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Laura Russell, MA, RDN, LD, CDCESLaura Russell, MA, RDN, LD, CDCES


Laura Russell is an RDN, CDCES and is the program coordinator at Endocrinology Clinic of Minneapolis. She has been an educator for over ten years and worked in various settings including research, inpatient care, telemedicine and out-patient clinics. Her expertise includes pregnancy and technology related to diabetes care. Laura enjoys teaching patients new skills and enjoys empowering them with the tools they need to reach their health goals. She is a contracted insulin pump trainer with all major pump companies. She has volunteered with Diabetes DPG for 8 years in various roles. She represented the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at a consensus conference on continuous glucose monitoring for American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in Washington, DC. She also co-authored an article in OTCE entitled “Insulin Management and Advancing Practice of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in Diabetes Care” in 2018. Laura enjoys trying new foods, cooking, gardening, attending sporting events and being outdoors with her husband and three young children.


Anna Parker, DCN, MS, RD, CDCES, FANDAnna Parker, DCN, MS, RD, CDCES, FAND


Anna Parker DCN, MS, RD, CDCES, CCRC, FAND is a research dietitian with Anaheim Clinical Trials in Anaheim, California. She is team leader for all clinical trials for patients with diabetes, prediabetes and obesity. She is passionate about diabetes and devoted to diabetes research to help patients improve their diabetes control and live a better quality of life. Anna is a graduate of Rutgers University where she received her Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition.

During her graduate studies, she obtained grant funding from the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group (DDPG) Karen Goldstein Memorial Grant for Diabetes Medical Nutrition Therapy to pursue a randomized clinical research trial to investigate the effect of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) compared with usual care on fasting plasma glucose values, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), serum lipid levels, and Diabetes Risk Score, from baseline to the end of a 12-week intervention in adults with overweight or obesity and prediabetes. Seventy-six subjects participated and the results were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has also published in the area of Evidence Based Practice in Dietetics.

Dr. Parker is also currently Adjunct Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in the clinical nutrition department. She has taught classes in preventive nutrition, advanced clinical nutrition, pharmacology, vitamin and mineral metabolism and human metabolism. She is dedicated to being a mentor for students and has also published articles with her graduate students. Dr. Parker promotes research and encourages her students to use evidence analysis.

Dr. Parker has served as Professional Development Chair for DDPG for the past three years. She has also served as research chair for DDPG before that. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; DDPG; Dominican University Alumni Association; and ACRP.

She has received various honors and awards as the: Diabetes DPG Publication Award, Huddleson Award, California Dietetic Association Excellence in Research Award, and the Pharma Times award for Beardsworth Citation for Patient Focus. Dr. Parker has also served as a National Study Coordinator for Novo Nordisk contributing to the area of clinical research trials.


Patricia Davidson, DCN, RDN, LDN, CDCES, FANDPatricia Davidson, DCN, RDN, LDN, CDCES, FAND


Patricia Davidson is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition, College of Health Sciences at West Chester University-PA, and holds degrees from Rutgers University (DCN, Doctor of Clinical Nutrition), Virginia Tech (MS, Nutrition and Food Science), Southern Illinois University (BS, Food and Nutrition). For 30 years she has worked as a clinician, researcher, and educator. Her clinical positions have included in-patient diabetes education, private practice, and community diabetes education. She is active in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on various task forces, including the development of practice guidelines (Evidence Analysis Library), Academy DGA Collaborative and Think Tank, and co-author of the Revised 2017 standards of practice and standards of professional performance for registered dietitian nutritionists (competent, proficient, and expert) in diabetes care. She also has served serves on the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (ADCES) practice, position paper, and research committees. Her awards include: Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award (NDEP/AND), Honors College Outstanding Faculty Award (WCU), Carolyn Sebastianelli Distinguished Member Award (NJDA), and the Distinguished Service Award (GSADE), and is a recipient of numerous grants.

