Changes to the BCNS Board of Directors: Testimonial to our Departing Directors & Welcoming New Board Directors

BCNS Board Directors Georgia Austin, Jeffrey Bland, and Jonathan Emord have stepped down as of year’s end. We thank them for their many contributions and years of service. These inspirational leaders have been a crucial part of the development and growth of the BCNS and the nutrition profession.

Georgia Austin
Georgia is a CNS, serving the Central NY area through her practice, New Leaf Functional Nutrition. She served for two years as an adjunct faculty at New York Chiropractic College’s Masters of Science Applied Clinical Nutrition program, located in Seneca Falls, NY, where she also earned her MS degree in 2008. Georgia served for four years as the BCNS Board Secretary and was the board representative for the Quality Assurance committee.

“Thank you to Georgia, for the wisdom and dedication she brought as a leader of the BCNS.  Her leadership and support have helped evolve the BCNS into the pre-eminent certifier of advanced nutrition professionals.” Michael Stroka, CEO of the ANA.

Jeff Bland
Jeff Bland, Ph.D., FACN, CNS, served on the BCNS board for ten years, ushering in an era of growth and development of the BCNS and the entire personalized nutrition and personalized medicine fields. He played a crucial part in the evolution of the BCNS and its coherence with the American Nutrition Association. Jeff co-founded The Institute for Functional Medicine with his wife, Susan, in 1991 and, more recently, the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute and Big Bold Health.

Michael Stroka, CEO of the ANA, reflects on Jeff’s vision: “Thank you Jeff, for your service as an instrumental leader of the ANA Family of organizations, in your role as BCNS Board Member and Vice President. As a Board Member and a CNS, you have been a tremendous Champion for the BCNS work and a key architect envisioning the American Nutrition Association.  Your fellow ANA leaders and community of nutrition professionals deeply appreciate the time and talents you have long contributed, and will no doubt continue to contribute to the mission.”

Jonathan Emord
Jonathan Emord, JD concluded his final term on the BCNS Board, serving as the public member since 2010. Jonathan has been practicing constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies since 1985. Emord & Associates represents over 450 different food, dietary supplement, over-the-counter and compounded drug, medical device and biologics companies on issues of regulatory compliance, claims and advertising, and agency investigations and enforcement. Jonathan has either served as lead counsel or has been involved in dozens of major legal battles involving federal government attempts to restrict what may be said on the label or in the labeling and advertising of foods and dietary supplements over the past two decades.
President Ronald Hoffman said at the December BCNS Board of Directors meeting, “Jonathan is much more than a public member—he lent his expert counsel to the BCNS in so many areas over the past twelve years.
Michael Stroka celebrates Jonathan’s impact: “We are more grateful than you can imagine for Jonathon’s important contributions to the ANA mission and to human health.  BCNS and the ANA have benefitted tremendously from his wisdom and counsel and contributions (and humor!!). It is an honor to have been side by side with him in the work to elevate nutrition to the core of health care.”

We are very pleased to welcome two new directors to the BCNS, Crystal Gossard, DCN, CNS, LDN and Mary Leopold.

Crystal Gossard
Dr. Gossard, is an Educational Specialist and Spokesperson and maintains a private clinical practice. A long-time member of the ANA family of organizations, she has co-authored peer-reviewed publications and will continue service on the CNS Exam Development Council where she has served since 2020.  

Mary Lepold
Mary was elected to the BCNS board as the public member. She worked as a pharmacist in California for more than twenty years before transitioning to Leopold Ice Cream, a family business started in 1919. In 2004, Mary opened the flagship Leopold Ice Cream store in Savannah, Georgia which was rated as the #1 place to get ice cream in the city by Travel and Leisure magazine.  

Staff Changes
In 2022, Debbie Slutzky stepped down from her role as the manager of certifications.  We are grateful for her seven years of work with the organization.

ANA Senior Vice President of Nutrition Programs, Corinne Bush notes, “I’ve been privileged to collaborate closely with Debbie. She’s the quintessential professional who has brought both structure AND function to the Certifications department.

