VN DPG Executive Committee 2019-2020



Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN

Parul joins the VN DPG Executive Committee having previously served as the State Coordinator Chair and the Speaker’s Bureau Chair for the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG, VN DPG Nominating Committee Chair 2017-18 and as the VN DPG State Coordinator for North Carolina from August 2011 to January 2015. Her other Academy positions include Community Leader and Second Century Liaison for the Asian Indians in Nutrition & Dietetics MIG from 2017 –2018.

Parul works as a Clinical Dietitian with Outpatient Nutrition Services at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Caroline where she counsels the adult and pediatric population with an integrative approach. Besides individual counselling, Parul teaches group classes for the hospital’s Diabetes Management Program, advises at the Kidney Stone Clinic, and participates in the hospital’s Corporate & Community Health programs. She is a frequent contributor for the hospital’s nutrition blog, writes a monthly health column for a regional magazine, creates articles for the local newspaper, and provides guest columns for various blogs.  Parul brings a global perspective about ethnic cuisines and diverse eating habits, due to living in India, Kenya, France, and several states across America. Parul focuses her teaching on assisting clients in making appropriate changes to their diets while still conforming to their cultural preferences.  In her spare time, she loves to sing, read, and cook tasty nutritious plant-based recipes.

Chair Elect


Dori Coetzee, MS RDN

Dori is a registered dietitian with a passion to help others strive to a healthier more wholesome lifestyle by teaching them how to change their diet and lifestyle.  She prioritizes plant-based nutrition as the primary means to improve health through food.  She recently relocated from Los Angeles, California to Dallas, Texas, where she works at a wellness center providing individualized care using the latest evidence-based medical nutrition therapy and motivational interviewing to help patients achieve their medical and health goals. She also works for Market Street, a grocery store chain specific to the Dallas area, as their Living Well manager, educating the public on ways to use food to improve their health. When she is not working, she enjoys experimenting with the development of delicious and fun recipes that are plant-based, and spending time outdoors with her family as a runner. She has a deep connection with food and believes that food should be enjoyable as well as healthful.

Past Chair


Sherene Chou, MS, RDN

Sherene is a sustainable food and nutrition advocate focused on enhancing food systems and empowering communities. Her food education began as a child raised in a vegetarian household by traditional Chinese doctors. After spending a couple years in the tech world, she began her formal food education through the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute. While in New York, she cooked for plant-based clients, at restaurants, and at farmer’s markets in underserved communities. As a dietitian, she served as the Nutrition Director for L.A. Kitchen, a non-profit startup focused on reducing food waste through food recovery to serve hungry seniors and empowering former foster youth, formerly incarcerated, and formerly houseless individuals in their culinary job-training program. In her role, she developed the nutrition standards for the organization, built the nutrition curriculum, and developed key partnerships, including the Keck School of Medicine of USC to develop the first nutrition selective for medical students, the Culinary Medicine Selective, enabling future doctors to better serve the community. Sherene currently serves on the executive committee as VN DPG’s Sponsorship Chair and her work was recognized by the HEN DPG in 2017 receiving the Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership Award.



Lindsay S. Miesel, MS-MPH, RDN, LDN, CNSC

Lindsay joins the VN DPG Executive Committee having previously served two separate terms as Secretary on her local district executive committee and as Nominating Chair on the Medical Nutrition DPG Executive Committee. As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Nutrition Support Specialist, Lindsay works as a Clinical Nutrition Specialist with Morrison Healthcare by caring for intensive care patients at an East Tennessee hospital. She also currently serves as an advisory board member for her alma mater’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. In addition to her love for nutrition support, Lindsay enjoys balancing her time with numbers and formulas with her passion for healthy, delicious food. She enjoys advocating for plant-based nutrition by encouraging people to enjoy a variety of foods and flavors, and she focuses on experimenting and loving what you eat over restriction and rules. In her free time, Lindsay loves to travel, read, and learn as much as she can.



Christine Bou Sleiman, MS, RDN, CLT

Christine is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Lifestyle Eating and Performance (LEAP) Therapist, and runs her own private practice called Healthy Selfie. She specializes in food sensitivities and digestive disorders using a functional nutrition approach. She has served in a number of roles with VN including Chair, RD Resources Coordinator, and Nominating Committee Chair. She was recognized by VN with the Award of Excellence in Service and Leadership in 2016. Before opening up her private practice she worked for over 12 years in public health as Director for the Champions for Change Grant at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and School Wellness Director for the Lawndale Elementary School District. During that time she hosted a cable show called “Lawndale Lifestyle” that covered health and wellness topics as well as local projects like cooking and gardening classes for students, parents and teachers. Christine enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two boys aged 5 and 7.

