2014 LAHIDAN Awards

2014 LAHIDAN Distinguished Trinko Service Award

Aida Miles, MMSc, RD, LD, FAND

Aida Miles is originally from Guatemala where she developed a passion for nutrition and a desire to work with children at an early age. After earning an undergraduate degree in nutrition, she returned to Guatemala, where she volunteered at the largest public hospital with a pediatric unit, starting a nutrition support program. Aida also taught at a local university and worked in a vitamin A intervention research project in rural Guatemala. She returned to the United States upon her marriage and spent most of her career working in pediatric nutrition in both acute and ambulatory care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2008, Aida and her family moved to Minnesota, where she is now the Director of the Coordinated Master’s program in public Health Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Continuing her passion for pediatric nutrition, she is the consultant dietitian for Clinic 4 Kidz, which serves children with severe feeding disorders. She also serves as speaker-Elect for the Academy’s House of Delegates and is a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors.

2014 Student FNCE® Scholarship Recipient

Violeta Nieves

She writes the following in response to receiving her scholarship award: I am very grateful and honored to learn of my selection for the LAHIDAN student FNCE scholarship award. My parents immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico, to the United States to offer their children better educational opportunities. I am the third of six children and the first person from my working class family to go to college. I earned my BS in dietetics at Michigan state university and currently am pursuing my MS in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Presented with the opportunity to attend college, I worked hard to pursue my dreams and fight any obstacles that would prevent me from reaching my goals. I relate to many other Latinos striving to succeed. I plan to advocate for health and wellness to prevent nutrition-related diseases and ease the roadblocks that the Latino community encounters in developing healthy lifestyles. I feel very blessed to have the love and support of my family that has allowed me to pursue my goals and dreams.

2014 Volunteer of the Year Award

Alixsa Gamez

Born and raised in Monteria-Colombia, Alixs finished her Bachelor's in Nutrition and Science at the Universidad Metropolitana in Barranquilla, Colombia.  There, she gained 3 years of experience working in private practice and at the Rotary Club Barranquilla in the Comprehensive Lip and Plate Rehabilitation Center, for which she was a spokesperson. Then, she moved to Bogota looking for a better future, where she worked for 5 years in Food Service. It was an amazing experience for her to come from a little town to the big city as well as a big challenge, but she knew there was more to come.

Being family oriented, she moved to USA and married a wonderful man. She gave birth to 2 handsome boys and has been dedicating her last 10 years to her children while working as a volunteer. During that time she also completed her dietetic internship looking for a way to obtain her RD license.

Alixs received a certification from Ashworth University as Professional Nutrition Specialist. Since then, she has volunteered for the American Red Cross, and FLIPANY Cooking Matters. There she was providing Nutrition Education in Spanish and English to children, adult and families, teaching how to make healthy food choices to low -income participants and helping families improve the way to Shop, Cook and Eat. She gained most her experience as a Bilingual Nutrition Educator working with FLIPANY.

Alixs has also volunteered for the Palm Beach Health Department of Florida, from which she received a Certification of Appreciation in 2011 and 2012. She also received the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Award and a Center Award from the Florida Health Palm Beach County in 2013.  During her volunteer service in the Health Department, Alixs realized that her true passion is in community service. She loves and enjoys helping others, even more the Latino population because “they need that interpreter and that person that understands and cares for them”.

Recently she started working full time as a Community Connector in Molina Healthcare doing advocacy for its members. She gives all her clients the support they need, including Nutrition Education, Mental Health and Social Work support. Her clients are mostly Latino, and “they are happy to find that person that speaks for them and helps them navigate the health system, receiving that feeling that somebody cares for them on their physical and psychological health so that they don’t feel alone any more. After 11 years of being a stay home mom being back to work is a big challenge for Alixs. This is also her first paid job in the US, although she feels that her volunteer work was her job.  Alixsa counts with her husband support. He understand that it is her time to shine and he is helping her dedicating more time to the children while Alixs is working, learning new things and collecting new experiences.

During the time Alixs was volunteering for LAHIDAN she had a tough year with undergoing some serious health issues with a family member. But her strength and desire to help kept her and her family together. She is doing much better now and is happy to have the opportunity to keep growing in her personal and professional life. “I have so many blessing in my live, the least I can do is to give back to my community, with my knowledge and my work”. Alixs states that she loves to volunteer for LAHIDAN because they gave her the opportunity to look and find out resources for Health and Nutrition topics, which helped her to refresh her knowledge on various nutrition subjects and find new friends that share her same passions.