Within DDPG, she has served as the Awards Chair, Membership Chair, DPG Delegate, and Print Publications Chair. Her research centers on prevention and management of diabetes throughout the lifecycle, interprofessional practice and collaborative care, role of the gut microbiome in disease, and the development of technology for diabetes management. She has authored or co-authored numerous manuscripts pertaining to diabetes treatment strategies, management, problem-solving, implementation of nutrition guidelines, and prevention.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Dwight and enjoys long walks, Italian food, travel, and keeping current in diabetes and nutrition research.


Blank_Canvas_on_Transparent_Background.pngVita Tambone, MPH, RDN, CDE, CDN


Vita Tambone is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist. She currently works as the Senior Manager of Diabetes Education and Support at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she helped start and continues to be a quality coordinator for an ADCES-accredited DSMES program. She also works part time providing nutrition counseling to clients through a private practice. 

Vita became an active member and volunteer early in her dietetics career and served as the Awards Chair from 2017-2019. She's excited to serve DDPG again as the organization's Secretary.

In her free time, Vita enjoys running, reading, theater, and playing with her dog, Bailey.


JoJo_Dantone.jpgJoJo Dantone, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND


Jo Jo Dantone has been owner and CEO of Nutrition Education Resources, Inc. (NERI) for over 46 years. NERI is a company that provides consultant Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists to health care facilities with an emphasis on geriatric and diabetes care. Jo Jo entered into partial retirement in the summer of 2019.

Jo Jo received a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS. She has been a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists for 25 years.

Jo Jo has assisted in establishing nine American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Programs and is currently Program Coordinator of an ADA Recognized Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program.

Jo Jo is a Past Treasurer of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a Past Chair of the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group (DDPG) and a Past Chair of the Dietitians in Health Care Communities (DHCC DPG). She is a Past President of the Louisiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Past Legislative Network Coordinator for the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Jo Jo received the Distinguished Service Award in 2020 and the Legislative Activity Award in 2016 from the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group. In 2016 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics granted Jo Jo the honor of becoming a Fellow of the Academy. She received the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award from the Louisiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 and from the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2000. Jo Jo has served the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in a public policy capacity for over 40 years for which she received the Legislative Activity Award from the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group in 2016, the Ann Gallagher Award for Legislative Activity Involvement in 2009 and the Award of Excellence in Grassroots Political Action in 2004.


Alison_Evert_Head_Shot.jpgAlison Evert, MS, RD, CDCES

Dietetic Practice Group Delegate

Alison has worked as a RDN/CDCES in a variety of clinical practice settings providing direct patient care for many years.  Over the last 5 years, she has had the honor and privilege of supervising an amazing team of RDN/CDCESs embedded in 14 primary care clinics associated with UW Medicine. This team provides evidence-based nutrition and diabetes/pre-diabetes education to patients referred by family practice and internal medicine providers.

In her current position, Alison also provides nutrition/diabetes education to primary care providers, dietetic interns, and serves frequently as an invited speaker at national and international conferences on diabetes nutrition topics. Career highlights include, serving as the co-chair the ADA’s 2019 Nutrition Therapy Recommendations for Adults with Diabetes and Pre-diabetes - consensus group committee and serving on the committee for the Academy’s 2015 EAL Update for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Alison has been a long-time, passionate volunteer of the Diabetes DPG, serving as Chair in 2002.


Cathy Huang, MPH, RDNCathy Huang, MPH, RDN

Membership Chair

Cathy graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis, and completed her dietetic internship and Master of Public Health at the University of Washington. She began her involvement with this DPG during her dietetic internship and had been on the DDPG Website Committee for several years. She is excited to now be serving as the Membership Chair.

Cathy has experience in several different areas of nutrition, including in post-acute care, long-term care, community nutrition, and food access. Cathy currently works for the City and County of San Francisco and oversees grants for community food programs. Outside of dietetics, Cathy enjoys spending time with loved ones, boating, and traveling. Some of her travel highlights include scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, caving in a glow worm cave, taking a paella cooking class in Spain, and bungee jumping at the "World Home of Bungee."


