Catherine Coccia, PhD, RD

FAND Election Nominee Profile – 2024 Election

Name of the Candidate: Catherine Coccia, PhD, RD

Position: President Elect

Employment History



Years Employed

Florida International University, Miami, FL

Associate Professor, Dietetics & Nutrition


2019-Present (4 years)

Florida International University, Miami, FL

Assistant Professor, Dietetics & Nutrition


2013-2019 (6 years)

Texas A&M University – Kingsville, Kingsville, TX

Assistant Professor, Family and Child Sciences/ Dietetics & Nutrition

2011-2013 (2 years)


Leadership Experience

Leadership Position


Years Involved in the Organization

Chair of District Presidents

Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



South Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


President Elect

South Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



South Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



Answers to Challenge Questions

What strategies would you take for ensuring that leadership is cultivated among members of FAND?


I believe it is important to develop and empower young leaders. Getting students involved in FAND and the local districts is important for the continued mission and vision of the organization. I would like to work with the dietetics programs across the state to provide additional opportunities for service with the organization across the districts. In addition, we need to make sure that the current membership and individuals in leadership positions feel supported, valued, empowered and recognized through our programming, mentorship and leadership opportunities.


The financial stability of a volunteer organization is critical to its ability to serve its members with high quality services.  What strategies/programs/initiatives would you suggest as a means for ensuring financial stability? 


FAND has already started taking a variety of measures over the past few years to ensure the financial stability of the organization. One area that I think we should continue to emphasize is the importance of having a robust membership (keeping our current members and recruiting new members) to ensure the financial stability of the organization. As we think about membership, it is important that take stock regularly to understand the members’ needs so that we can create programming and opportunities that address those needs. Dietetics is a diverse and dynamic profession that is consistently evolving and as an organization we have to evolve as well. Regular touch points with members as well as the districts can help us set the agenda for the organization so that we are providing programming that is of value to our membership. With so many opportunities for dietitians, we need to show future and current members how our organization is an integral part of helping dietetics practitioners and future dietitians connect, learn, grow and advocate within and for the profession.


What do you foresee as the greatest challenge facing Florida RDNs/NDTRs and FAND?  How would you address this challenge?


I think the greatest challenge facing Florida RDNs/NDTRs and FAND is that with the diversity of the profession (which is a great thing) sometimes it is easy for practitioners to separate into their own silos (i.e. private practice, social media, clinical, foodservice, sports etc). With the upcoming changes in the healthcare and food landscape it is more important than ever that dietitians from all fields have a place where they can come together to advocate for nutrition, food and the profession. We need to work together to build each other and our profession up to show that we are the food and nutrition professionals. Through FAND we have the opportunity to continue to build a space where we can have programming that reflects the diversity of the state, opportunities to advance skills through leadership, advocate for the profession through various legislative initiatives and really create the changes we want to see for our profession.