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Meet Your President - Dr. Barbara Ann Hughes!

Thursday, April 20, 2017  
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Dr. Hughes holds Masters Degrees in Public Health Admin., (competed all courses in Maternal and Child Health), Religious Education, Institution Management/Food Systems along with a dietetic internship at The Ohio State University and Medical School.  She holds Certificates of Training in Adult, Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management, The American Dietetic Association, is Licensed by the NC Board of Dietetics/Nutrition and is Registered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration of the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition, She is a FELLOW of the American Dietetic Association and Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition.   She wrote Theses for each of these three degrees, and received Fellowships. Research for her doctoral degree, from Walden University involved interviewing members of the NC General Assembly to learn “Priorities in nutrition and diet related public health issues in NC (which chronic diseases they would prioritize to prevent by increasing funding.)  Maternal and child health won.

In 1979 she completed a course in Maternal and Child Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University and presented the Dr. Honorable Helen Huncher Lecture, head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Department at CWRU.  A requirement for graduation from a Masters’ Program in Public Health Nutrition is an 8 week Field Placement somewhere in the county.  In any summer, N.C. would host as many as 10 graduate students from on the Schools of Public Health or Universities with programs in public health as TN, Cornell, etc.  They were placed with regional nutrition consultants as their preceptors and in local health departments. She was an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Medicine, CWRU for 1988-89, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health UNC-CH, 1979-89.

Immediately out of her internship at OSU she and husband Carl moved to KY for a couple of years, where she studied archaeology, Biblical studies etc. and was invited in 1968 to participate in an archaeological expedition on the West Band of Present Israel.  She was the dietitian for @35 North American professors, planned menus bargained or poultry, fish and other groceries, using the Arabic language, supervised 1 or 2 male Arab cooks, and paid for the food in another currency.  She also consulted with the cooks at the UN Hospital (adults with diabetes) and a Lutheran children’s center on the Mount of Olives.  She presented a paper, “Hunger—Old World” at the 5th International Congress of Dietetics, Washington, DC in Sept. 1969 about her work that summer.

Upon return from the Middle East, she returned to Raleigh and accepted a position as a Regional public health dietitian for 1/3 of the state and soon enrolled in the first off-campus Masters of Public Health Administration, graduating in 1973.  She volunteered to chaired the Diet Therapy committee, NC Dietetic Assoc. to write and publish the first DIET MANUAL which received the Group Merit Award  by the NC Public Health Assoc.  With her newly minted MPH degree, she was invited by the State Health Director to apply for the position of Director of Dietetics and Nutrition.  She did with only 1 secretarial position, 3 regional nutritionists and 2 regional dietitians.

The new Women’s Infants and Children Bill had been signed into law in 1973 and she was receiving calls from the Southern Regional office, USDA and some infant formula companies.  Barbara Ann accepted the position as Head, Dietetics & Nutrition Branch, recruited more staff and after a few years had encouraged almost all 100 counties in the state to accept the WIC Program.  She became a charter member of the national WIC Directors association; was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infants and Fetal Nutrition for the WIC Program, administered by the USDA, and in 1980 received the “Certificate of Appreciation from the USDA for valuable contributions to the continuing study of the operations of the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, as a member of the National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infants and Fetal Nutrition, for serving from 1976-1979.  From 1973- 1988 she worked on numerous committees and task forces with USDA, gave many talks and published many papers.  During those same years she was asked to assist other state agencies in need of recruiting Registered dietitians/ nutritionists. (mental health, juvenile justice, the prison system,  day care centers, Head Start programs, jails, homes for the aged, nursing homes, hospitals and child development centers, and county health departments.)  At this time she was the primary RDN in state government and networked with the state personnel system and recruited at national ADA and APHA meetings for her division and these other agencies.