Kathy Warwick RD, CDCESKathy Warwick RDN, LDN, CDCES

Professional Development Chair

Kathy Warwick is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist with over 40 years of experience in several areas of dietetics practice.  She is owner of Professional Nutrition Consultants, LLC in Madison, Mississippi, providing diabetes education and support, long term care consultation, hospice consultation, wellness program services, media communications and medical-legal consultation. 

Kathy speaks regularly to community and professional groups and has presented multiple national webinars. She has authored several articles and serves as a medical reviewer for and Medical News Today. Kathy has served as the Editor of On the Cutting Edge and is the current Professional Development Chair for the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a Past-President of the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys her grand babies, gardening, caring for her chickens, yoga, and a weekly art class.



Print Communications Chair

Carrie S. Swift, MS, RDN, BC-ADM, CDCES, FADCES is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist and is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. Carrie has worked in multiple healthcare settings and roles in her career. Since 2010, she has been a diabetes educator at Kadlec Medical Center. Carrie earned her BS and MS degrees in Nutrition through Washington State University. She has been actively involved in the diabetes community as a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, Certification Board of Diabetes Care and Education, and the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.

Over the years, Carrie has held many leadership positions for the DDPG. She was honored to serve as Chair in 2007 and to be recognized with the group's Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and Diabetes Educator of the Year in 2013. In her free time, Carrie enjoys reading, playing tennis, and Pickleball. She lives in Richland, WA with her husband Neil and their two dogs.


KarenLau.pngKaren Lau, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES

IDEA Liaison

Karen Lau is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Originally from Hong Kong, she experienced the cultural differences in Asia and the United States, and is passionate about providing and advocating for more culturally-appropriate nutrition and diabetes care for Asian Americans. Lau is also interested in presenting and discussing ways to provide inclusive care in a diverse community. Her clinical interests include preventing and managing gestational and type 2 diabetes, and utilizing technologies for better diabetes management.


Toby Smithson MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, FANDToby Smithson, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, FAND

Nominating Committee Chair

Toby Smithson is a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES) and registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who has successfully managed her own type 1 diabetes for more than five decades.

She has dynamically combined her professional knowledge with her life experiences managing diabetes by producing scores of videos under the banner DiabetesEveryDay, guiding people with diabetes to better understand and practice diabetes self-management at her website, on YouTube at Diabetes EveryDay and on other social media platforms.


Toby was recently awarded the 2020 Diabetes Educator of the Year honor by the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a former media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and media spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists. Toby is a frequent resource for nutrition writers and bloggers and writes regularly for U.S. News & World Report. She is the principal author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies. When Diabetic Living Magazine was in publication (prior to November 2020), Toby was the Ask Toby columnist for this magazine.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science from Northern Illinois University’s Coordinated Undergraduate Program (1982) and her Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness with an entrepreneurship track from Benedictine University (2014). Toby is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND).


candice_tufano_vidapic.jpgCandice Tufano, RD, LD

Policy and Advocacy Leader

Candice is proud to provide free and equitable healthcare to our nation’s heroes at The Department of Veterans Affairs in Central Kentucky. She currently serves as the Policy and Advocacy Leader (PAL) for DDPG. She earned her dietetics degree from the University of Kentucky and completed her dietetic internship in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to discovering dietetics, Candice earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morehead State University double majoring in Government and Journalism. Her professional interests include early diabetes interventions, gestational diabetes, and health disparities in Appalachia. In her free time, she enjoys vegetable gardening and swooning over her rescue dog, Clementine.


