2023-2024 NYSAND Leadership

NYSAND’s members are served by an enthusiastic Board of Directors and Coordinating Cabinet. Here’s a brief introduction to these volunteers. We look forward to seeing you at meetings and programs this year and to receiving your feedback and opinions about how NYSAND can serve YOU, the NYS Dietitian or Diet Tech, Registered, and advance our profession in the eyes of our communities. To get in touch with a BOD or CC member, please contact the NYSAND Central Office at NYSAND@CAPHILL.COM. Thank you!

Board of Directors (BOD)

Mariana Serback, MS, RD, CDN

District: HVAND

Mariana Serback, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian in the Albany area. She acquired all her continuing education at Syracuse University and received additional education and training on addiction and disordered eating.

Mariana has worked as a registered dietitian in long-term care, pediatric, and psychiatric settings.

Currently, Mariana owns her private practice, Eat Guilt Free, LLC, where she helps her clients overcome binge eating and body image struggles.

Mariana is the previous Social Media Manager for NYSAND from 2020-2022 and is the 2023-2024 NYSAND President. She is also a member of HVAND.

In her free time, you can find Mariana on long walks, snuggling with her three cats, or at the farmer’s market.

Immediate Past President
Michelle Barber, MS, RDN

District: CNYAND

Michelle Barber has been a practicing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for almost 15 years in Syracuse, NY. She is currently at the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council as a Health and Wellness Specialist where she has a strong focus on Nutrition and Health communications.

Michelle completed her undergraduate education at Rochester Institute of Technology and received her Master’s in Nutrition from Syracuse University. She is a member of the Central NY Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has served many positions on the boards of NYSAND and CNYAND, including the most recent CNY Media representative. Michelle received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award in 2010. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors hiking or skiing with her family.

President- Elect
Katie Brown, MS, RDN, CDN

District: WNYDA

Catherine/Katie Brown has been a practicing dietitian in the Buffalo area for 9 years. She owns Inclusive Nutrition Counseling PLLC, a private practice focused on mental health and eating disorders. 

Katie completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and completed her internship and master’s at the University of Buffalo. Katie has held numerous positions in the Western New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WNYAND) as well as the New York State of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND) including delegate and president. Katie has been awarded Emerging Dietetics Leader (2022) and Distinguish Dietitian of the Year (2023) awards from WNYAND. 


Reyna Franco is a New York City-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a MS in nutrition and exercise physiology from Columbia University. She is a certified specialist in sports dietetics, a certified personal trainer, and a Diplomate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine where she is the Chairperson of the RDN Member Interest Group.

Reyna has a private practice where she has been providing MNT in the areas of weight management, sports nutrition, diabetes, cardiac disease, renal disease, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, food allergies, eating disorders, and childhood nutrition for over 15 years. She is a preceptor and has taught nutrition to undergraduate and graduate students at Rutgers University, LaGuardia Community College, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has been active in AND, NYSAND, and GNYDA. She was the past president of NYSAND, and most recently the Treasurer/Secretary of NYSAND. She is a contributing member of the AND Foundation Committee.

Chair of Delegates  – Delegate 3
Maria C. Mahar, MA, RD, CDN

District: CNYDA

Co- Chair of Delegates- Delegate 1
Rita K. Batheja, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, AFMCP
District: LIAND

Rita is an Integrative and Functional Medicine RDN in private practice in Long Island,  NY. Passion for profession drives her to volunteer for the district, affiliate, and national organization. She thanks her husband Kashi for his strong support.

She was appointed by the president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) to serve on the state issues task force. Rita was NYSAND’s Reimbursement chair for a decade and served as its first Diversity chair. She has been Nutrition Services and Payment Specialist (NSPS) co-chair for the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (LIANO} and was Public Relations chair. She also served as Reimbursement chair and RDN day Co-Chair for GNYDA. She was involved in the grassroot efforts of licensure, and public policy & advocacy.  

Rita is the Founder of the Indian American Dietetic Association (Now Indians in Nutrition and Dietetics Member Interest Group of the Academy,  INDMIG). Rita is the originator of Nutrition Guide to Optimal Health: using principles of Functional  Medicine and Nutrition Genomics eBook I, II and Ill of the American Association of Physicians from Indian Origin (AAPI). Rita initiated DlFMDPG’s standard of practice and standard of professional performance (SOP & SOPP). Rita is a recipient of the Academy’s prestigious Medallion Award, NYSAND and Diabetes DPG’s excellence in  Legislative Activity,  DIFMDPG and INDMIG’s Visionary, Vegetarian Nutrition DPG’s Excellence in Service and Leadership,  LIAN D’s Dietitian of the Year, Indian Physician’s Association’s President’s special recognition, Global Organization of People of Indian Origins (GOPIO} healthcare professional’s community, Competitive essay award of the Wimpfheimer-Guggenheim fund for International Exchange in Nutrition, Dietetics, and Management, just to name few awards.

Rita has been interviewed on the radio, appeared on TV, and has been mentioned in many print media including Academy’s Journal, Today’s Dietitian, and Food Service magazine.

