2020 Gem Award


The Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Awards Committee is excited to highlight the 2020 Gem Award winner, Iowa Veterans Home!

Purpose: To recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations who have made significant

contributions to the profession of dietetics in Iowa.

Number of possible awards: 3 (1 for each category – Individual, Business, and Organization)

Criteria for Selection:

  • Significant contributions to the profession of dietetics by supporting the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Help members optimize the health of Iowans through food and nutrition.

  • Assist with empowering members to be Iowa’s food and nutrition leaders.

  • Promote ethics and research-based practice in the state of Iowa.

  • Embrace change with creativity and strategic thinking.

  • Not previously selected for this award.

  • Preference is given to non-dietitians; however members of the Iowa Academy are eligible for this award.


Nominations may be submitted by members of the Iowa Academy

Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown, Iowa


This year the Gem Award goes to The Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Accepting this award on behalf of the organization is Registered Dietitian Andrea Maher, Director of Food and Nutrition Services Department at the Iowa Veterans Home. To be considered for the Gem Award, an organization must demonstrate that it has made significant contributions to the profession of dietetics by supporting the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One example of how the Iowa Veterans Home has supported the Iowa Academy’s mission to optimize the health of Iowan’s through food and nutrition was demonstrated through the Veteran’s Home creativity and strategic thinking in adopting the new International Dysphagia Diet Standards Initiative (IDDSI). IDDSI is “a global initiative to improve the lives of over 590 million people worldwide living with dysphagia”. It is a challenging initiative that takes many hours to implement. The Iowa Veterans Home with leadership from Andrea have successfully implemented this initiative. After taking on this significant undertaking, the Food and Nutrition Department also graciously and enthusiastically shared their processes and implementation through an IDSSI Toolbox developed in conjunction with IAND for the upcoming edition of the Iowa Simplified Diet Manual. This will help other dietitians and facilities across the state of Iowa.


The Iowa Academy’s vision is to empower other dietitians to be Iowa’s food and nutrition advocates. The Iowa Veteran’s Home Nutrition Services Department has mentored numerous students to become Iowa’s next food and nutrition leaders. Andrea has been a preceptor for Iowa State University since 2000. In 2018, the dietitians at Iowa Veterans Home were awarded the Iowa State University Preceptor Award which recognizes outstanding preceptors for the next generation of dietitians.


To quote one of the letters of support, “Although this award is meant for the Food and Nutrition Services Department and for the Iowa Veterans Home, we want to especially commend Andrea Maher for taking on the daunting task of managing such a large department and yet making time to lead and encourage other RDs across the state of Iowa. She has been an outstanding leader in our profession and we wholeheartedly recommend her, her department and the Iowa Veterans Home for this award.”



Pictured are the Food Service crew and Nutrition Services team (dietitians/supervisors) with their PPE on. It was a work theme day, “The Force is with Food Service, May the Force be with you!”


For more information about Iowa Academy awards, scholarships, and grants, please visit:

https://www.eatrightiowa.org/awardsscholarships

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