House of Delegates


Linda Arpino, MA, RDN, CND, FAND

Linda Arpino is serving her third year representing VN DPG at the House of Delegates with a mission to elevate the availability of plant-based nutrition information. Linda is CEO and founder of Life Focus Nutrition, LLC, a private practice focused on chronic disease prevention and intervention incorporating education on the benefits of a plant-based diet. She is recognized for her expertise in weight management, dyslipidemias, and neurological disorders. As a public speaker, she is active in providing professional presentations to health care professionals, culinary programs, and corporate programs focusing on the benefits of plant-based foods. She is also the author of Eat Fit, Be Fit Health and Weight Management Solutions, Recipes for Health and Rise to Success. She has served as: State Coordinator for the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG, member of evidence-based analysis committees, Westchester/ Rockland AND president, NYS public policy chair, council on practice, nominating committee and media spokesperson, national past Chair of AND Nutrition Payment Services Committee, SCAN Secretary and PR Chair. Early in her career she was a Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year. Currently she has launched a five-year project to developed vegan and lacto-ovo menus for all Nutrition Care Manuals, and she serves as the lead author. Her work with the Evidence Analysis Library Medical Nutrition Therapy Effectiveness project will soon be published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology under the title “Clinical and Cost Benefit of Medical Nutrition Therapy by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for Management of Dyslipidemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”

Nominating Committee Chair


Amanda L. Denton, MSPH, RDN, CHES, FAND

Amanda has been passionately dedicated to the promotion of plant-based diets for over 26 years. After switching to a vegetarian diet at the age of 14 and being impressed by its life changing benefits she was motivated to become a Registered Dietitian. She completed her dietetic internship at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida and joined the Air Force in 2002. Her experience includes work as a clinical dietitian and manager, dietetic internship preceptor, internship site coordinator, health promotions program manager and Nutritional Medicine Department Chair. She remains an active duty Air Force officer and currently works as Director of Operations for the 382d Training Squadron and AETC Consultant Dietitian in San Antonio, Texas. Throughout her career she has created plant-based nutrition continuing education opportunities, initiated plant-based classes as a model for AF dietetics, expanded vegetarian options in hospital food service, and promoted plant-based options in military dining facilities. At every opportunity she has educated peers, healthcare providers and patients on the therapeutic use of plant-based diets. She contributed to the VN DPG’s Vegetarian Nutrition Update with the Meet Our Members column from 2010 to 2019.

Amanda has served as Membership Chair, President and Past-President of the Air Force Dietetics Association. She also serves on the VA/DoD American College of Lifestyle Medicine working group and was instrumental in standing up a United States Air Force Lifestyle & Performance Medicine Working Group chartered in 2020.

Nominating Committee Chair-elect


Jennifer Harward, MS, RD, FAND

Jennifer became plant-based in 2003 after reading the book, Fast Food Nation.  She did additional research on the effects of meat vs. plant-based food on the body.  Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and then did her internship through Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  She then joined the United States Air Force in 2003 as a clinical dietitian.  Her experience includes work as a health promotion manager, clinical dietitian and manager, nutrition department chair and working for the Air Force Surgeon General.  Jennifer has held numerous leadership roles during her career within the Academy.  She has been the membership chair for two state affiliates, Treasurer for the former American Oversees Dietetic Association. She was also Treasurer for the Air Force Dietetics Association for two terms.  Her current projects include influencing Department of Defense on healthier meals and drafting policy to implement Lifestyle Medicine Clinics across the Air Force.  At her current duty station she is working on implementing plant-based classes, increasing plant-based food items in the cafeteria, and standing up a Lifestyle Medicine Clinic as the standard.

Appointed VN DPG Committee Members

DPG Manager/Administrator
Adriana Legreid

State Coordinator Chair
Katya Galbis

Membership Chair
Katya Galbis

Speaker's Bureau Chair
Annamarie Rodriguez, RDN, LD, FAND

Student Member Coordinator
Ashley Lombardi, BS, RDN

Newsletter Editor
Deborah Murphy MS, RDN

Newsletter Staff
Sahra Pak, Assistant Editor
Virginia Messina MPH, RD

Timaree Hagenburger, MPH, RD
Amanda L Denton, RD

Newsletter Reviewers
Catherine Conway, MS, RD, CDN, CDE
Janet Lacey DrPH, MEd, RD, LDN
Sudha Raj, PhD, RD
John Westerdahl, PhD, MPH, RD, CNS

RD Resource Chair
Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN

Policy and Advocacy Chair & Historian
Catherine Conway, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Sponsorship Chair
Kayli Dice

Social Media Chair
Manju Karkare

Research Chair
Linda Rankin, PhD

Webinar Chair
Elizabeth Osorno

Diversity Liaison
Sheetal Parikh

Network Rep. to VRG
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

Volunteer Coordinator
Anythony Dissen, MS RDN

Web Site Manager
Kaylen Hickman

Web Editor
Adriana Legreid

To Reach VN please email:

The State Coordinators are our local links to VN events, networking, and information. Meet our State Coordinators!

The Executive Committee of the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG invites you to contact us:

  • With questions on how you can get more involved with the VNDPG
  • With suggestions on how we could better serve you
  • With recommendations on projects or activities that you would like to see the VNDPG undertake.
  • For a list of vegetarian nutrition speakers