Amy Smith, MS, CNS, LDN, is now the ANA manager of certifications.  Amy has been with the ANA since February 2021 and has made great strides in the Certifications department in the six short months that she has been in this role with a special focus on processes. Megan Rufael, MS, CNS, LDN, was brought onto the certifications team as the Certification Coordinator in October 2022. Both Amy and Megan are passionate about the field of personalized nutrition and their contributions to the growth of the CNS and all of our certifications.

CNS Connect
CNS® Connect is THE community space for CNSs to find, share, learn and CONNECT. This important initiative empowers CNSs and provides tools and information for them to practice successfully. In 2022, CNS Connect offered over a dozen webinars focused on helping CNSs and CNS Candidates build their practice, and four networking events were offered to build community, referral networks, and support. We had a fantastic time in San Diego at the Annual CNS Connect Happy Hour, enjoying cocktails and a sunset poolside.    

The ANA Advocacy Team continues to make inroads in many areas that affect CNSs practice rights. In 2022, the ANA, here are the highlights:

  • Represented ANA in Washington, DC at the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and at the USDA’s first ever Come to the Table event at USDA headquarters.  
  • In conjunction with the White House Conference, ANA staff met with members of Congress to: 
  • Encourage them to support Medicare medical nutrition therapy (MNT) expansion bills. 
  • Thank them for supporting legislation to convene the White House conference. 
  • Participated in rules and regulations processes in North Carolina, North Dakota, and Washington, DC. 
  • Advocated for CNS-inclusive state legislation and regulations in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and Wisconsin. These efforts contributed to victories in multiple states in 2022, including: 
  • Successfully advocated for a bill to extend the nutrition/dietetics practice act in Illinois for another five years (through Jan. 1, 2028). 
  • Supported expanded nutrition practice exemptions for nutrition practitioners who are not eligible for licensure in Mississippi. 
  • Participated in multiple coalitions advocating for reasonable occupational regulations reform, appropriate practice privileges for health care providers, and integrative health care, including nutrition. 
  • Sent letters of support for a variety of state and federal initiatives pertaining to nutrition and improving access to nutrition services, particularly medical nutrition therapy, food as medicine, and medically tailored meals. 
  • Advocated for more CNSs on state regulatory boards and other entities where policy decisions are being made. 
  • Supported CNSs in state licensure application processes, including recruiting CNS volunteers to serve as mentors for licensure applicants in Florida and North Carolina. 
  • Worked with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to update the Occupational Outlook Handbook regarding dietitians and nutritionists. 
  • Advocated for fair implementation of in-place licensing laws. 

The ANA Advocacy Team looks forward to continuing this important work in 2023. For questions or to get involved, please contact

ANA Personalized Nutrition Summit 

Personalized Nutrition 2022: Mental Health Matters: Emerging Science + Evidence-Based Practice.
A heartfelt “thank you!” to those who attended the ANA’s 63rd Summit, Personalized Nutrition 2022! What a great opportunity to gather with colleagues, friends, and the broader nutrition ecosystem. We had a total of 434 attendees with nearly 140 indicating that it was their first time attending! We were joined by 24 exhibitors and a lineup of exceptional speakers who highlighted the important connection between nutrition and mental health. As a reminder, ANA membership benefits include access to Summit recordings through the ANA portal, so you can revisit your favorite talks any time!
We hope to see you at the 2023 Summit in Charlotte, NC in October! Keep an eye out for registration details in the ANA newsletter and on the ANA website.
Save the DATE! OCTOBER 19-20, 2023 – Charlotte, NC 

CNS Reminders
All CNSs are required to pay the $100 annual fee due by December 31 of each year for the upcoming year.   Log into the CNS Portal and choose the Auto-pay option to automatically charge your credit card annually.
In addition, CNSs must recertify every 5 years. This requires:  

  •  75 CEs in Nutrition during the 5-year certification period on the Recertification application.  
  • Payment of the $200 recertification fee that is separate from the annual fee.  

Please see the CNS Recertification Policy. 

We send regular reminders via email and postcard reminders to those due to recertify in the current year. Please be sure to update your email and mailing address in the Portal if it changes.