Executive Committee 2019-20



Janine Ricketts-Byrne, MA, RD, LD

janine_ricketts_byrne_pic.jpgJanine Ricketts-Byrne, MA, RDN, LDN has been practicing in dietetics for over 30 years. She worked in Diabetes Education of multidisciplinary healthcare teams addressing the prevalence of diabetes among the Hispanic population. Recruited Hispanic RDN's to serve as Spokesperson to enhance Hispanic representation focused on diabetes specialization. As ACEND staff, she worked at ensuring implementation of high academic standards and competencies to prepare dietetic students to become successful and culturally sensitive registered dietitians. She served on the Ad-Hoc Committee of Hispanic-Serving Programs and Education.

Janine coached clients to help them discover and overcome their personal barriers, and facilitate individuals to develop objectives with measurable outcomes using behavior modification and motivation techniques. She has conducted power employment workshops, facilitated resume writing workshops and disseminated instruction materials, and provided volunteer networking opportunities and accountability support.

Janine encourages RDNs to pursue specialties that elevate our profession and consider the functional medicine aspects culturally rooted in Hispanic traditions and culture. Building a private consulting business for organizations marketing to Hispanics, she creates welcoming environments that enhance understanding, acceptance and multicultural collaboration and leadership.


Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN

Villacorta_Manuel.jpgManuel Villacorta is an internationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian-nutritionist with more than 18 years of experience. He is the author of four books, Eating Free, Peruvian Power Foods, bestseller Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet, and latest book titled Flat-Belly 365.

Villacorta is a trusted voice in the health and wellness industry. His knowledge, charismatic talent and bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish have made him in-demand health and nutrition expert on local and national television as well as radio channels. A national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics from 2010-2013. he was also a health blog contributor for The Huffington Post and an on-air contributor for Univision. Manuel’s latest contribution has been as a leading nutrition expert for a series about Superfoods with National Geographic and appeared on national talk shows like the Today’s Show, Al Rojo Vivo, Telemundo among other. He also has been quoted and his work has been featured in articles published on print and online in both general and Hispanic markets (Woman’s World, Natural Solutions, Closer, MORE, Latina Magazine, Men’s Fitness, etc).

He acts as a national spokesperson/ambassador who represents food commodities and recognized brands such as California Avocados, California Strawberries, National Mango Board, National Egg Board, Unilever, National Dairy Council, Canola oil, Pichuberry, a2 Milk, Green Valley Creamery, Foster Farms, and National Pork Board, Sunsweet Prunes, Quaker Oats among others.

He is one of the leading weight loss and nutrition experts in the country. Manuel is the owner of MV Nutrition, a San Francisco-based private practice, and the recipient of five ‘‘Best Bay Area Nutritionist’’ awards from the San Francisco Chronicle, ABC7 News and Citysearch. Manuel was featured and recognized for his contributions and as a preeminent Latino registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay Area by a leading media outlet in the Bay Area San Francisco, ABC7.  Manuel is the founder of the Whole Body Reboot an iPhone and desktop app that tracks food, exercise, and behaviors to determine optimal caloric intake and macronutrients for the users’ goals.

Born and raised in Peru, he currently lives in San Francisco. Villacorta earned his Bachelor of Science in nutrition and physiology metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Master of Science in nutrition and food science from California State University, San Jose. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his research and contributions to the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Past Chair

Sara Carrión Perrone, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Sara Carrión Perrone has been a Registered Dietitian for over 20 years and is a Sodexo Clinical Nutrition Manager 2 at Corpus Christi Medical Center. Sara has a vast knowledge in dietetics including a background in adult and pediatric clinical nutrition, weight and diabetes management, community nutrition, breastfeeding promotion, teaching at the university level, and management experience. Sara held numerous LAHIDAN Executive Committee positions including Secretary, Regional Coordinator, Mentor, Chair-Elect, and Chair; and has been an Academy Member for over twenty years.

Sara has also served in leadership capacities at the local and state levels. As President of the Corpus Christi Breastfeeding Coalition, Sara helped secure grant money to build a website aimed to serve breastfeeding moms in the Coastal Bend area. She has also volunteered her time to the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as Nominating Committee member, Scholarship Coordinator-South Region, Legislative Coordinator-South Region and currently serves as the Nominating Committee Chair.

