VN DPG Executive Committee 2021-2022



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.

Chair Elect


AnnaMarie Rodriguez, RDN, LD, FAND

AnnaMarie has worked as a renal dietitian for over 20 years in a variety of settings from clinical to pharmaceutical including sales, education, and renal medical affairs. She is currently an Independent Consultant, the owner of Nutrition Directions LLC, and employed by Pentec Health as a Renal Clinical Retention Specialist. She has served and chaired several boards including the South and Central Texas National Kidney Foundation Medical Advisory Board, San Antonio Council of Renal Nutrition, Texas Hill Country Patient Awareness Days and Kidney Walks, Renal Practice Group DPG and Wisconsin Council of Renal Nutrition, Vegetarian Nutrition (VN) DPG Speaker Bureau; in addition to serving on advisory committees for local symposiums and building annual Hill Country Education Days while living in TX. Currently she is the Chair-elect for VN DPG, SE Wisconsin Academy Representative-elect, a board member of the Plant-based Prevention of Disease, and on the Quality Management Committee for the Academy. She has a house full of kids, dogs, loves volunteerism and is focusing on continuing education. Managing chronic pain led to an enjoyment of plant-based meals and, ultimately, chronic pain management and her love of animals has led her to embrace a vegan lifestyle.

Past Chair


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.



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.



Sheetal K. Parikh, MS, RDN, LDN

Sheetal Parikh has been very passionate about plant-based nutrition since her childhood. She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees and one Master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition. She brings her unique experience and skills in the nutrition world by blending eastern and western cultures with innovative diets. She is specializing in Plant-Based Nutrition, and has been a vegetarian all her life, and promotes vegetarianism and its health benefits. Since 2019 she has been an Author for Vegan/Vegetarian diets for the Nutrition Care Manual for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She has been involved with setting standards for RD Exam Passing Score Study Task Force and Item Writing Workshop for Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). She served in the positions of Advisory Board Committee for Diversity and Inclusion for AND; Florida State Coordinator and Diversity Liaison for Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She achieved the feat of being a BSDN Advisory Board Member for Keiser University; the institution from which she graduated and won an award for Outstanding Student of the year 2017 from Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. At present, she works as Lead Regional Dietitian in Clinical and Patient Services for Morrison Healthcare and also Counsels Patients and Clients on the importance and advantage of eating Plant-Based foods for their health and the earth’s well-being. She is proficient in creating new plant-based recipes; designing techniques for happy & healthy cooking; preparing appetizing meals for her clients, family, friends, and colleagues. She lives with a motto of “You are what you Eat”.

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

Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN (Interim)

Nominating Committee Chair-elect


Sapna Punjabi-Gupta, MS, RDN, LD 

Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD is a Culinary Wellness Specialist, Registered Dietitian, Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of beSPICED ( Sapna leads online cooking classes, wellness workshops, owns a line of spice products, and her work has been featured in both national and international print media. Her vibrant YouTube channel celebrates food, life, and all things spice. With more than 20 years of combined experience, including an extensive clinical background, a lifelong personal practice of vegetarianism, and expertise in Ayurvedic studies, Sapna passionately strives to spread awareness of the healing power of food and spices, seasonal eating, and the profound effects they have on our body, mind, and soul.
Sapna has held many leadership roles and is a passionate volunteer in her local community. She is the past president for the Dallas Dietetic Alliance, a local non-affiliated organization of nutrition professionals. She is on the board for Slow Foods – DFW chapter and has been on the school parent-teacher association for her children's school. Sapna is actively involved with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and part of several dietetic practice groups. She is currently on the board of Indians in Nutrition and Dietetics – Member Interest Group (IND-MIG). She has held the position of Texas state coordinator for VNDPG in the past for 3 years. Sapna was born in India and is a first-generation immigrant. Her deep connection to her Indian roots has shaped her work and social activism.

Appointed VN DPG Committee Members

State Coordinator Chair
Katie Ellison, MS, RDN, LDN

Membership Chair
Katie Ellison, MS, RDN, LDN

Speaker's Bureau Chair
Ashley Lombardi, BS, RDN

Student Member Coordinator
Ashley Lombardi, BS, RDN

Newsletter Editor
Adrianne Osano
Meredith LaFrance 

Newsletter Staff
Riana Hoagland

Communications Chair
Manju Karkare

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
Stephanie Swavely

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

Sponsorship Chair
Melissa Ohlson

Social Media Chair
Madeline Butler-Sanchez 

Research Chair
Linda Rankin, PhD

Webinar Chair
Elizabeth Osorno

Diversity Liaison
Sherene Chou, MS, RDN

Network Rep. to VRG
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

Volunteer Coordinator
Anythony Dissen, MS RDN

DPG Manager/Administrator
Adriana Legreid

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