Meet the 2022 - 2023 Administrative Council
Catherine C. Coccia Ph.D., R.D. LD/N is an Associate Professor and Ph.D Program Director in the Department of Dietetics & Nutrition at Florida International University. Catherine has been a registered dietitian for over 10 years with experience working with children and families to improve health outcomes through proper nutrition. As a researcher, she has received federal and foundation funding for her research examining the role that parents and schools play on the health behaviors of children, adolescents and emerging adults, and has contributed to the development of several community-based interventions for diverse populations. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys gardening with her son, baking and spending time with her family!
Kelitha T. Anderson, MS, RDN, LDN is a wellness dietitian/nutritionist who feels everyone deserves to live well. As a workshop facilitator, Kelitha has provided wellness workshops for government employees which promoted mindful eating habits, physical activity, and disease prevention. Kelitha has also worked with non-profit organizations to create nutrition programs, “peer-to-peer” wellness workshops, and facilitate group nutrition courses. Serving wellness on a platter is dear to Kelitha’s heart. She believes in providing the tools needed for individuals to renew their eating patterns and reset their routines to make movement count.
Kelitha holds a Master of Science degree in dietetics and nutrition from Florida International University. As a Miami-based registered dietitian nutritionist and weight management specialist, she ultimately teaches how to live the "wholistic" life.
Haley R. Martin is originally from Blythe, a small desert town in Southern California. After earning her BS degree in Food and Nutrition from San Diego State University, Haley moved to Miami, Florida to pursue an MS degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University (FIU). Haley is now a Registered Dietitian and PhD Candidate at FIU in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition. Haley also works full-time as a research coordinator where she is pursuing her interests in nutrition and HIV infection. In her downtime, Haley enjoys playing with her dog, Peanut, going to the beach, and baking.
Christy is a Clinical Dietitian for the Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and nutrition division at the University of Miami. She works in an interdisciplinary setting to serve children and families both in Miami-Dade and Broward County with complex gastrointestinal and nutritional needs from neonatology to adolescents. She is an active member in the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). Part of her role is teaching pediatric nutrition to physicians and pediatricians in training. She is an advocate for nutrition equity and furthering the field of pediatric nutrition in the local community. On her spare time she enjoys running on along the beach, tending to her orchids and trying out a new recipe!
Lais is originally from Brazil and earned her Master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University. She is currently working at Baptist Health South Florida as a Clinical Dietitian and in private practice with a focus on weight management. With additional expertise in Communication, Lais also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with over ten years of experience. She has worked for TV Globo, the largest commercial TV network in Latin America, Veja Magazine, one of the most influential outlets of the Brazilian printed media, among others. If not in the hospital or in the office, you can catch Lais practicing yoga, lifting some weights before the sun hits the sky, or doing groceries at Trader Joe’s. She believes the body and mind are interconnected and tries to approach every situation with a holistic perspective… and a touch of humor.
Alesha Hall is a Clinical Dietitian III at Nicklaus Children's Hospital who specializes in Gastroenterology. Alesha received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from Florida State University, Masters of Arts in Food Studies and Food Culture from New York University, and a Masters in Public Health focusing on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from Florida International University. Alesha completed her Dietetic Internship from Pasco County Dietetic Internship in 2012. Alesha is licensed in the State of Florida, Texas, and Washington DC. She has experience working for the Miami-Dade County WIC and Nutrition program. Alesha has also worked at Nemours Children's Hospital where she implemented the Ketogenic Program for the Hospital in 2017 and was launched in 2018. Alesha also worked at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas where she worked as an Advanced Practice dietitian for the Gastroenterology department. Alesha plans to continue to hone in her skills as a Pediatric Dietitian and strongly believes that Health and Wellness begins with children.
Brandi Hyatt has been a practicing Registered Dietitian for over 21 years. She has served on the Palm Beach Dietetic Associations board and looks forward to participating in SFAND.
