Your journey to better health starts here!
While there is no silver bullet to achieving your health goals, we can help you set goals towards consistent success.
Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can provide you with a nutrition roadmap to help ensure
that you are staying on track in your pursuit of wellness as a lifestyle.
Meet Our Dietitians
Looking to go beyond the “dieting” mentality and find personalized guidance in losing weight or managing cholesterol, blood pressure, and/or diabetes? Curious how many calories your body actually needs? Training for a big race and need assistance to properly fuel your workouts? Our in-house Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are ready to develop an individualized plan just for you!
Alexandra AlfordMS-MPH, RDN, LD | Community Dietitian
Alex supports the comprehensive nutrition care of Open Hand's clients and partners, providing Medical Nutrition Therapy in a clinic setting to individuals battling chronic disease. She also provides nutrition services at various worksites, via telenutrition, and in-home settings. Alex focuses on delivering nutrition services across the lifecycle, with a strong emphasis on serving senior citizens. She also researches and develops educational tools to support clients' nutrition-related lifestyle and behavior changes and provides group nutrition and healthy lifestyle education to clients and in the overall community.
Michelle Dakota KuntzMS, RDN, LD | Community Dietitian
Michelle delivers nutrition, health, and culinary education in a variety of settings: monthly senior nutrition classes, Open Hand Cooking Matters courses, our Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, one-on-one nutrition education, and cooking demonstrations. Michelle also provides individualized Medical Nutrition Therapy, a more intensive nutrition intervention involving diagnoses, counseling, and therapy to treat or prevent a variety of chronic conditions. She’s a star on Open Hand’s internal Wellness Committee and oversees the teaching garden – engaging, educating and enriching the Atlanta community by promoting access to nutritious local food.
Kristen AveraMS, RDN, LD, CDCES | Community Dietitian
Kristen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist licensed since 2014. She worked in Greenville, SC doing outpatient nutrition counseling as well as employee and community health and wellness programming. Kristen moved to Atlanta in January of 2019, and has worked as a diabetes and nutrition educator with the Diabetes Association of Atlanta, working primarily with seniors in the area. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist - CDCES (formerly Certified Diabetes Educator – CDE) and utilizes her expertise frequently with our Open Hand clients.
Julie ShipkoskiMS, RDN, LD | Director of Quality Assurance & Compliance
Leads our Quality Program, including food safety, human safety, customer satisfaction, product standards, productivity and regulatory compliance. With 20 years of experience in the food and health industry, including the Shepherd Center, Grady Memorial Hospital, and over a decade of product oversight at Open Hand, Julie acts as the Subject Matter Expert with regard to food and nutrition, safety, and quality. Julie received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition with summa cum laude distinction from Georgia State University, where she also completed the Combined Dietetic Internship and Master of Science Program and was awarded the Sara M. Hunt Clinical Excellence Award for displaying outstanding performance in the clinical setting. Julie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a Licensed Dietitian, a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, certified in Childhood & Adolescent Weight Management, and a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the Food & Culinary Professionals, and Healthy Aging Professionals Dietetic Practice Groups.
Caitlin BransonMS, RDN, LD | Quality Control Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Caitlin works cross-functionally with Open Hand Atlanta’s operations staff and community stakeholders to drive and ensure product quality and consistent customer satisfaction. With customer feedback and her understanding of kitchen operations, Caitlin utilizes her experience and knowledge of menu development and nutritional analysis to constantly improve our menu offerings. Prior to joining Open Hand, she had over a decade of experience working with Fulton County Schools, Georgia State University (GSU), Marriott Autograph Hotel & Fifth Group Restaurants and Earth Fare. Caitlin received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the Didactic Program in Dietetics from GSU, where she also completed the Master of Science Program in Nutrition. Caitlin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a Licensed Dietitian, and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, School Nutrition Association, and School Nutrition Services Dietetic Practice Group.
Laura SamnaddaMS, RDN, LD | Director of Nutrition Services
Laura leads Open Hand Atlanta’s and Good Measure Meals’ nutrition services program development and delivery. In the field of nutrition since 2009, Laura joined Open Hand in December 2018. She developed the team’s telehealth initiative and is currently coordinating our service expansion across Georgia. Additionally, she is a Master Trainer for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), implements Cooking Matters programming, leads our internal Wellness Committee, and has coordinated many partnerships with health systems, health plans, and other community-based organizations. She has presented at conferences for Meals on Wheels of America, National Council on Aging’s Age + Action Conferences, and for the Food is Medicine Coalition. She is an active committee member and advocate for the Food is Medicine Coalition and The Root Cause Coalition. Laura brings excellence in project management and innovation to all of our service offerings.
Isn’t “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” just a Longer Name for “Nutritionist?
We get this question a lot, and because we're proud of our team, we wanted to have our answer posted publicly!
The terms "Registered Dietitian Nutritionist" and "Nutritionist" are actually very different. There's no regulation of the term "nutritionist." Anyone is able to use that title regardless of their education, background, or training; and there really are no technical requirements, licensure, etc. for the title “nutritionist.” For example, a person may freely use the title after simply completing a weekend course or a 3-month online certification.
On the other hand, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are licensed health care providers. They are nutrition professionals who have gone through many years of education and 1,200 hours of supervised training in Medical Nutrition Therapy. RDNs must pass a rigorous national certification exam, and they are required to keep up-to-date with continuing education credits to maintain their certification.
10-minute Introductory Nutrition Consultation
Need help figuring out where you should start? Have a specific nutrition question? Schedule a free nutrition consult with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists! This no-strings-attached support session will guide you to the right resources and get you moving in the right direction.
Comprehensive Nutrition Consultation
- Your nutrition and health assessment
- Goal-setting plus education and support: your road map to success!