CWRU MS/DI Outstanding Alumni Award

Eligibility and Nominations

The Outstanding Alumni Award is presented annually to one alumnus from each of the dietetic internship programs (Public Health Nutrition Dietetic Internship, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Dietetic Internship) affiliated with Case Western Reserve University Department of Nutrition, who has made outstanding contributions in one or more of the following ways:

  • Accomplishment in dietetics and in the emphasis area of their program
  • Service in local, state, or national professional leadership
  • Service in support of dietetics education.

In order to be eligible, nominees must:

  • Have graduated from one of the three ACEND accredited dietetic internships affiliated with the CWRU Department of Nutrition (Public Health Nutrition Dietetic Internship, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Dietetic Internship, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Dietetic Internship).
  • Have at least 5 years of continuous registration as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
  • Currently be registered as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, or have retired dietitian status.
  • Not be a full-time employee of Case Western Reserve University at the time of nomination and/or award-granting.
  • Not have previously been recognized with the CWRU-Affiliated DI Outstanding Alumni Award.

Full information on the nomination process, selection, and recognition are available on the nomination form.  Nominations are due by July 31.

2022 Awardees

Reverend Linda J. Carr-Whitehead, MS, RDN, LD, VHA-CM

Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

portrait if Linda Carr-Whitehead

Linda Carr-Whitehead is a proud graduate of the LSCVAMC dietetic internship and CWRU Master’s program.  Since graduating, Linda has accrued clinical and management experience in a large, complex integrated health care system, and has provided service at the local and national level with the VHA for over 40 years.  

As the Chief, Clinical Dietitian/Clinical Program Manager at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Linda has primary responsibility for one of the largest clinical staffs in the VA system. Linda is responsible for the clinical aspects of budget management, staffing, performance management, research/quality performance and management of high-level/specialized nutrition professionals.  Linda directs clinical nutrition programs that encompass the Wade Park Main Campus, CARES Tower; an Off-site Hemodialysis Unit; twelve remote community-based outpatient clinics; Extended Care Programs and multiple Home-Based Primary Care teams in approximately 23 counties throughout Northeast Ohio.  Linda effectively and efficiently directs a complete and comprehensive nutritional care program for both inpatients and outpatients, affecting the quality of clinical care provided to approximately 119,000+ Veterans in Northeast Ohio. She is also a dedicated preceptor to VA interns.

Melissa Hansen-Petrik, PhD, RDN, LDN

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

portrait of Melissa Hansen-Petrik

Dr. Hansen-Petrik is a Minnesota native who earned her BS from South Dakota State University, MS from Case Western Reserve University, dietetic internship from University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, and PhD in nutrition from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She came to the University of Tennessee with clinical experience in critical care, neurology, and nephrology and during her doctoral studies investigated the role of omega-3 fatty acids in colorectal cancer. She currently serves as director of Undergraduate Nutrition, and spearheaded development of the first ACEND-accredited Future Education Model Graduate Program in Tennessee. She now serves as director of that program, which culminates in a M.S. in Nutrition with a concentration in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Hansen-Petrik currently teaches Clinical Nutrition I and II, a Clinical Nutrition Practicum, plans and coordinates supervised practice experience embedded in graduate coursework, and has authored textbook chapters on neurology and nutritional genomics. She was recently awarded a USDA grant to develop a pre-college summer program to provide experiential learning for underrepresented high school students with the goal of enhancing diversity of nutrition and dietetics majors. In 2020 she was named Outstanding Dietetic Educator for the state of Tennessee and also regionally by the Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Practitioners of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Julie Kennel, PhD, RDN, LD

Public Health Nutrition

portrait of Julie Kennel

Julie is an Associate Professor of Clinical Practice, Director of the Human Nutrition dietetic internship program and Co-Director of the Masters in Dietetics and Nutrition for The Ohio State University. She has 15 years of teaching experience and a decade of experience providing nutrition counseling in primary care, sports nutrition, and wellness settings. She has an aptitude for learner engagement in the classroom, student mentorship, and curriculum development. She also directs several scholarly projects, including a federally funded minority scholars grant to support under-represented students to nutrition and dietetics professions.  

Julie has a strong resume of professional service at the local, state, and national level. In the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, she served as Chair of the Council on Future Practice (2019-20). She has also served a three-year term with the Dietetics Practice Based Research Network and been the Regional Director for the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors Council. She’s served as Secretary for the Ohio Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is currently the Delegate Elect.

Julie is committed to teaching and training excellence. She has co-led the development of a new graduate degree program and has created 7 new graduate courses and significantly revised 4 undergraduate courses. She received the Academy’s Outstanding Dietetic Educator award (2011). Julie has 15 peer-reviewed publications, a book chapter, and over 50 poster and oral presentations at local, national, and international conferences.  

She graduated from Indiana University with a PhD in Health Behavior. She completed her masters and dietetic internship at Case Western Reserve University, and has dual BS degrees from The Ohio State University in human nutrition and dietetics and exercise science.   

Past Recipients

2021-Erin J. Arra, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LD, Rima Itani Al-Nimr, MS, RDN, LD, Elizabeth Y. Jimenez, PhD, RD
2020-Jennifer Davis, MS, RD, LD, CSO, Tab Forgac, MS, RDN, LDN, SNS, & Monica Serra, PhD, MS, RD, ATC
2019-Jane E. Korsberg, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, Janeen Léon, MS, RDN, LD, & Najeebah S. Shine, MS, RDN, LD
2000-2018–award hiatus
1999–E Jean Silagyi-Rebovich, EdD, MS, RD
1998–Ann Reed Mangels, PhD, MS, RD, FADA
1997–Laura E Matarese, MS, RD, LD, FADA, CNSD
1996–Nelda Mondragon Mercer, MS, RD
1995–Sandra S Stork, MS, RD, CN
1994–not presented
1993–Joan Peschel Hanak, MS, RD, LD, DHCF
1992–Jeanne Brakebill Martin, MS, RD
1991–Mary Jo Boyle Feeney, MS, R1990–Carolyn Jones Leontos, MS, RD
1989–Naomi Deguchi Guttmann, MS, RD & Roberta Virsila Uhrich, MS, RD
1988–Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD
1987–Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD