Current Recipients

Congratulations to all WM DPG Stipend and Award Recipients!

2019 Advocacy Summit


Courtney G. Riedel, MS, RDN, LDN

I was honored to attend the Nutrition and Dietetics Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC this past July thanks to a stipend from WM DPG. It was incredibly energizing to be with passionate dietitians from across the country who choose to take time off work or away from other obligations in order to discuss legislation related to our field with members of Congress. Of the legislation discussed, The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act is especially important for our DPG as it would give the public better access to dietitians for weight management services.

While the meetings on Capitol Hill were the focus of the summit, the opportunity to network with other dietitians was also important. The day prior to the summit, I was able to connect with fellow Pennsylvania dietitian Tracy Oliver, our current WM DPG Chair. Through Tracy, I met another member of our WM DPG leadership, Alexandra Thompson. I was encouraged to hear their excitement for weight management as we talked through specific roles and challenges over dinner. As a newer dietitian, I appreciated learning what they most enjoy about their jobs and ways in which I can implement similar ideas and energy in my current role.


Nicole Reed, RDN, LDN

This year I had the great pleasure of attending the 2019 Policy Advocacy Summit.  As we all do, I spend most of the year in my local community working among other local dietitians. Being at a table, surrounded by a table of policy-driven dietitians from my state, was incredibly inspiring and motivating. This year, we even gave a warm welcome to a dietitian relocating to our state. The topic of obesity is of great importance to me as a dietitian in working within a pediatric obesity program. I had the opportunity to talk to some of my state's representatives face-to-face and bring awareness to food and nutrition-related issues to their attention.

The summit is an incredible opportunity to connect and network with a vast number of dietitians with a variety of specialties but all with the common goal of promoting policy in food and nutrition.


WM 2019 Award Recipients


Brenda Davy, PhD, RDN (Excellence Research Award) is a Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech. She conducts research investigating the role of diet and physical activity behaviors in the prevention and treatment of obesity and related comorbidities, beverage consumption and weight management, and dietary assessment methodologies. Dr. Davy received a BS in Nutrition in 1989 and an MS in Exercise Physiology in 1992 from Virginia Tech, and a PhD degree in Nutrition from Colorado State University in 2001. Dr. Davy is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and The Obesity Society (FTOS), and currently serves on the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health. To date, she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. At Virginia Tech, she directs the Laboratory for Eating Behaviors and Weight Management, and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in health assessment and research methods.


Jane Sylvestre, MS, RDN, LDN (Excellence in Practice Award) brings research into practice to facilitate long term weight loss success for her patients.  She is the lead dietitian at the Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England.

Jane has been working with bariatric patients for over 10 years.  She received a Master of Science from Texas Woman’s University and Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts.   She received her level 1 and 2 certificates in Adult Weight Management from the Academy.  She received the “Young Dietitian of the Year” from the Academy and recently won the 2018 Excellence in Nutrition Award from ASMBS.

Jane founded the New England Bariatric Surgery Dietitian Network and organized numerous bariatric conferences.

She writes a comprehensive newsletter for Care New England.   For her patients, she teaches hands-on cooking classes, gives supermarket tours, hosts support groups, developed a mentor program, administrates a Facebook group called “cast-a-weighs, and participates in 5K’s regularly.  She organized the 2019 ASMBS Walk from Obesity for RI.  Jane created and operates a “bariatric boutique” for patients downsizing clothing.

In her spare time, Jane loves to run.  Jane has completed 8 marathons, 1 of which she encouraged and ran with one of her patients. 


Colleen Tewksbury, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN (Excellence in Emerging Outcomes Research Award) is a Senior Research Investigator and Bariatric Program Manager at the University of Pennsylvania. Colleen completed her bachelor’s degree and dietetic internship at La Salle University’s Coordinated Program in Philadelphia, earned her master of public health degree at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and received her doctorate of philosophy degree in public health from Temple University. She has held multiple positions for Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PAND) and Philadelphia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (PhillyAND) including being the outgoing immediate past-president of PhillyAND and incoming president-elect of PAND.  She serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the new CSOWM board exam and is a facilitator for CDR’s Certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions for Adults. Now that Colleen has finished graduate school, in true millennial style, she spends most of her newfound free time traveling, trying new experiences, hiking, and working on home improvements with her husband, Rich, and rescue puppy, Luna.


Emily L. Thevis, RDN, LD, CSOWM (Excellence in Emerging Practice Award) is the Director of Education at the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute in Biloxi, MS and the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Clinical Reviewer for Northwest Weight and Wellness Center in Everett, WA. She previously acted as the Bariatric Coordinator for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and completed her internship at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, LA in 2013.

She currently serves as the South Chapter Chair of the Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Obesity Action Coalition.

She became a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management last year and is currently studying for her Certified Diabetes Educator exam.

She has written for BariMD,, and presented an oral abstract at Obesity Week 2017 on reducing readmission rates after bariatric surgery.

Her professional passion lies in bariatric surgery and maximizing the role of dietitians in this field, as well as program administration.