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2021 Distinguished Practice Award
Whitney Christie, MS, RD, CSO, CNSC
Whitney Christie is the registered dietitian for Mary Washington Healthcare’s Regional Cancer Center in Fredericksburg, VA. She supports patients with all types of cancer in the area at no cost. She is a certified specialist in oncology and a certified specialist in nutrition support. She has been a clinical dietitian for 15 years, the majority of that in oncology. She is involved in multiple research, quality improvement and outreach projects and serves on multiple clinical teams for the cancer program.

Whitney received a Bachelor’s of Science in Food and Nutrition through West Virginia University. She completed her combined internship and Master’s Degree in Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland. She was initially in an undergraduate nursing program and quickly switched nutrition after taking a class and discovering she could get a degree in it. Whitney did not know where her nutrition career would take her until she interned at a cancer center and worked with multiple individuals with head and neck cancer. She saw how critical nutrition can be in supporting those individuals. She enjoys providing nutritional and emotional support to individuals with feeding tubes in the home setting, particularly during the initial adjustment period. She acknowledges the careprovider’s critical role in the cancer patient’s journey. 

Whitney describes her approach to care as individualized. She believes that each patient she works for has unique nutritional needs. She feels her role can help to support the best possible treatment outcomes and positively impact quality of life during one of the most difficult times in a person’s life.

hroughout Covid 19, Whitney’s practice changed and she converted to telenutrition. She was able to increase and improve her services to patients. She was able to do multiple virtual presentations on pancreatic enzymes and head and neck cancer, including an international talk. She organized virtual grocery store tours as well. She wrote an article for the Oncology Nutrition Connection newsletter on her experiences as a virtual dietitian through the Covid 19 pandemic. She received the GEM (Great Employees Make Magic) Award from Morrison’s Healthcare for her work throughout the pandemic.

Whitney serves as the lead for the Strategic Communications Team for the Oncology DPG. She was also selected through the Oncology DPG to help author a patient education nutrition booklet with three other dietitians.
Whitney’s has many interests in oncology nutrition including making tube feeding in the home setting work, blenderized tube feedings, pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, improving quality of life in cancer through nutrition and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Whitney also enjoys research in in the process of publishing two case studies on pancreatic cancer patients on tube feeding who used immobilized lipase cartridges.

Whitney resides in King George, VA with her husband and two children. She enjoys yoga, supporting the arts, and describes herself as a self-proclaimed nutrition nerd.

2021 Distinguished Service Award
Karen Ringwald-Smith, MS, RD, LDN, FAND
Karen currently works at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as the Research/Education/ Project Manager.  She has been at St. Jude since 1990 and has worked with many research and medical teams striving to optimize the medical nutrition therapy provided and improve health outcome.  Karen is actively participating in several research and evidence-based practice studies.  Her core research team consists of four graduate students from the University of Memphis, three student assistants employed by St. Jude, and research observers from various undergraduate and graduate nutrition programs.  In addition to her research, she also assists the dietitians in the department with their research efforts.  Karen enjoys program development and providing education to the St. Jude family, which includes staff, patients, and caregivers.  She has hosted several education programs including Taking it to the Streets, the Nutrition Express, Mommy and Me, and the St. Jude Healthy for Life Program “Delish Nutrish Cooking for St. Jude Kids”.  Annually, she enjoys developing campus wide nutrition activities including National Nutrition Month, Kids Eat Right Month, and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 


2021 Professional Partnership Award 

Aki Smith, Hope for Stomach Cancer

2021 Friend of the DPG Award
Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, FAAN, FASPEN

2021 ON DPG Excellence in Oncology Nutrition Research

Tricia Melhart, MS, RD, CNSC, LD

Tricia Cox received her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Dietetic Internship and Masters in Human Sciences from Stephen F. Austin State University. From 2008 until present she has worked in clinical oncology, both inpatient and outpatient. When Mrs. Cox was Chair of the Oncology Dietetic Practice Group, the Academy and the DPG formed a research committee where she now serves as liaison between the two. Mrs. Cox has published works on nutrition for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Medical Nutrition Therapy Manual, Ovarian Cancer chapter for Oncology Nutrition in Clinical Practice, and developed an outpatient program for breast and gynecological cancers. She is currently working on making sure every cancer patient has access to a dietitian in an outpatient cancer setting.

Page updated: November 2021