Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition Award recipients announced

June 29, 2015

by Ric Burrous

The nutrition director for a public school system in Illinois and an Indianapolis hospital clinical dietitian have been awarded the 2015 Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition Award by the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

2015 Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition Award

 2015 Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition Award

Dean Austin Agho, JoAnne Whelan, Julie McCoy, Ashley Jacobs (previous awardee), Karyl Rickard, and Eugene Rickard.

Receiving the award are Julie McCoy, nutrition director for the Bloomington, Ill., public school system, and JoAnne Whelan, clinical dietitian at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

The award, established in 2014 by Karyl Rickard, IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences professor emerita, and her husband Eugene Rickard, recognizes graduate students or alumni who have made significant contributions or demonstrated leadership in the field of pediatric nutrition.

The school supports their mission to advance nutrition science.

McCoy, a 2010 graduate of the IU Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition certificate program, is recognized for her commitment to nutrition science and pediatric nutrition through her dedication to nutrition education.  She credit's IU's certificate program for the significant career change she made, from clinical dietitian to nutrition director for the Bloomington public school system.

“This program rejuvenated my interest in shaping future generations through food and nutrition education,” McCoy said.

She has been instrumental in the creation and leadership of the Wellness Champion program for each school within the Bloomington school district. The program includes employee wellness initiatives, health/physical education enhancements, and increased family and community involvement. McCoy also promotes nutrition education by acting as a preceptor for the school food service rotation of Illinois State University.

“Ms. McCoy’s accomplishments as a passionate leader and champion for health and wellness in the school system and community are remarkable,” Karyl Rickard said.

Whelan, a current student in the Ph.D. program in health and rehabilitation sciences, earned an IU Master of Science in nutrition and dietetics in 2004 and an IU Leadership in Pediatric Nutrition Certificate in 2013. She is recognized for her commitment to improve nutrition science and pediatric nutrition through research and evidence-based practice.

As a clinical dietitian at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, Whelan works with the evaluation and treatment of children with feeding dysfunctions and has identified a knowledge gap related to managing children at risk for failure to thrive.

“JoAnne has been instrumental in creating specific nutrition plans for the individual patients and families,  said Dr. Marilyn Bull, Morris Green Professor of Pediatrics in the developmental pediatrics department at Riley Hospital for Children. "She has contributed significantly to the nurturance and growth of children who are often labeled as difficult feeders with unique and persistent care."

“Ms. Whelan’s unusually rich clinical and academic expertise and the completion of a doctoral program uniquely position her to make significant leadership contributions to the field of pediatric nutrition,” Karyl Rickard said.