PNPG Grants and Awards

Each year PNPG recognizes the outstanding practice and significant contributions its members make toward promotion of pediatric dietitians.

To nominate a fellow PNPG member, please review the following criteria and complete the application.

APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED.  Materials for the awards listed below must be submitted by March 31st. Please check back for updates on grants and awards applications. If you have any questions, please contact PNPG Grants & Awards Committee Chair, Melissa Pflugh Prescott at


2020 Award Winners


Outstanding Member of the Year

The Outstanding Member of the Year recognizes outstanding leadership contributions to pediatric nutrition and/or maternal and child health. The following are criteria for award selection: (1) PNPG membership for three or more years, and (2) outstanding service, accomplishments, and community outreach in pediatric nutrition or maternal and child health as exemplified by research, publication, or conceptual development. Nominate a deserving colleague for this award. The nomination should include a cover letter stating why the person is deserving of the award and curriculum vitae or resume that outline the nominee’s accomplishments and commitment to pediatric nutrition.  The recipient will receive $1,200 to attend a pediatric nutrition conference and be recognized at the PNPG member meeting at FNCE. Click here to submit an application.  

Published Research Award

The award recognized outstanding research in pediatric nutrition and/or maternal and child health by a PNPG member published in a peer-reviewed journal. Selection criteria are as follows: (1) PNPG membership for at least two years, (2) being first author or having a primary role in the research and manuscript development of a publication describing research applied to pediatric nutrition and/or maternal and child health, and (3) publication in a peer-reviewed journal during the previous calendar year.  The recipient will receive $500 and be recognized during the PNPG member meeting at FNCE. Click here to submit an application.

Research Grant Award

The PNPG Research Grant award will provide $10,000 to support research in the area of pediatric nutrition and encourage PNPG members to pursue research within their institutions. To be eligible for the grant, at least one of the investigators must be a member of PNPG. The project must be completed within one year of the award, and any manuscripts or materials resulting from the supported research will credit PNPG with the support provided. Members without research experience are encouraged to apply and receive mentoring through the PNPG Research Mentoring Committee. The funded project must be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (if appropriate) or granted exempt status before funds will be distributed. Click here to submit an application.

Creative Nutrition Education Award

Eligibility criteria for this award are as follow: (1) applicants must be PNPG members for at least two years prior to applying; 2) the educational approach is used in the practice where the applicant is affiliated, (3) applicants may not win the award more than once in a three year period; and (4) a commercial firm or a national organization may not have developed the education approach. To be considered for the award, the applicant should prepare a summary or outline of no more than two typewritten pages describing the project (objective, methods, budget, and effectiveness/evaluation). Applicants will be considered for this award based on originality, appropriateness, quality of content, pediatric nutrition application, effectiveness, learner participation, and aesthetics and technical quality (for tools only). Click here to submit an application.

New - Recognized Neonatal RDN Award

The Recognized Neonatal RDN Award recognizes clinical, research, education, and service contributions to the area of neonatal nutrition. The following are criteria for award selection: (1) Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (2) Employment in a level 3 or 4 NICU setting equivalent to >10,000 hours. (3) PNPG member for at least program year of nomination. Prior recipients of this award are not eligible to apply. Nominate a deserving colleague for this award. The nomination should include a curriculum vitae or resume of the person you are nominating that outlines their accomplishments and commitment to neonatal nutrition. Nomination must also include a letter of sponsorship from the nominee’s institution from an RDN or professional contact outside the field of dietetics which includes specific examples of the nominee’s accomplishments. Self nominations are accepted.  The recipient will receive a $500 award and will also receive reimbursement for up to $1,000 expense to attend FNCE, where he/she will be recognized at the annual PNPG Member Breakfast Meeting. Click here to submit an application.

Dietetic Internship/Pre-Professional Scholarship

PNPG is again proud to offer the Dietetic Internship/Pre-Professional Scholarship to current members who are enrolled in CADE-accredited internships or pre-professional practice programs.  The scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year is for those intending to pursue a career in pediatric nutrition after completion of their current training program, in the academic year of 2020-2021. The amount of the scholarship is $1000.  Qualifications: (1) Intent to pursue a career in pediatric nutrition after completion of the current program; (2) Maintain a grade point average of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.  Preference will be given to a candidate with pediatric experience. Click here to submit an application.

Grant and Award Recipients


Outstanding Member Award: 

PNPG is proud to announce our 2020 Outstanding Member of the Year, Dr. Lori Bechard, PhD, MEd, RDN. Dr. Bechard is an accomplished leader of pediatric nutrition, having held a variety of pediatrics-related teaching positions at Boston Children's Hospital, Northeastern University, Harvard Medical School, Rutgers University, and Framingham State College, as well as working in clinical, research, and administrative capacities.  She has 44 peer-reviewed publications and has a distinguished record of service to PNPG, holding positions such as Treasurer, Communications Chair, Editor of the Building Block for Life, Grants and Awards Chair, and Chair. Dr. Bechard’s work to improve the care of critically ill children on mechanical ventilation through her research related to the FITS study and protein-energy needs in this population has been invaluable to pediatric dietitians engaged in the care of these patients. Thank you, Lori, for all you have done for our profession and DPG; kudos to you! 

