2019 LAHIDAN Awards

2019 LAHIDAN Distinguished Trinko Service Award

Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD

Sylvia is an internationally recognized nutrition expert who is relentlessly passionate about helping people fall in love with the process of creating and enjoying delicious but most importantly, nutritious foods. Dr. Sylvia Klinger is the founder of Hispanic Food Communications, a food and nutrition communications professional, award-winning author and global nutrition entrepreneur. It’s her Hispanic background that has fueled her passion for nutrition, which has led her to empower and encourage those in her community through the foods they make in their kitchens. Understanding that everyone’s needs are different, Sylvia seeks to individualize nutrition, so that it can be a highly beneficial experience to us all during the unique journey we are here to live. It has been through the study of nutrition and her experiences growing up in a Hispanic home, that Sylvia has realized the power nutrition has; the power to glue people together, no matter who they are or where they come from. As a result of her endless efforts and constant relationship with the community, Sylvia has been a sought-after consultant for global diversity issues, food, beverage, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and non-profit health organizations. She has regularly contributed her expert commentary on nutrition through radio and television shows both nationally and internationally, through popular blogs, publications, and magazines and as an advisory board member for multiple professional affiliations.

Sylvia has appeared on NBC, ABC, Fox News, CNN Spanish, Univision, Telemundo, America Teve, TV Azteca, and Telefutura. She has made many guest appearances on Despierta America, Un Nuevo Día and Telemundo Chicago News, and numerous Hispanic cable stations. She has been a guest nutritionist on Hispanic radio talk shows and popular publications, including Latina Magazine, Siempre Mujer, Vanidades, Nuevo Impact, Culinary.net, Bakery and Snacks Magazine and Convenience Store Decisions magazine. She is also a blogger for Huff Post Latino Voices and Healthy Eating. Prior to establishing her consulting firm, Sylvia served as senior culinary development specialist and supervisor of consumer test kitchens at the Quaker Oats Company where she managed the Product Knowledge Training. She has solid clinical and public health nutrition experience, serving as a research dietitian at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and the University of California Irvine Medical Center, as well as a supervising nutritionist for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental feeding program. She began her career as an administrative dietitian at New England Memorial Hospital in Boston, MA. Sylvia’s professional affiliations include active membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic, Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Overseas Dietetic Association, Latino and Hispanic Dietetic and Nutrition Network Group (LAHIDAN), as well as Dietitians in Business & Communications, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and Food and Culinary Professionals Practice Groups. She has held numerous positions in their executive boards. She is also a member of the Grain Foods Foundation Medical Advisory Board. Additionally, Dr. Klinger has been a visiting adjunct professor at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Tirgu Mures in Romania, teaching nutrition communications and leading nutrition practicum labs.


2019 Student FNCE® Scholarship Recipient

Gabriela “Gabby” Puche, MS, Dietetic Intern

Gabriela “Gabby” Puche is a dietetic intern and M.S. student at Oklahoma State University. Gabby got her undergraduate degree at Texas Woman’s University, where she was the President of the Texas Student Dietetic Association (TSDA), a state-wide organization for dietetics students. She is also a 2019-2020 recipient of the CDR Diversity Scholarship through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. Her Master’s thesis project is meant to provide evidence to improve school lunches, a subject near and dear to her heart, as she relied on free school lunches during her formative years in the public school system.



Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to LAHIDAN for selecting me for the 2019 FNCE® Scholarship, which gave me the opportunity to attend the conference and go to Philadelphia for the first time in my life. I came across the LAHIDAN Student FNCE® Scholarship through my mentor, Andie Gonzalez, current LAHIDAN Treasurer whom I met through the Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Diversify Dietetics. As a dietetic intern, M.S. student and of course, being Latina and coming from a disadvantaged background, going to FNCE® comes with an extraordinary expense. Just to give some perspective to what this means to me, I started my dietetics journey as a freshman in college back in 2013, and six years later I was able to go to FNCE®.

At the LAHIDAN reception, I met a Venezuelan doctor, Marianella Herrera Cuenca, the director of the Venezuelan Health Observatory and author of the book “Addressing Global Hunger”. This was a very important moment for me, as I was born in Venezuela and left the country as a small child. It was meaningful to get to connect with someone that is on a mission to fight malnutrition in that part of the world. I teared up just talking to her about her work which is of extreme significance as Venezuela is going through the worst crisis in its history. I was proud to represent myself as a Venezuelan student and proud Latina at the reception, and I ended the night with a ton of new friends from the U.S. and other Latin American countries.

Some of the themes of the conference that stood out to me were sustainability, plant-based diets, intuitive eating, and cultural humility. The weekend of October 26-29 was one of the most influential times of the year for me. I had the opportunity to attend insightful educational sessions as well as network with like-minded dietitians and dietetic students. I came back with a stack full of business cards and about 50 new LinkedIn connections! I think it’s amazing that I was able to meet so many people.

While staffing the booth at the DPG/MIG Showcase alongside members of the LAHIDAN Executive Committee, I noticed that there is an overwhelming need for Spanish speaking dietitians in the field. Lots of people approached our table asking for referrals and resources. I encourage all LAHIDAN student members to apply to this scholarship and network because you are needed.