Being the policy and advocacy intern for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Policy Initiatives and Advocacy team in Washington, D.C., has allowed me to gain significant exposure to nutrition policy and policy-making. This opportunity has opened my eyes to the importance of nutrition communication for the entire dietetics field.
The most profound event I attended was the Academy’s Public Policy Workshop, or PPW. It was fascinating to experience the workshop’s behind-the-scenes aspects, which highlighted the importance of policy personnel working with the communications team to get the message out on social media. The Academy’s D.C. team works closely with its Chicago-based headquarters strategic communications team to coordinate messages disseminated to members that also parallel what is advocated on the Hill.
Participants, the public and members of Congress joined the conversation on social media before and during the event, advocating for nutrition services in the Prevention Fund, nutrition education in the Farm Bill and simply sharing exciting #PPW2017 updates. I was delighted to see so many of the more than 350 members in attendance posting about the event and realized how powerful social media can be as an advocacy tool.
Nutrition communications are vital, encompassing a host of different modes, be it posting on Twitter, writing a letter, informing Academy members of important happenings with advocacy materials or verbally expressing important messages to our Congressional representatives. These efforts allow people to give voice to their passions and demonstrate unity by rallying others around the same message. This is impactful on decision makers who create legislation that guides public health practices.
Overall, my policy and advocacy internship experience demonstrated the importance of advocating for your passions and doing so with effective communication. It has inspired me to be more active by sharing my passion for the field and using a variety of modes to do so.