Published Research Award: 

Congratulations to Kristi Thaete, MS, RD, LD, CNSC for receiving the Published Research Award for her publication entitled “User-Informed Medical Device Development: A Case Study for Pediatric Malnutrition Assessment.” The study evaluated an innovative way to measure mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) by creating a MUAC z-score tape capable of measuring MUAC and estimating the z-score range of any child. This MUAC has become a standard of care at Kristi’s facility, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, and her award-winning publication will facilitate the adoption of this practice to other facilities. Kudos to Kristi and her co-authors for evaluating an evidence-based method to implement the consensus guidelines for classifying and documenting pediatric malnutrition!

Research Grant Award: 

Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Garis Harshman, PhD, RD, LD, who was selected to receive the PNPG Research Grant Award for her project entitled, “The role of the microbiome in infant weight gain and risk of obesity.” Dr. Harshman will be investigating the relationship between the infant microbiome and rapid weight gain until 6 months of age using a longitudinal birth cohort of mother-infant dyads. This research will allow better understanding of the role of the microbiome in early life and the risk of overweight/obesity in childhood. Dr. Harshman is currently a Research Fellow at Massachusettes General Hospital and has 10 peer-reviewed publications. We congratulate Stephanie and look forward to seeing the results of her study!

Pre-Professional Scholarship: 

Congratulations to Gale Nelson for her selection as the 2020 PNPG Pre-Professional Practice Scholarship recipient! Gale graduated with a BS in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University in May 2020, and she will begin the combined DI/Master’s program in Human Nutrition at Texas State University in 2020-21. Gale has had a variety of nutrition-related experiences, including working as a Summer Nutrition and Culinary Camp Coordinator and Fit 2 Lead Nutrition Camp Team Leader. After graduation, Gale intends on pursuing a career in clinical dietetics and becoming a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. We congratulate Gale and wish her all the best in her graduate studies!

Recognized Neonatal RDN Award: 

Congratulations to Dena L Goldberg, PhD, RD, our 2020 recipient of PNPG’s Recognized Neonatal RDN Award. Dr. Goldberg has had a long, illustrious career in pediatric nutrition but has focused her vast clinical skillset and talents on neonatal nutrition since 2004. She has 20 peer-reviewed publications, including “Identifying malnutrition in the preterm and neonatal population: Recommended indicators” which was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2018. Dr. Goldberg mentors dietetic interns and contributes to training pediatric residents and pharmacy students. She has served in a variety of leadership and volunteer service positions, including PNPG Advisor, Chair of the Neonatal Malnutrition Workgroup for PNPG, Co-Chair of PNPG’s Infant Nutrition, Breastfeeding and Neonatology Specialty Group, and serving as a mentor in the PNPG Mentoring Program. Congratulations Dena, and thank you for all of your dedication and service to neonatal and pediatric nutrition!


Past PNPG's Recipients of Grants and Awards

Outstanding Member of the Year

2020     Dr. Lori Bechard, PhD, MEd, RDN

2019     Holly A. Van Poots, RDN, CSP, FAND

2018     Patricia Becker, MS, RDN, CSP, LD, CNSC

2017     Susan Konek, MA, RD, CSP, LD,  FAND

2016     Linda Heller, MS, RD, CSP, CLC, FAND

2015     Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, RDN

2014     Liesje Carney, RD, CSP, LDN

2013     Beverly Henry, PhD, RD

2012     Mimi Kaufman, MPH, RD, LD

2011     Deb Hutsler, MS, RD, LD

2010     Aida Miles, MMSc, RD, CSP, LD, CNSD

2009     Virginia H. Carney, RD, LD, IBCLC

2008     Nancy Nevin-Folino, MEd, RD, CSP, LD, FADA

2007     Josephine Cialone, MS, RD.

2006     Robyn Wong, MPH, RD, CSP

2005     Ellen Bowser, MS, RD, CSP, LD, RN

2004     Leila T. Beker, PhD, RD, LD

2003     Sandra T. Robbins, RD, CSP, LDN

1998     Barbara Emison Gaffield, MS, RD

Published Research Award

2020     Kristi Thaete, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

2018     Susan M. Gross, PhD, MPH, RD

2017     Jennifer Carvalho-Salemi, MPH, RDN, LD, CNSC

2016     Kayla Bridges, MS, RD-AP, CSP, CNSC, FAND

2015     Diane Stadler, PhD, RDN

2014     Constantina Papoutsakis, PhD, RD

2013     Shelby Wilson, MPH

2012     Teresa Johnson, DCN, RD, LD

2011     Irene E. Olsen Shingara, PhD, RD, LD

2010     Sandy Van Calcar, PhD, RD

 "Articles of Distinction" Recognition given to:

