Marisa Santiago, RD, LND, EDPR, considered the first on staff retail dietitian in Puerto Rico for the Healthy Path Markets was named the Retail Dietitian of the Year by the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA). This award recognizes a retail dietitian who shows leadership in utilizing business skills and industry knowledge to positively impact consumer behavior change through the retail sector.
“Marisa was able to create and implement a winning strategy that includes education, marketing messages, community partnerships and innovative priced-right products to reach a broad base,” says Phil Lempert, CEO and president of the RDBA. “Her top down and bottom up innovative approach is serving her community and truly making a difference. We congratulate Marisa on her accomplishments and recognize her as an industry leader.”
“I’m honored to be named the RDBA Retail Dietitian of the Year,” says Santiago. “Balancing the business requirements with the investment requirements needed to break new markets while communicating and educating our community is a daily challenge that I find incredibly rewarding. Retail dietitians make an impact on health and wellness at a grassroots level and this award recognizes not only my efforts but the entire HPM team’s professionalism and vision: by turning our stores into an interactive dietary resource where customers have access to evidence based nutrition information.”
As part of her programming, Santiago created four key programs integral to the Healthy Path Markets strategy: In-Store Events, Community Events, Dietetic Internship Practice Center and Product Development Team. In addition to in-store health and wellness booths and attending community health fairs, Santiago created a partnership with one of the largest schools for dietitians in Puerto Rico where currently more than 20 students have participated in week-long programs as dietetic interns learning about being a retail dietitian.
As part of the Product Development Team, Santiago has helped launch 10 new products in the past year with 20 more scheduled. Furthermore, working directly with the purchasing department, the “Dietitian’s Pick” brand was created and is used monthly to highlight Healthy Shopper’s products that are easily incorporated into a balanced diet.
Santiago says RDBA has been a great source for career information and networking. “Being an in-store dietitian and being part of the various teams that create products, social media, budgets and more, RDBA provides me access to information and other RD’s so we can share ideas,” says Santiago. Santiago has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition/Nutritionist from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.