in seeing patients in both the clinic and hospital setting fueled the desire to have all members of the medical team understand their role in combatting malnutrition.  Suzanne leads educational events for clinical staff and has incorporated a multidisciplinary approach for malnutrition awareness, including malnutrition screening and formal diagnosis criteria.  She remains passionate in identifying ways to improve processes and implement creative interventions to help combat malnutrition in their rural healthcare setting.   

Mary Policastro Dinsdale, MS RD is currently the Assistant Director of Clinical and Patient Services at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center for the past 5 years.  Her professional goal is to help her strong clinical team improve visibility, build strategic partnerships, and demonstrate value by correlating the dietitians work with improved hospital metrics and throughput goals.  She has been a contributing member of the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Core Steering Committee and an inpatient consultant /advisor to the newly created department within the outpatient arm of Kaiser Permanente-The Center for Health Living (CHL)-that manifested in large part due to the inpatient malnutrition advocacy work her team did at their medical center. CHL and West Los Angeles, with support of the Health Plan, created a targeted MQII based program to address patients at nutritional risk with the Medi-Cal Community Supports Medically Tailored Meal program in Southern California which has reached hundreds of at-risk people as of the summer of 2023.  Our goal is to improve patient’s outpatient nutritional baseline via inpatient and outpatient collaboration and monitor the clinical impact of RD intervention on intake and muscle mass retention with support from the research team.  Mary has her Master’s Degree from New York University and worked in both large and small clinical settings in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Leila Goharian, MSc, RD is a Dietitian Practice Leader for Coastal-clinical and Vancouver Community Dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health. She has been a member of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force- Primary Working Group for the past seven years and is currently co-chairing with Heather Keller. Leila is passionate about combatting malnutrition and has led many research projects and knowledge translation campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of identifying and treating malnutrition. She has played an instrumental role in implementing malnutrition screening as part of clinicians’ routine assessments across all Vancouver Home Care sites and is soon to be implementing regionally across VCH.

Heidi Olstad, M.Sc, RD graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and went on to become a Registered Dietitian. She then completed a Masters of Science in Health Promotion at the University of Alberta with her research focused on body image interventions in adult women. Heidi worked as a Public Health Dietitian for the first 12 years of her career before transitioning into leadership as a Nutrition Services Manager. That portfolio included managing public health and ambulatory nutrition services as well as liaising with primary care. During this time Heidi became interested in malnutrition in older adults and the role public health dietitians could play in supporting screening, supports and referral in the community.  Heidi is the current Program Director of Population & Public Health for Nutrition Services at Alberta Health Services. Her current portfolio also includes Indigenous Health and Research and Evaluation for Nutrition Services. 

About the Moderator:

Kelly Kinnare, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC is currently the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). Kelly has been a Registered Dietitian for 18 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at Western Michigan University and then went on to complete her Master’s degree/Dietetic internship at Rush University in Chicago, IL. Kelly has spent her entire career in the field of nutrition support – first as a Nutrition Support Dietitian at Rush University Medical Center and most recently as the Director of Clinical Nutrition for Option Care Health. She has been actively involved in research with over 15 publications in the area of nutrition support, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles, book chapters and abstracts.


Original Source: "Canadian Malnutrition Awareness Week Webinars" Thursday, September 28, 2023.

The views expressed by speakers or other third parties in CNS webinars, events and/or conferences are those of the speaker or third-party and not necessarily of CNS.


Length: 1:16:55

Type: Video

Last Updated: September 29, 2023

Name Type
How to Spread & Sustain Awareness of Malnutrition Video
Fleming - How to Spread and Sustain Awareness of Malnutrition File
Policastro Dinsdale - The Power behind Interdisciplinary Collaboration with Malnutrition Initiatives File
Goharian - Raising Malnutrition Awareness in Home Care File
Olstad - Malnutrition Screening in the Community File
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