Professional Development and Research

Professional Development and Membership Teams

Alefiya Faizullabhoy, MBA, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, FAND (Webinar Chair) has more than 14 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and has been a Certified Diabetes Educator since the past 10 years. Alefiya has experience in the pediatric as also the pregnancy population. Currently, she works in a busy Endocrinology outpatient practice in a large New York based Health system. Her work with adults is focused on weight management in patients with pre diabetes and diabetes. Alefiya is passionate about promoting healthy food choices and disease prevention. She also teaches nutrition and diabetes wellness classes, precepts dietetic interns and allied health professionals interested in obtaining their CDE credentials. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling and dabbling in home renovation projects.

Mary Gray Hixson, MPH, RD, LDN (Resources Co-Coordinator) holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mary Gray is a Board Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management and has also received her certificate of training in Adult Weight Management. She serves as a dietitian supervisor and lead dietitian for UNC REX Bariatric Specialists, one of the leading bariatric practices in DS & SADS surgery on the east coast of the US. Ms. Hixson pioneered the practice’s standards of nutrition regimen and education.

Julia Axelbaum, RD, CSOWN (Resources Co-Coordinator) is a Registered Dietitian board-certified in obesity and weight management, is the Clinical Nutrition Director at Form Health, a telehealth obesity medicine startup. She studied Nutrition at New York University and completed clinical training at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Julia holds a Certificate of Training in Obesity Interventions and received the Weight Management Excellence in Emerging Practice Award in 2022. Her focus is on expanding access to obesity treatment, raising awareness of obesity as a complex medical condition, and empowering patients to control emotional eating and improve their relationship with food.


Research Team

Jane Sylvestre, MS, RDN, LDN, CSOWM (Research Briefs Editor) has been working with bariatric patients for over 14 years. She has received a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Texas Woman's University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She completed her dietetic internship at the Houston VA Medical Center in Houston, TX. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University and has published articles on bariatric surgery.

Shelly Summar, MSEd, RD, LD (Newsletter CPEU Editor) serves as the manager of Weighing In, a program at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, working to lead community collaboration to support healthy lifestyles. She has over 25 years of experience treating children and families for nutrition related issues. She received her undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences from Kansas State University and her Masters in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kansas. She also completed a Certificate of Training in Childhood & Adol Weight Management.


Jacob T. Mey, PhD, RD (Newsletter Assistant CPEU Editor) Dr. Jacob T. Mey, PhD, RD completed his nutrition and dietetic training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. He then pursued a PhD in Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he investigated skeletal muscle mechanisms in individuals with diabetes. Jake is now an Assistant Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center where he investigates human metabolism and nutrient utilization to better understand the role of food in health and disease. He is a passionate advocate for the RD profession and encourages all health professionals to be active members on social media.