 Susan M. Gross, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN

 Amy K. Resnik, MS, RD, CSP, IBCLC, LDN

 Irene E. Olsen Shingara, PhD, RD, LDN

 Jamie Stang, PhD, MPH, RD

2008     Christine M. Hardy Framson, PhD, RD

2007     Constantina Papoutsakis, PhD, RD

2006     Lynn S. Brann, PhD, RD

2005     Peggy Papathakis, MS, RD

2004     Barb Kuzma O'Reilly, MA, RD, LD            

1998     Leila Beker

Research Grant Award

2020      Dr. Stephanie Garis Harshman, PhD, RD, LDd

2019      Dr. Sina Gallo, PhD, RD

2017      Natasha Chong Cole, MPH, RD

Joyanna Hansen, PhD, RD, LD

Nida I. Shaikh, PhD, RD

Diane Vizthum, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

2015      Dena Herman Mendes, PhD, RDN

2014      Diane Stadler, PhD, RD

2013      Melissa Edwards, RD and Beth Ogata, MS, RD

2012      Kristine Jordan, PhD, RD

  Ruth Williams, EdD, MS, RD

2011      Melanie Gillingham, PhD, RD

2008      Patricia A. Esposito, MS, RD, CDN, CNSD

2006      Melanie Gillingham, PhD, RD

2004      Cheryl S. Lair, RD, CSP, LD, CNSD

Recognized Neonatal RDN Award 

2020       Dena L. Goldberg, PhD, RD

2019       Amy Sapsford, RD, CSP, LD, CNSC

Creative Nutrition Education Award

2018      Ruth Williams-Hooker MS, RD, CSP, LD

2017      Amy E. Reed, MS, RD, CSP, LD

2014      Laurie Bernstein, MS, RD, FADA

2013      Teresie Mosby, EdD, RD, CSP, LDN, IBCLC

2012      Mary Barnes, MS, RD

2011      Melissa Pflugh Prescott, MS, RD, CDN

2009      Barbara Baron, MS, RD, CDN

2008      Laurie Bernstein, MS, RD, FADA

2007      Verna Baker, MS, RD, LD

2005      Laurie Bernstein, MS, RD, FADA

2004      Beth Zupic-Kania, RD, CD

2003      Cathy McCarroll, MPH, RD, LD

Dietetic Internship/Pre-professional Scholarship

2020      Gale Nelson

2019      Simona Lourekas, CHES, MS

2018      Irma Madrigal Campos

2017      Nichole Bencie

2016      Ashley Hobar

2015      Kaitlyn Elizabeth Philipps

2014      Perrin Tamblyn

2012      Lindsay Raub

2010      Deonna Hughes

2009      Deonna Hughes

2008      Lauren Rose Cavanaugh June

2007      Alizabeth Neu, BS

2006      Jennifer Jerles, BS

2005      Aimee Morin, BS, BA

2004      Melissa Metz, BS

2003      Jennifer Bott, BS

ADA/ANDF Glenda Bible Memorial Scholarship (awarded in spring for next academic year)

2016      Deborah E Salvatore, MS, CDN

2015      Rachael Patusco, MS, RD, CSP

2014      Rosanna P. Watowicz

2013      Beth Conlon, MS, RD

2012      Lori Bechard, MEd, RD, LDN

2011      Meredith M. Bruening, MPH, RD

2010      Meredith M. Bruening, MPH, RD

2009      Chandra D. Hughes

2008      Brittani R. Padellford

2007      Jillian B. Cooper

2006      Katherine J. Irwin

2005      Shira B. Feldman, RD

2004      Michelle P. Judge, RD

2002      Keecha Harris, DRPH

2001      Lynn Brann, PhD, RD, FAND

1999      Ruth Williams-Hooker, MS, RD, FAND

1998      Melanie Desapri, MS, RD, LD, CNSD

1996      Sharon Groh-Wargo, RD

1994      Pamela T. Price, MS, RD

1993      Rebecca L. Biga, MS, RD

1992      Elizabeth Adams, PhD

1990      Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD

1989      Linda Nebeling, PhD, MPH, RD, FADA, FAND

1988      Maureen Murtaugh, PhD, RDN

1987      Colleen Mathews, RD

Note: members whose names vary from Academy and PNPG membership information may have been unintentionally excluded from this list. If you have historical knowledge of past PNPG grant and award winners, please contact the Website Monitor at with corrections/additions.