VN DPG Executive Committee 2022-2023

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Alison Ozgur, MAT, MHS, RDN, DipACLM

Alison Ozgur is a registered dietitian nutritionist and wellness expert with advanced training and expertise in whole food, plant-based nutrition. In 2012 she co-authored her first book, Go Beyond Good: The Trail to a Lifetime of Health and Vitality! That same year she was invited to join the online instructor team at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where she still teaches today. Her passion and expertise in plant-based nutrition has inspired her to move into a leadership role to further promote the benefits of lifestyle change for optimal health.

Throughout her two-decade career as a registered dietitian, Alison has expanded her love of health and wellness as an author, college instructor, middle and high school health teacher, certified meditation and mindfulness teacher, and registered yoga teacher. Alison completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from Western Michigan University. She holds a Master of Health Science degree from Saint Francis University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University. She is a Diplomate and Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Chair Elect


Ashley Lombardi, MS, RDN

Ashley has worked as a dietitian in both clinical and community settings for over five years. She is currently a clinical dietitian working in long term and subacute rehab for Ocean Healthcare in her home state of New Jersey. She has served as the student coordinator for VNDPG for three years and the former Speaker Bureau Chair for VNDPG. She is excited to step into her role as
Chair elect. She has worked for the NJAND for three years as the sponsorship coordinator and on the annual meeting committee. Prior to her career as a dietitian, she studied to be an anthropologist/archeologist participating in studies in Kenya, Spain, and with the Medical Examiner's Office of New York City. Her work with sanctuary primates led her to discover plant based diets and the power they have for health and longevity. Ashley loves to spend time in the forest with her daughter, traveling, and trying new and exciting vegan foods.

Past Chair


AnnaMarie Rodriguez, RDN, LD, FAND

AnnaMarie has worked as a nephrology dietitian for 25 years in a variety of settings from clinical to pharmaceutical including clinical, 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, Renal Practice Group DPG, Wisconsin Council of Renal Nutrition, and Vegetarian DPG Speaker Bureau. Currently she is on the Academy’s Quality Management Committee, the WI/MI/IN/N.CA State Coordinator for VN DPG, a board member of the Plant-based Prevention of Disease organization, the VN DPG Chair, the WAND SE Region Representative, and the Professional Education Chair-elect for WAND. She is a Master Gardener and is focusing on continuing education, in addition to peer reviewing, authoring, and coauthoring additional projects related to CKD and plant-based nutrition. 



Alicia Henson, MS,RD

Alicia Henson is a clinical dietitian at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and adjunct nutrition instructor at College of the Sequoias. She has over eight years of experience in clinical practice, with a focus on critical care, nephrology, geriatrics, and pediatrics. Alicia is passionate about providing the best care to her patients and providing an exceptional educational experience to her students. Outside of work, she is actively involved in volunteering for medical missions and nutrition education projects focused on preventing chronic kidney disease globally. Alicia is a firm believer in the power of plant-forward eating to support optimal health and promote sustainability. She is a graduate of California State University Fresno, Iowa State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Alicia resides in Berkeley, California, where she enjoys exploring the diverse and delicious culinary offerings.



Sarah Whipkey, RDN, LD

Sarah Whipkey is a registered and licensed dietitian and the owner of The Plant Potential, a virtual private practice specializing in plant-based nutrition. Sarah has been plant-based for 15 years and loves to share her passion of plant-based living with anyone and everyone. In addition to her private practice, Sarah also works as telehealth dietitian for Nourish. She has volunteered with the Nutrition Entrepreneurs DPG and is currently their PR & Marketing Coordinator. She recently relocated from Houston, Texas to Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband and two young daughters. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, trying out new plant-based recipes and restaurants, hiking, biking, and being outdoors. 

House of Delegates


Lindsay Schmitz MS, RD, LDN

Lindsay is the owner of Live Smarter Nutrition & Wellness, practicing out of The Health Club at Southpointe. She specializes in weight management, plant-forward eating, disease prevention, wellness and educating consumers about pure, safe, alternative personal and home care choices.

Lindsay formerly held positions as a bariatric dietitian at West Penn Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital (Cincinnati, OH). Lindsay also has experience in public health as a manager and lead dietitian for a Woman, Infants and Children office in Cincinnati. She has held leadership positions in both the Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania chapters of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She graduated from Upper St. Clair High School (Pittsburgh, PA), the University of Dayton (OH) and received her Master’s in Sports Nutrition from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).

Member Services Chair

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”.

Nominating Committee Chair


Samantha Wildman, MPH, RDN, CSR

I have been working in the outpatient dialysis industry for 20 years now, at Satellite Healthcare. I am compassionate about environmental public health and recently pursued my MPH at San Jose State University, graduating in June 2021. I am very excited to be part of this practice group. I believe all of us can benefit greatly from a more plant-based diet to improve our health outcomes and help slow climate change. I will bring a positive and diverse perspective to our leadership.

Nominating Committee Chair-Elect

Mary-Jon Ludy, PhD, RDN, FAND

Dr. Mary-Jon Ludy is a Professor of Food & Nutrition and Associate Dean of the Graduate College at Bowling Green State University, her undergraduate alma mater. She holds an MS from Tufts University and a PhD from Purdue University. Dr. Ludy’s areas of expertise include bioactive spices, college health, dietetic practice, innovative teaching, and leadership. She has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals, such as AJCN and JAND, as well as been profiled by popular press outlets, such as the BBCCNN, and The New York Times. Dr. Ludy serves on the State Medical Board of Ohio’s Dietetics Advisory Council and is Past-President of the Ohio Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She is also an amateur photographer whose food-focused images appear on textbook covers for McGraw-Hill Education.


Appointed VN DPG Committee Members

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State Coordinator Chair
Katya Galbis, LD, DipACLM

Speaker's Bureau Chair

Student Member Coordinator
Kathleen Law

Newsletter Editor
AnnaMarie Rodriguez, RDN,LD, FAND
Alexa Pizzarello, RD

Newsletter Staff
Blair Persyn, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC
Karen Mills, JD, RDN

Communication Chair
Manju Karkare, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT, FAND

Newsletter Reviewers
Barbara Ravid, MA, RDN, CSR
Catherine Conway, MS, RD, CDN, CDE
Debbie Lucus, RD, MS, CDE
Hollie Gelberg, PhD, RD
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
Sudha Raj, PhD, RD

RD Resource Co-Chairs
Stephanie Swavely, RD, CSO, LDN
Bonnie Birnbaum, RD, CSR, CDCES

Policy and Advocacy Chair 
Justine Violet Meyer, MPH, RD, CSG

Sponsorship Chair
Dori Coetzee, MS, RDN

Social Media Chair
Madeline Butler-Sanchez, MS, RDN, LDN

Awards Chair 
Catherine Conway, MS, RDN, CDCES, CDN


Research Chair
Katie Ellison, MS, RDN 

Research Committee
Reya Andrews
Dyan Young, DA, AD

Webinar Chair
Sara Tamsukhin, PhD, MS, RD, LD

Webinar Asst. 

Diversity Liaison
Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN
Jen Nguyen, RDN
Alisa Clark 

Network Rep. to VRG
Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

Volunteer Coordinator

Website & Discussion Board Coordinator
Karenna Genzlinger

DPG Manager/Administrator
Carla Jamison

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