Amanda_Kirpitch.pngAmanda Kirpitch, RDN, CDCES, CDN

Nutrition Services Payment Specialist

Amanda is the owner of Nutrition Perspective, LLC a private practice in New Jersey serving people with diabetes, eating disorders and cardiometabolic conditions with a focus on simplifying management and improving relationships with food. Amanda is also a certified pump and continuous glucose monitor trainer. She is passionate about helping people with food and nutrition and has been fortunate to speak on this topic both nationally and internationally. Prior to having her own practice, Amanda gained a wealth of experience working at Columbia University in New York as well as Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Amanda has been cited as a nutrition expert in numerous publications including Real Simple, the Washington Post, and Prevention.


Pamela TongPamela Tong, MS, RD, CDN

Electronic Communications Chair

Pamela Tong is a clinical dietitian who has been working in an acute care setting in New York for more than 5 years. She specializes in the nutritional management of patients in critical care and surgery. Pamela provides medical nutrition therapy for weight management and various conditions including endocrine and metabolic disorders, GI disorders, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and substance use disorders. She is dedicated to connecting patients in underserved communities to nutrition and medical resources.

She served as EML Moderator/Discussion board Moderator for DDPG from 2013-2022 before stepping into the Electronic Communications chair position.


Prajakta Khare-Ranade MSc, RDN, LD, CDCES, FAND

Awards Chair

Prajakta is the Outpatient Diabetes Educator and the program coordinator for the Diabetes Prevention Program at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO. She has served as the Nominating Committee Vice-Chair, Chair, and Outgoing Chair for the DDPG. Prajakta is currently perusing Ed. D in Adult Education from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She was recognized as one of four Diversity Leaders by the Academy in 2017. Her capstone project during the Diversity Leaders Program was supported by IAAND which led to the development of six Quick GUIDEs © for Ecuador, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. These Quick GUIDES© are now published in the Academy’s Nutrition Care Manual®, Prajakta also received the Wimpfheimer-Guggenheim Award (2014) and Gephardt Institute Civic Engagement Fund Awards from Washington University in St. Louis (2013 and 2014). She has presented at various local/national and international conferences and has authored/co-authored scientific publications. Prajakta has completed her dietetics internship at Saint Louis University and has earned a master’s degree in Foods, Nutrition, and Dietetics from Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science, Mumbai, India.

Prajakta is a people person and enjoys spending time with family and friends!


Cassie-Verdi_1.jpgCassie Verdi, MPH, RD

Corporate Relations Manager

Cassie is a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition communications, public health programming, health professional education, and culinary nutrition. In her current role, she works closely with DDPG’s leadership team to build relationships with industry collaborators, and to secure sponsorships that support the practice of DDPG’s membership.

Her previous work experience includes several years at FoodMinds, a division of Padilla, where she managed and implemented nutrition communication programs for food and beverage clients. Prior to working at Padilla, she was the Associate Director of Nutrition at the American Diabetes Association. She is the co-author of two books published by the American Diabetes Association: 21 Things you Need to Know About Diabetes and Nutrition and The Diabetes Superfoods Cookbook and Meal Planner. She is currently working on her third book. 

Cassie completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Miami University, and she completed her Dietetic Internship and Master of Public Health degree at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Outside of her work in nutrition, Cassie is busy at home with her three little girls. When she has the time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, trying new restaurants, long-distance running, cycling, and spending time outdoors with her family.


DCE_2015_Linda.jpgLinda Flanagan Vahl

Executive Manager

Linda began her career at the Academy as Manager of Professional Development with CDR in 1999, working with CPE Accredited Providers and recertification/credentialing.  Linda has been a DPG Manager since 2007, and enjoys working with volunteer leaders. Linda has a BA in Urban Studies/Public Policy from DePaul University in Chicago. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, tennis and volunteering in her community. She served on her local high school Board of Education for 8 years, and served on her local H.S. Education Foundation devoted to scholarship fundraising. Linda enjoys time with her husband, 2 daughters, 2 sons & cat 30 minutes southwest of Chicago.