Jeanne Blankenship, MS, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has been an advisor to Celebrate Vitamins since its founding. She was one of the authors of the first-ever American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patientpublished in 2008. She has published several articles and book chapters related to obesity management and surgical weight loss, and was the editor for the nutrition section of the recent ASMBS Textbook of Bariatric Surgery.
Since 2010, Jeanne has served as the Vice President of Policy Initiatives and Advocacy for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jeanne is the visionary for the Academy’s advocacy platform which focuses on professional issues for dietitians and nutrition professionals as well as food and nutrition issues for consumers and the community. Her advocacy work includes issues such as coverage and reimbursement for medical nutrition therapy, malnutrition, hunger and food security, telehealth, and work force demands.
As a nationally recognized expert in obesity and weight management, Jeanne has championed the need for access to comprehensive treatment in her advocacy efforts and is currently one of the co-chairs for the Obesity Care and Advocacy Network. She serves on the Obesity Action Coalition board of directors as an ex-officio and also represents the Academy at the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions convened by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Recently, Jeanne was part of the Provider Education and Training Workgroup that developed the Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesitydocument.
Jeanne oversees state government relations, including consumer protection and licensure initiatives, grass roots advocacy, and regulatory affairs for the Academy. She also manages the organization’s Political Action Committee, Legislative and Public Policy Committee and the Consumer Protection and Licensure Subcommittee.
Prior to working in Policy and Advocacy, she held positions at the University of California Davis Medical Center as a Senior Clinical Dietitian in Northern California’s largest bariatric surgery program and served as its nutrition coordinator. She also worked at the USDA Western Nutrition Research Center as the Principal Dietitian. Her experience includes positions in long term care, the Women’ Infants and Children Program (WIC) and private practice.
Jeanne received a B.S. degree in Clinical Dietetics from Arizona State University and an M.S. degree in Nutrition Sciences at Oklahoma State University.
Heather Mackie, MS, RD, LDis a graduate of UNC-Greensboro where she received her Masters Degree in Nutrition. Her thesis research explored the "Effects of Exercise on Bone Mineral Density and Body Composition During Lactation." She also has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Mississippi.
During her dietetic internship rotation for her graduate studies, Heather worked as a dietetic intern at the world-renowned Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. That experience heightened her interest in working with people affected by obesity in order to achieve a better quality of life. It was Heather’s mission to make a healthy lifestyle, including meal planning and eating, something fun and enjoyable for all.
This mission landed her a job with a program that exclusively worked with bariatric patients, both surgical and non-surgical. There she got to work with all types of surgical patients (gastric bypass, Lap-Band®, sleeve gastrectomy, duodenal switch, revision, and other types via research trials). She developed the nutrition program for the clinic that was later implemented into the hospital system across the region. It is there that she continuously noticed a common struggle for patients – trying to find a vitamin and mineral supplement that they could be compliant with for LIFE. She describes it as finding that last, missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle so they can continue on their journey to wellness!
That puzzle took her to working at Celebrate Vitamins as a Territory Manager and later as the Director of Nutrition. She thoroughly enjoyed her almost 8 years at Celebrate helping patients find supplements that would help them maintain their health and helping professionals better understand the importance of proper nutritional supplementation prior to and following bariatric surgery. During her time at Celebrate, she also co-authored the Path to SuccessTM, a medical weight loss program.
Heather also obtained experience as the Southeast Regional Nutrition Proctor for Allergan Medical. She was chosen to train other dietitians how to best care for Lap-Band® patients regarding their nutritional status. She was involved in several on-going research projects at her previous employment. Heather holds the following certifications: National Institute of Health for Clinical Research, Bariatric Nutrition Course – BariMD, Lap-Band® Total Care Champion, Lap-Band® Adjustable Gastric Banding System Patient Management and Allied Health Workshops, GE Healthcare iDXA enCORE Operating Training, and Korr Cardio Coach Operating Training. She actively participates in several allied health training sessions, patient education presentations, and community health and wellness events across the region and country.
Heather is licensed to practice nutrition by the State of Texas, and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy, the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Currently she is working for Frontera Strategies, the leading provider of on-site, mobile diagnostic testing and focuses on implementing their triple test diagnostic protocol into bariatric surgery practices to help make bariatric surgery safer for all patients.
Connie Stapleton, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and expert in the field of bariatric psychology. Author of three books related to the psychology of weight loss and life after bariatric surgery, Dr. Stapleton works directly with surgical and non-surgical weight loss patients before and after weight loss. Dr. Stapleton is a national and international speaker on the prevention of weight regain and recovery from all addictions, focusing on healing from food addiction. She has presented at IFSO (International Federation for the Surgical Treatment of Obesity), ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), OH (Obesity Help), and WLSFA (Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America) conferences. Her articles appear regularly in various magazines. Dr. Stapleton is an active member of the American Psychological Association, American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the Obesity Action Coalition, the Obesity Medicine Association, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of GA, and the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium.
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