During the years of 1973-1989, she was elected and served a 4- year term as a Trustee for Gardner-Webb College, Gave 3 testamonies before the US Senate Agriculture Committee and  the Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing, Consumer Relations and Nutrition of the House of Representatives, one for the American Public Health Association.  She joined the NCPHA in 1969, Held  various positions with the NC and American Dietetic Associations including President of NCDA, Legislative and Public Policy Chair for both associations, served on the Boards of Directors, Three Terms on the House of Delegates, worked for state Licensure for Dietitians in NC, appointed by the Speaker, NC House of Representatives to the NC Board of Licensure where she held positions as Secretary and Vice Chair.  Established endowed scholarships in the Academy of Dietetics Foundation designated for a member to attend a public policy conference. She is a 54 year member of the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition.  

In 1977 she became a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Health Association as chair Nutrition Section; held other offices and rose to the Presidency in 1989-82.  She is now a LIFE member of NCPHA, Southern Health, and the American Public Health Association (48 year member). In 1988 she was honored by the Southern Health Association for the PRESIDENT’S AWARD. And in 1994 received the CATHERINE COWELL AWARD from the Food and Nutrition Section, APHA; the Leadership and Service Commendation, in recognition of outstanding leadership and dedicated service by the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors, as a past president.  In 1988 she received  a Distinguished Alumni Award College of Home Economics, The Ohio State University, Columbus. In 1982, selected as a Distinguished Alumnus, Carson-Newman College, (now University), Jefferson City, TN.  She had chaired the Carson-Newman Home Economics Advisory Council.

 She was a recipient of the Catherine Cowell Award, Food & Nutrition Section, APHA, presented to an individual who is innovative and has keen vision in dietetic programs in Public Health Nutrition for low income populations, 1994. In 1976 she became Outstanding Member of the Year by the NC Dietetic Association, Inc.  Honored by The NEWS & OBSERVER, Raleigh NC as “The Tar Heel of the Week,” June 29, 1975. She received the 2002 Triangle Business Journal for the Women in Business Awards, August 8.

Some offices Barbara Ann held in the 1990: Elected to chair the Council on Practice; a Delegate from NC to the national House of Delegates; elected to the Board of Directors, member, Honors Committee, Chair Nutrition Education for the Public Dietetic Practice Group, Member, Workgroup on Labeling and raising awareness of greater political action by house of delegate members. She was reelected in 2017 to another 3- year term in the HOD.  Honors of highest regard are:   2005, Award of Excellence in the Practice of Consultation and Business Practice; , 2006, Nutrition Entrepreneur-DPG Award, 2008, Award for Excellence in Weight Management Practice, and 2004, the highest honor, the Medallion Award, in recognition of contributions to the total profession and association;  In 1988,  President, Association of State & Territorial Nutrition Directors;  Certificate of Appreciation, Deputy Director, Bureau of M&CH and Resources Development,  Health and Human Services, Public Health as State Supervisor for Residence Program conducted by the Office of M&CH and the National Health Service Corps, DHHR  

In 1989 she decided to retire from government service, become President of Altrusa International Inc. Service Association.  She also founded B A Hughes & Associated, LLC a private practice.  She asked to be appointed to the Wake Co. Board of Health in 1994-1996. The board decided to become a Human Service agency in 1996.  She served a second 4-year term, 1996 – 2006 and was reappointed thru 2004 She now serves on the Public Health Committee.  In 1994 she was elected to the Association NC Boards of Health.  She served all offices and as President – 2014 and in 2015 she again became president of the Association.   In 1993 - 1994 she became a FELLOW, NC, Institute of Political Leadership and in the following 2 years, 1994-95 she participated and graduated from the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Raleigh Program.  She is an elected delegate to the State  Executive Committee of her political party.   