Legislation and Advocacy Chair
Natalie Castro is the Nutrition and Wellness Manager at Baptist Health South Florida. She oversees the food and nutrition policy for the organization, ensuring a healthier food environment for employees, patients and the community. Ms. Castro earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Florida International University and a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science with an emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy, from State University of New York at Buffalo. She is certified in adult weight management by the Academy of Nutrition. She counsels patients with digestive disorders through her private practice and runs the local support group, Gluten Free South Florida for individuals and families managing Celiac Disease. Whether it is as a patient advocate or when wanting to change a process, Ms. Castro is determined to take action and make her voice heard. Over the years her work has been published in several peer-reviewed medical journals. She was born and raised in Miami, she enjoys running outdoors and spending quality time with her husband and daughter.
Ioana received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. She is currently working at Nova Southeastern University as an assistant professor and the program director for the Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition. She is responsible for program operations, accreditation, and faculty oversight and facilitating student success. Ioana enjoys community-based projects, diabetes prevention, wellness, and nutrition education.
Community Action Chair
Lucette Talamas is a registered dietitian with Community Health at Baptist Health South Florida. She
holds a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition from University of Florida and a Master
of Science in Nutrition and Wellness from Benedictine University. With additional experience as a clinical
dietitian, Ms. Talamas enjoys providing practical nutrition information to promote healthy lifestyles that
can help prevent and manage chronic diseases. Her expert tips and advice have been featured in print
and broadcast media, including Miami Herald, South Florida PBS, CBS Miami, Telemundo and Univision.
In 2018, she was honored with the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Florida
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Social Media Chair
Nicole Vitale MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian with experience in clinical pediatric nutrition, and is a PhD student at Florida International University (FIU) in the department of Dietetics and Nutrition. Nicole was born and raised in South Florida and earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees from FIU. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Nicole was an early childhood educator with 13 years of experience in Montessori education. Her hobbies include spending time with friends and family, exercise, shopping, and going to the beach.
Alison Macchi, PhD, RD is originally from Venezuela and moved to the U.S. with her mother, who wanted to find better treatment and nutrition education for her recently diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes, and provide her children with a better future. Her mother’s diabetes diagnosis, and subsequent Bachelors degree in Dietetics, inspired her to pursue nutrition as well, ultimately receiving her RD and a PhD in Nutrition and Dietetics. Alison specializes in nutrition education, working within interdisciplinary teams to create programs aimed at increasing healthy behaviors among children, families, and food insecure communities. Currently, she is a postdoctoral associate with the MetA-Bone Trial, a research study looking to assess the effect of soluble corn fiber on calcium absorption and bone mass in adolescents. Aside from nutrition, Alison enjoys boating, exercising, and spending time at home with her husband and 3 dogs.
Ashley Carter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and co-founder of EatWell Exchange, a nonprofit that teaches low socioeconomic communities of color how to eat their cultural foods in a healthier way. With her nonprofit, they provide cooking classes, gardening workshops, and professional training to educate the nutritional value of foods from around the world and they have educated over 12,000 people. Ashley graduated from Florida State University with a degree in dietetics and a minor in religion. She’s currently pursuing her masters in clinical nutrition with a focus on health information and technology. Ashley has an eye for design and social media, she has been able to design content and create engagement to improve the EatWell page to 18k followers. She recently has begun managing additional nutrition pages to increase viewership as well. With her skills in nutrition, technology, and communication Ashley constantly finds ways to integrate our profession into various areas.
Gabriella is passionate about community health through nutrition and wellness education.
She is originally from Brazil and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration
at Florida International University. After working in real estate development in Miami, she
decided to pursue her interest in food and nutrition. Gabriella first established her own
specialty dessert catering business and later relocated to New York to work for the
Michelin starred chef John Fraser. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in dietetics
in Miami and is excited to serve on the SFAND Board as By-Laws Chair.