Sara has also held specialty certifications including Board Certified Specialization in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP) and Child and Adolescent Weight Management. She was also tapped as an expert content writer/committee member for the Commission on Dietetic Registration Specialty Exam in Pediatrics and was recently awarded the Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designation.  In 2017, Sara received the Sodexo Cornerstones of Cares Award for Service: Patient/Resident Experience for her dedication to patients. She was also recognized as a Sodexo Clinical Subject Matter Expert helping to orient new Sodexo Clinical Nutrition Managers and Dietitians.

Born and raised in Texas, Sara earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio and her Master of Science in Nutrition from the University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio.


Jordan Griffing, MS, RD, CNSC

Jordan Griffing has been a Registered Dietitian for 4 years and is a Sodexo Registered Dietitian 2 at Corpus Christi Medical Center. She received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Nutrition Sciences at Baylor University and went on to obtain her Certified Nutrition Support Certification (CNSC) in 2017. Jordan has experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings, community nutrition outreach, undergraduate teaching and precepting interns. Her true passion lies within nutrition support and she is currently making strides towards her dream job of working in the NICU.

Last year Jordan served the Texas Academy of Nutrition - South Region in the position of Scholarship/Awards coordinator and is excited to take on more responsibility and become more involved over the next term as Secretary for LAHIDAN.


Andie Lee Gonzalez, PhD, MPH, RDN, LD, FAND

Andie_Lee_Gonzalez-_Headshot-coat.pngAndie Lee Gonzalez is a native to South Texas. As a first-generation Latina college student, she received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics, Dietetic internship rotation program and her Masters in Public Health, with an emphasis in nutrition from Michigan State University. She then completed her Doctorate in Philosophy in Leadership Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University. Through her experiences Andie has developed a strong purpose and passion for community and nutrition. She has found that working toward improving the community's health and wellbeing to be an incredibly fulfilling responsibility and an important goal of hers.

Andie's experiences are unique. They encompass a range of diverse experiences; from academia (6+ years in Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker community research, former University of Texas Rio Grande Valley adjunct professor) working with different populations (adults, children, women), serving in national public health service (HealthCorps at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle), management experience (foodservice supervisor for AL!VE Wellness Center and Outreach Coordinator for Project Puente), and clinical nutrition services (Hayes Green Beach Hospital) are just a few. She is Nationally ServSafe certified, a current member of the Latinos and Hispanics in Nutrition and Dietetics group, Food and Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, mentor for Diversity Dietetics and serves as the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics South Texas Region-Rio Grande Valley Liaison.

She is trained and continues to train in the nutrition field and through much research and experience she understands the importance of good health and well being. Through her focus of "taking SMALL steps for BIG changes" she has seen thousands of lives transformed. Her future aspirations include continuing to embrace health and wellness among H E B South Texas families.

As a H-E-B Medical Sales Representative she helps build on H-E-B-s nutrition services offerings, maintain relationships with physicians, health care providers and employers and serve as a spokesperson for nutrition education and health and wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Ricardo and daughter Aolani. She is a highly motivated Latina who values family, hard work, and helping others.

Nominating Chair

Aida Miles, EdD, MMSc, RDN, LDN, FAND

aida_miles_pic.jpgDr. Miles joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in September 2019 as Clinical Assistant Professor of Nutrition. Prior to this, Dr. Miles was at the University of Minnesota for 11 years in roles that included being the Co-Director of the Leadership, Education and Training Program in Maternal and Child Health and their Director of the Coordinated MPH-RD program.

Dr. Miles has also worked as a pediatric dietitian with children with special needs for over two decades in various settings, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Marcus Autism Center, and Hospital Roosevelt (in Guatemala). In addition to her work in academia, Dr. Miles is a consultant for two clinics that specialize in working with infants and children with feeding disorders, developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr. Miles has held various leadership positions locally and nationally. From 2015 to 2017 she was a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Board of Directors, and was the Speaker of the House of Delegates. From 2017-2019, she was an executive committee member of the State of Minnesota’s Maternal and Child Health Task Force and a member of the University of Minnesota’s Disabilities Issues Committee. In 2018-2019, Dr. Miles was the president of the Minnesota Consultant Dietitians Practice Group. Currently Dr. Miles is the Chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a member of the Academy’s Political Action Committee, and Nominating Committee Chair of the Latinos and Hispanics in Nutrition and Dietetics Member Interest Group.