She was appointed to the NC Local Public Health Accreditation Board in 2005-2008; 2010-2013, and 2014 – 2017.  In 2014 and appointed Southeastern Regional Director of NALBOH and elected Board Member and member of the Governance Committee.  She was elected to offices leading to the presidency in 2016 which she now holds.  In her role she represents NALBOH to The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice along with President-Elect Dr. Christina Dokter.                                                                        

When she retired from full time employment she realized this was a time she could become empowered to learn more about politics. She accepted a position in the NC General Assembly and worked as an Administrative Aid to the Chair of the House Environmental Committee for two years, 1993-1995.  She networked with groups that opened doors to other opportunities.  For example, the American Heart Association had plans to hold a first of a kind Health Fair in one of the state legislative buildings.  Her proposal was accepted and it occurred in the spring of 1995.  She persuaded vendors to provide healthy foods and educational materials; arranged for RNs to draw blood to test, scales to take weights, etc.  It was a hit with general assembly members.  Shortly thereafter she joined a delegation of women who travelled  to Beijing  China where they represented NC to the NGO forum and Conference on women.    Also in 1995 she attended the Altrusa International, Inc. biennial conference in Christchurch, NZ where she was honored to receive the highest honor Altrusa gives, the ELEANOR ROOSEVELT HUMANITARIAN AWARD.  

In 1993 she was invited to become a member of the Wake County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council and became the chair in 1997-99.   She then was invited to join the National Council on Agriculture, Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) representing North Carolina State University from 1996-1999.

She became a nutrition columnist for “The Senior Source,” The Herald Sun (Durham) Newspaper, a bimonthly publication in 1995. She continued writing for 6 years.  In 2000 she hosted 13 weeks of talk radio programs on various nutrition topics with guests, North American Broadcasting Co, Inc. WAlE 990 AM, Providence-Greenville, RI for September – December.

As her consulting business grew she realized that the largest insurance company in Blue Cross, Blue Shield of North Carolina was not credentialing Registered/Licensed dietitian/nutritionist.  She invited 3 additional colleagues to meet and write a letter to the medical director who accepted their request to meet at their national office in Durham. The medical director opened the meeting by stating: “We are going to start credentialing you dietitians, but it will take about 18 months to gear up this big animal.”  It took 15 months because their systems did not “talk” to each other.  As of 4/10/17, there are more than 400 credentialed RDNs providing nutrition care through this network in NC and through the State Health Plan. 

“The American Dietetic Association approached RDNs in private practice in 2006 to ask RDNsi to participate in a study to determine if having worked with a registered/licensed dietitian/nutritionist had made any difference in weight loss.  She let the group decide that a research project could provide positive outcomes. A good sample of RDNs participated in a 2- year retrospective case-control study, evaluating the health outcomes attributable to MNT for individuals participating in the MHP Program in NC, 2006- 2008.”  In 2006 she assisted an MD to open the Institute of Lifestyle and Weight Management and was the Director of Adult Nutrition, in Raleigh. In 2007 she received the NC Health & Wellness Trust Fund Leadership in Obesity Award in Raleigh, May 16.  “These Power of Prevention Awards recognize individuals across NC for taking innovative measures in the following areas:  Preventive health, Access to health care and for promoting healthy lifestyles.”

She has accepted numerous independent work in the field even prior to1991, the date her private practice began and has received many benefits.   These are local, state and national for education institutions, business and industry, political, religious, publications, in and out of government.   Barbara Ann has published more than 200 papers, consulted with numerous groups, published alone or with other authors, more than 100 and three unpublished professional documents. (masters research)

Another association which has influenced her life is the American Association of University Women, a 50 year member which advocates for women and girls.  She has been a leader at the branch, state and national levels.    The Women’s Forum of N.C. provides women of proven influence and high personal achievement opportunities for strengthening personal development through exchange of information , expertise, ideas and experience, as well as a strong support network, She has been an executive director and is now a board membership as chair, membership chair and a 35 year member.        

Her religious contributions are many, being the first daughter of a country itenerate preacher.  She has been a deacon and chair of the Church Council.  She joined a 5-member group that travelled to Cuba 20 years ago where Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, to which she is a member, has a sister church in Matansas, Cuba.  The Alliance of Baptist to which her church belong have sister church relationships with Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, to which she plans to travel and teach nutrition, June 24- July 7.