District President Representative- Hudson Valley New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Martha Wasserbauer, MS, RDN, CDN, CNSC, CLC

Public Relations Coordinator
Patricia Salzer, RD
District: MRDA

Pat has been an RD for almost 40 years and received her BS degree in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta and completed her internship at Cleveland Metro General/Highland View Hospital in Cleveland, OH.  She worked for 20 years in health care including her role as a Clinical Nutrition Manager at St Luke’s Memorial Hospital Center and Heritage Health Care, both in Utica, NY and also served as Area Support Manager for Sodexo.  For 19 years she worked for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as a Wellbeing Engagement Consultant.  She’s been involved with MRDA from the beginning of her career and has been President more than once and a constant as Public Relations Chair.  She received the Media Excellence Award for NYSAND in 2020. 

Public Policy Coordinator
Heather Falise, MS, RDN
District: GNYDA

Heather Falise is a Registered Dietitian with a master of science in human nutrition from Cornell University, where her research focused on biomarkers for micronutrient status in low-resource populations. Heather currently works as a bariatric surgery dietitian for Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. In the past, she has served as PR chair for STAND and as Student Public Policy Coordinator for NYSAND. Heather now holds the role of Public Policy Coordinator for NYSAND.  

Parliamentarian, ex officio
MaryBeth O’Meara, RDN, CDN
District: GDA

Mary Beth O’Meara, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian from the Syracuse area. Recently retired, she was a renal dietitian at University Dialysis in Syracuse NY for 20 years. Before that, she worked for 20 years in long-term care. Mary Beth was a preceptor for Syracuse University students. She has been active with CNYAND, NYSAND, and AND. She was most recently a delegate for the HOD and currently will take over as Parliamentarian for NYSAND.

Executive Director
Sarah Sheehan

Sarah Sheehan is an Association Manager at Capitol Hill Management Services and has served as the Executive Director for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2022.  

Coordinating Cabinet (CC)

Media Spokesperson
Alison Bowers, MPH, RDN, CDN

Allison is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with over 12 years in the field working with clients ranging from infants to the elderly. Allison earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from James Madison University and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Saint Joseph.

She also holds a master’s degree in public health in Social Behavioral Science and Health Communication from Boston University, as well as a Certificate in Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is currently Colgate University’s Dietitian Specialist and has held numerous dietetic leadership positions at both the state and local levels. In her free time, she enjoys being a new mom to 2 little boys as well as an avid runner.

Media Spokesperson
Jonathan Valdez,  MBA, RDN, CSG, CDN, CCM, ACE-CPT

Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT is a registered dietitian nutritionist. He currently works with a health insurance company in managed long-term care, and counseling telephonically. Valdez runs his private practice, Genki Nutrition, which specializes in nutrition communications, consulting, and wellness. Before becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, he was a diet technician, where he won Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year in Hawai’i and then in Illinois.

Valdez is also the New York City and Long Island Media Rep for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while working in various capacities for commodities assisting with marketing strategies and crisis management. When not helping with nutrition communications, he is blogging, creating recipes, and doing food photography.

Valdez has been featured in Food Network, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Shape Magazine, Women’s Health, Eat This, Not That, Parade, and Daily Mail

Media Spokesperson
Scott  Keatley,  MPPD, RD, CDN

Scott Keatley is a seasoned healthcare and media professional based in the Greater New York City Area. He holds an MPPD (master’s degree in professional Practice in Dietetics) from Iowa State University and is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist. Scott has extensive experience in managing and treating various conditions related to nutrition, including diabetes, obesity, and sports nutrition, through his co-founded practice, Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.

In addition to his clinical work, Scott serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Bushwick Bites, a digital media platform highlighting Brooklyn’s culinary scene with a focus on sustainability. He is also the founder of Run Sicily, a lifestyle brand crafting performance running apparel.

As an active media contributor for over a decade, Scott has lent his expertise to outlets such as Runner’s World, NBC News, Men’s Health, and Business Insider.

Media Spokesperson
Theresa Gentile, MS, RD

Theresa Gentile is a Brooklyn, NY based Registered Dietitian for 19 years and is a current National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the coordinator of the home enteral nutrition program at Maimonides Medical Center and owns a nutrition consulting practice where she focuses on cardiac health and weight management. Gentile has taught undergraduate nutrition at CUNY Brooklyn College. She earned the Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award from the Greater New York Dietetic Association and was active with GNYDA as a SIG chair. Gentile earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Delegate 2
Scott Keatley, MPPD, RD, CDN

2024 Annual Meeting Chair & Co-Chairs
Stephanie Hua
Sarah Dellett

Hospitality/ Special Events Chair
Rebecca Robins, MS, RD

Marketing/Communications Chair
Niki Klem, MS, RD

Poster Session Chair
Elizabeth Ruder, PhD, MPH, RD

Sponsorship/Vendor Chair
Elisa Bremner, MS, RDN, CDN

Bylaws/Handbook Chair
Kathleen M. Border, EdD, RD, CDN, FAND

Communications Editor
Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN, CDN

Membership Chair
Karri Looby, MS, RD

DTR Representative
Kelly Myers, BS, RD, LRD

Diversity & Inclusion Liaison
Brenda Abu, PhD, MPhil, RDN, CDN

Social Media Manager
Olivia Mancabelli

State Policy Representative
Ann Darcy, MS, RD, CNS

Nutrition Services Payment Specialist (NSPS)
Sarah Olszewski, RD

State Regulatory Specialist
Carole DeBonte, MBA, RD, CDN

Student Representative
Mariana Gianulis

Consumer Protection Coordinator
Karen Ostrum, MS, RD, CDN

Licensure Taskforce Chair
Karen Ostrum, MS, RD, CDN