Podcast Episode 152: The Power of Big Data & Opportunities for Nutrition Professionals

Jun 10, 2020

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Big Data: The Opportunity for Food & Nutrition Professionals

All aspects of food and nutrition are impacted by Big Data and its analysis, and to this end, dietitians must possess a deeper understanding of this field as well as the full potential of using these technology advances within the profession. If nutrition professionals can tap into the flow of information, the wide availability of Big Data can unlock possibilities for these professionals to positively impact consumer behavior change, improve nutrition and health outcomes, and elevate the role of the profession. During this podcast, hear from Dave Donnan, Partner Emeritus (Retired) with Kearney, a global management consulting firm, and an investor, advisor, and speaker on innovations in the food and consumer products industry and Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, Chair of the Academy’s Big Data Task Force on how Big Data and its use require a rapid evolution of dietitian skill sets to continue to provide unique value.

The Power of Big Data to Transform Clinical Nutrition Practice

While data is often looked at through the research lens in food and nutrition, the world of Big Data and its related technology and data analytics is showing how data can be used to predict trends, improve patient care and show the value proposition of nutrition services. During this podcast, Whitney Franz, MPH and Practice Transformation Program Director at L.A. Care Health Plan and Curt Calder, MBA, RDN and Clinical Informatics Analyst at Intermountain Healthcare will discuss the opportunity to leverage data beyond research as well as career opportunities for dietitians in the informatics field.

Tune in to this episode to learn about:

  • What is Big Data and why should nutrition professionals be interested in it and using it?
  • How can more engagement with Big Data and related technologies benefit the dietetics profession?
  • How has COVID19 influenced the use of Big Data and advanced analytics within the food industry?
  • How can dietitians leverage Big Data in their practice?
  • How can dietitians use data to show the impact (including financial impact) of their services as healthcare shifts to more value-based care models?
  • How do health plans/payers leverage big data to manage population health?
  • How is data being used to accelerate improvements in healthcare delivery? How is data being used to track trends and predict results?

David Donnan, MBA, P.EngDavid Donnan, MBA, P.Eng.  is a business leader and consultant with significant global experience in the agriculture, food and retail industries. During his career, Dave has run operating companies, managed food plants and consulted to leading global retail and consumer product companies in technology and supply chain strategies, and market positioning. He is a Partner Emeritus (retired) with Kearney, a global management-consulting firm, and ran their global food & beverage practice for ten years. He is also on the board of Naturally Chicago, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Rubicon Organics and a mentor to food entrepreneurs and startups at the Good Food Accelerator in Chicago. Dave’s MBA in Marketing is from the University of Toronto.

Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FANDAnnette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND is the President of Annette Maggi & Associates, Inc., a strategic nutrition marketing and communications consulting firm specializing in the interface between food manufacturers and retail grocers, and nutrition and regulatory issues.  Today’s environment revolves around serious health issues and implications; Annette Maggi & Associates, Inc. responds by taking a real and yet refreshing approach to creating and implementing infinitely stronger nutrition strategies that deliver results.  Maggi is a sought after resource in the nutrition and regulatory field with experience at Fortune 500 companies including Pillsbury, General Mills and Target.  Current clients include the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance, Dow AgroSciences, Jennie-O, Bayer, National Grocers Association, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation.  Maggi is recognized as a distinguished speaker and writer and has a reputation as a driven performer and partnership builder.  The company’s mission is to help food companies, retailers and related industries improve brand loyalty and increase sales by blending nutrition, regulatory and business sense to deliver credible and audience-right solutions.

Whitney FranzWhitney Franz is the Practice Transformation Program Director at L.A Care Health Plan, the largest public health plan in the nation with over 2 million members. She has over 10 years’ experience working in healthcare related fields, from direct patient care in the primary care setting as a Registered Dietitian – Care Manager at Johns Hopkins Health Care to leading Quality Improvement (QI) programs, like the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI). In her current role, Whitney works with healthcare delivery systems, clinicians, and practice staff to test and develop strategies that address the quadruple aim (better care, healthier patients, happier staff, and lower costs) and to ready these teams as local and federal policies drive the shift from volume (fee-for-service) to value-based care and payment structures. In 2018, Whitney began her tenure with the Nutrition Services Payment Committee (NSPC) at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where she is able to share her health system knowledge as it links to the practice of nutrition and dietetics. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) and Master of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition.

Curt Calder, MBA, RDN In his 30 years as a dietitian, Curt Calder, MBA, RDN has primarily worked in acute care at four hospitals; the past 23 years for Intermountain Healthcare. His first 11 years of direct patient care were mostly centered around intensive care and nutrition support, but he has also done private consulting, community nutrition, sports nutrition and worked as a Clinical Nutrition Manger. For 19 years he has worked in informatics, supporting users of the EHR.  Curt designed and supported a nutrition specific EMR used by all dietitians at Intermountain for 14 years prior to their adoption of their Cerner EHR.  He volunteered for 3 years and then spent 3 years as a paid consultant to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics working on the nutrition care process terminology and submission of that content to SNOMED CT and LOINC.  He also has served 17 years as the Executive Director for UAND – the Utah affiliate to the Academy.


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Informatics

New York Times: The Age of Big Data

Oracle: The Definition of Big Data

YouTube: Big Data will Impact Every Part of Your Life

Oracle: The Connection Between Big Data and AI

YouTube: Big Data 101

NutriFacts: Big Data and Nutrition in the Information Age

Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network (HCPLAN) 

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI): Model for Improvement | Triple Aim

National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): Tools and Resources for Research, Quality Improvement, and Practice

A California Improvement Network Lexicon: Fundamentals Concepts for Managing Risk and Understanding Total Cost of Care



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American Association of Diabetes Educators

Sound Bites is partnering with the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (formerly the American Association of Diabetes Educators)! Stay tuned for updates on the podcast, blog and newsletter!

nternational Food Information Council Logo

Sound Bites is partnering with the International Food Information Council! Stay tuned for updates on the podcast, blog and newsletter!


Music by Dave Birk

Produced by JAG in Detroit Podcasts


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