The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is funding a Nutrition in Food Retail Program Development Fellow. This opportunity, available through an educational grant from Walmart, will fund an RDN member of the Academy to participate full-time in the Foundation’s new project titled, “Leveraging RDNs in the Food Retail Environment to Improve Public Health.”

This funding will support an RDN fellow for one year to oversee and execute the planning phase of this project, which will include:

  • A review and analysis of the food retail environment and existing research
  • Creation of an advisory group of experts
  • The development of a model or multiple models that are financially feasible as well as scalable and meet the needs of consumers and food retailers

The fellow will work closely with the Foundation; the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Research, International, and Scientific Affairs team; and an expert advisory group to accomplish the goals of the fellowship and project.

The fellowship begins on or around June 3, 2019.


Interested candidates should apply online, including submitting a tailored letter of interest and resume by 11:59 p.m. (Central time) on Sunday, April 14.

Questions? Please read our Frequently Asked Questions first. Any questions not answered by the FAQ document can be directed via email to Elisha Reichling, MS, RDN, LDN, Foundation Program Coordinator at with the subject “NFRPD Fellowship.” The fastest way to get questions answered is via email.


Health and nutrition disparities and high rates of non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are prevalent throughout the United States (U.S.) and are difficult to address within the current structure of our health care system. Innovative solutions are needed to reduce these co-morbidities and food retail environments are increasingly being used as a potential avenue for access to health services, particularly for underserved populations. Nutrition interventions delivered by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) across care settings have been shown to be cost effective and improve nutrition and health outcomes. Recently RDNs have developed innovative, nutrition-focused programming in food retail stores.

The food retail space presents a tremendous opportunity for RDNs to improve public health by meeting consumers where they are on a regular basis and, importantly, where they are making food decisions. The food retail setting provides a unique opportunity for RDNs to address gaps in health care equity by providing much-needed access points and the ability for nutrition professionals to connect consumers with available community resources that support food security and behavior change.

Improving the health of the public through nutrition and interactions with nutrition professionals are cost effective and evidence-based methods which could have huge implications for the health system within the United States when leveraging food retail as the setting for these interactions.


The Foundation is hiring a full-time fellow to:

  • Present findings and recommendations after a thorough review of the food retail environment and industry sector.
  • Create an advisory group of experts with experience in a range of food retail stores and other sectors.
  • Develop a model or multiple models that are financially feasible as well as scalable and meet the needs of consumers and food retailers.

These efforts will be done with the goal of increasing access to RDNs and nutrition resources, which in turn can improve nutrition and health outcomes for the general public. Strategies to be tested for their ability to increase RDN access will be derived from the environmental analysis and input from an expert advisory group.

The food retail review will result in:

  • Understanding the current body of literature at the intersection of nutrition and health and food retail through a scoping review, focused interviews, and conducting key surveys to gather input from key stakeholder groups.
  • Sound recommendations for a scalable pilot model(s) based on findings.

By leveraging the power of the RDN and capitalizing on the potential of the interdisciplinary team mindset, this project will focus on creating and implementing a scalable program model that utilizes RDNs in executing “food is medicine” and multi-channel approaches to health care (for example, both in-person and telehealth components) and a multi-pronged program (for example, RDN counseling and store programming) to encourage healthy food choices and lifestyles. This will be anchored in the food retail setting to reach a significant number of consumers and make a powerful impact on public health both nationally and globally.


If we are successful, at the end of this multi-phase project:

  • Food retailers will be able to respond more quickly to the health and wellness needs of the consumer
  • Consumers utilize the food retail setting as a health and wellness resource
  • There is a benefit to both the consumer and the food retailer
  • Consumers will have increased access to RDNs and nutrition resources
  • Nutrition and health outcomes for the general public are improved

Program of Work

The intent of this project is to develop a concept and agree on scope for how to leverage RDNs in the food retail environment to pilot and scale a “food is medicine” approach which focuses on RDNs providing personalized food “prescriptions” for individuals based on their medical and social history as well as personal preferences.

Fellow responsibilities will include:

  • Advisory Group Recruitment: The fellow will support the recruitment and selection of an expert advisory group of 20 members to provide guidance and expertise to the fellow and the project.
  • Data Gathering: The fellow will conduct background research through data gathering and synthesis on existing programs, the food retail setting, RDN experience and needs, and consumer experience and needs, including identifying other stakeholders to engage in concept development. This will include:
    • Internal and external qualitative interviews
    • An in-person roundtable discussion with the expert advisory group
    • An environmental scan on existing “food is medicine” pilot programs and other programs anchored in the food retail setting, including implementation principles
    • A scoping review on recent literature focused on personalized nutrition to help guide program development
    • Surveys
  • Key Question Development: The fellow will create and answer key questions to guide program development based on the information and research gathered.
  • Program Model(s) Development: The fellow will utilize key questions and research findings to create a draft scalable the pilot program model(s) and protocol(s). The draft pilot model will be presented to the expert advisory panel at a second, virtual roundtable meeting for input and feedback, and then finalized by the fellow within a final report.

This one-year experience will provide a rich program development and management immersion. Foundation and Academy staff as well as member volunteer mentors will provide day-to-day support to the Fellow and will manage project accountability. The Fellow will work closely with the team and the expert advisory group to identify needs, opportunities, and resources that support program implementation and deliverables.

Additional Position Details

  • The position is based in Chicago, but applicants outside of the area are encouraged to apply. The Fellow will not be required to relocate. Most work will be accomplished through telecommuting methods (webinars, conference calls, etc.) with occasional travel.
  • This is a full-time fellowship position.

Fellow Criteria

  • Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
  • Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Master’s or doctoral degree in technically-relevant area strongly preferred
    • Candidates without an advanced degree but with significant, relevant work experience may be considered.
  • 7-10 years relevant experience, particularly in the food retail setting and outpatient counseling setting

Fellow Skills

  • As the project lead, qualified applicants must have demonstrated experience and expertise in:
    • Nutrition education evaluation
    • Health program creation, management, and evaluation leading to successful program outcomes
    • Innovative approaches to nutrition counseling and behavior change
    • Collaboration with external partners and organizations
    • Preparing, submitting, and publishing manuscripts and articles for peer reviewed journals
    • Presenting the results of monitoring and evaluation, quality improvement, or research projects to lay and professional audiences
    • Experience in literature review and qualitative thematic analysis
  • Understanding of the food retail space
  • Additional skills include:
    • Self-motivated with the ability to work and make decisions independently
    • Ability to function at a high level and lead this program of work
    • Strong leadership, interpersonal, and team skills

Additional Fellow Requirements

  • Willingness to travel as needed to Foundation meetings and conferences
  • Willingness to participate fully in the expectations of the Academy and Foundation, including project calls and reports, manuscript development, and professional presentations
  • Availability and commitment to the full-time position beginning early-June 2019 for one year

Fellowship Award

The Foundation will provide funding support for the fellowship as follows:

  • $75,000 Fellowship Grant
    The stipend of $6,250/month is based on the standard set by other Foundation fellowships

Additional funds will be made available for travel stipends to support work-related travel, lodging, meals, and professional conference fees, as deemed appropriate by the Foundation.

Please note that fringe benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.) are not available for this position.

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