Dr. Miles completed undergraduate studies at Whittier College in California, earned a Master’s degree in Medical Science from Emory University in Atlanta, and completed a Doctoral degree in Higher Education at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Nominating Chair-Elect

Marianella Herrera-Cuenca, MD, ScD

Marianella Herrera is a physician who graduated from medical School at Central University of Venezuela (UCV). She holds a Master and a Doctorate in Human Nutrition, from Simón Bolívar University in Caracas where she graduated with honors. She was trained in epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health and recently she completed the Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government Executive Program: Applying Behavioral Insights to the design of Public Policies. She is an Associate Professor and Researcher at Center for Development Studies at UCV and is the chair of the Department Development and Health. She is and has been the Principal Investigator for several studies related to food security, nutrition, obesity, energy balance and the double burden of malnutrition and has been able to interact with policy makers and government agents in Venezuela, Latin America, the USA and Europe regarding these topics. Her research interests are social inequities and their associations with chronic diseases and design and conceptualization of public policies for improving population lifestyle, and more recently management of humanitarian responses. She has been making an emphasis in food and nutrition public policies and early prevention strategies of nutrition associated diseases. Doctor Herrera has been lecturing nationally and internationally on those topics and has more than 45 peer reviewed articles published. She was an invited professor and researcher during summer 2014 at KU Leuven in Belgium and she currently is the Chair of the Council on Research of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nominating Committee Chair-Elect of the Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition (LAHIDAN MIG) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at the and is Past - President of the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAAND). Also, is a member of Fundación Bengoa Board of Directors and the president the Venezuelan Health Observatory. Recently, she was the recipient of the Excellence in Public health and Community Nutrition Award from the Public Health and Community Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic in 2017, and the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Outstanding Dietitian of the Year 2018. Dr. Herrera continues her research work in her native Venezuela, Latin America and the USA.


Mentorship Committee 2019-20


Mentorship Coordinator

Violeta Morris, MS, RDN

Morris_Violeta.jpgVioleta Morris has been a LAHIDAN member for 6 years and was the recipient of the LAHIDAN Student FNCE® Scholarship in 2014. Was involved in the mentoring program as a mentee where she received career direction advice, guidance on applying for dietetic internships, job searching, and help with expanding her professional network. She wants to continue to pay it forward and be a role model and empower members as the new Mentorship Coordinator for LAHIDAN. Violeta will be working closely with Dalina Soto, Assistant Mentorship Coordinator, to foster the development of student and young professional members of LAHIDAN with the end goal of helping them broaden their horizons in the field and succeed. Students and young professional members are encouraged to fill out LAHIDAN Mentee Profile Form and more experienced LAHIDAN members that are interested in becoming a mentor should fill out the LAHIDAN Mentor Profile Form found on LAHIDAN’s website. Looking forward to another successful academic year and together we can make a difference, “juntos, sí se puede” (together, yes we can)!

A little about Violeta, she grew up in Indiana and went on to attend Michigan State University, majoring in Dietetics. Further, pursued her Master’s in Nutrition and Metabolism at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston with a combined dietetic internship. She is currently a Registered Dietitian Quality Coordinator at Abbott Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio. She started her career at Abbott in 2015 as a Pediatric Sales Nutrition Representative in Houston, TX.

Assistant Mentorship Coordinator

Dalina Soto, MA, RD, LDN

Soto_Dalina.jpgDalina Soto is founder and bilingual registered dietitian at Nutritiously Yours, based in Philadelphia. Dalina received her bachelor’s in nutritional sciences from Penn State University and completed her master’s and dietetic internship at Immaculata University. Throughout her career, Dalina has worked in the community of Philadelphia helping clients ditch diets and eat healthy.