About Us

The First Coast Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FCAND) is a non-profit 501(c)6 association dedicated to advocating for nutrition and dietetic professionals. Our members are from the Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and Union counties in Northeast Florida. FCAND is a district of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Our mission is to be an advocate for dietetics professionals and to serve the public through the promotion of optimal nutrition, health, and well-being.

FCAND is run and supported by its members. Board officers are elected annually through a member vote.

2022-2023 Officers

Sharon Meier Lutheran - President

I joined FCAND, previously JDA, in 1995 and have been active during this time in different positions, including President in 2007-2008. 

RDNs and NDTRs in Jacksonville have the opportunity to work together to create a new type of association that promotes food and nutrition expertise locally, diversity and inclusion, and food insecurity.

FCAND will be merging this year to form a new district in Northeast Florida.  I look forward to helping with the new district that is coming!


Casey Colin - President-Elect

Casey completed her BS and MS in Dietetics through South Dakota State University, and her Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) degree through the University of North Florida. Casey is an assistant professor with the University of North Florida, and a captain in the US Army Reserve with more than 14 years in dietetics and over 16 years in the military. Her vision entails RDNs sharing the spotlight with allied health professions, and her quest is to inspire all levels of RDNs to become leaders in healthcare. Casey believes that in order to elevate the dietetics profession, we must prove RDN value with objective data directly linking MNT with outcomes. Success is an evolution, and RDNs will gain greater appreciation as experts within healthcare as services they provide become highly valued as the key to prevention and treatment. 

Jamisha Leftwich - Treasurer

Jamisha completed her Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition at the University of North Florida. She has over seven years of experience in the clinical and community setting, including maternal, infant, and child health and nutrition. She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor. Jamisha is currently the ISPP Coordinator at the University of North Florida where she helps coordinate the distance interns.

Jamisha has been involved with FCAND since becoming a dietitian, serving in the past as Nominating Committee chair and a Member at Large. She is excited to see FCAND continue to grow, has many ideas to recognize and show appreciation to the North Florida dietitians and diet techs, and hopes to initiate those ideas as a Chairperson of the Nominating Committee.


Tara Kessinger - Secretary

Tara J Kessinger, MPH, MS, RDN completed an undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sports Science in 1995 from Penn State University. Upon moving to Jacksonville, FL, she later obtained her Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Florida in 2007. After working in the Exercise and Fitness Industry for 20 years, Tara decided to make a career change and enrolled in the Nutrition and Dietetics program at UNF where she obtained her BS degree in 2015. She then went on to enroll in the MS/DI program at UNF and obtained her MS in 2016. She has been accepted into the DCN program at UNF and began her course work in August 2022 with an anticipated graduation in 2026.

Ms. Kessinger has been a Registered Dietitian for over 6 years working in the Clinical Care setting, specializing in Critical Care. She served as a Lead RD for 4 years where she mentored many Dietetic Interns as well as provided guest lectures for several Dietetic Internship Programs. She is currently working as an RD 2 at a large hospital in Orange Park, Florida. Tara has participated in many quality improvement projects as Lead RD and RD2 to include Early Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), Early Identification and Intervention of Malnourished Patients, and The Role of the Registered Dietitian in Critical Care during a Pandemic. Ms. Kessinger also provides monthly nutrition education lectures to new resident MDs in the Critical Care setting.

Ms. Kessinger is married and is the mother of 2 adult children. Her interests and activities include cooking, gardening, and spending time with family.

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 Megan Reynolds - Member-At-Large

Megan Reynolds is a Registered Dietitian working in private practice, HEALTHY HELPings Nutrition Services. She recently moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Jacksonville, Fl. She works with clients with kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, PCOS, and eating disorders via telehealth. She also works as an Adjunct Faculty in the Dietetic Technology Program at Cuyahoga Community Program. She completed her undergraduate degree at Kent State University in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2005 and the combined dietetic internship at the Cleveland VA Medical Center with master’s degree in nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in 2006. She has experience in inpatient, outpatient experience at the Cincinnati VA, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and at a few different dialysis units. Her rewarding career has allowed her to help clients change their lifestyles and reach their goals. She aspires to continue to educate students and interns in the dietetic or dietetic technology program. Her experience with GCAND, OAND, and volunteer experience throughout the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been a source of motivation and support that she would like to continue as well. She was the Ohio Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Dietitian of the Year in 2021. She is excited to learn more about Jacksonville and get involved in FCAND!

Kristen Hicks-Roof - Member-At-Large 

Kristen Hicks-Roof, PhD, RDN, LDN, CLC, FAND, is an Assistant Professor at UNF.  She has been a dietitian for eight years, with practice experience in mental health, corporate wellness and private practice.  Her research interests are mentoring in dietetics and inter-professional practice.

Kristin Berg- Nomination Committee Chairman 

Kristin Berg, MS, RDN, LDN is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition from UNF with a pending graduation in December 2022. She has 20+ years working in Nutrition and Dietetics in New York City and Jacksonville, most recently at Mayo Clinic. In 2015, she began a private practice and began lecturing for private community program nutrition events, while working in elementary education. Presently, Kristin works in secondary education with intent to progress into postsecondary education. Her areas of nutrition experience are research, pediatric with special needs nutrition, solid organ transplant, and general medical nutrition therapy.

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First Coast Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

P.O. Box 11964

Jacksonville, FL 32239

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