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Oklahoma State University

Nutritional Sciences grad JoAnn Millsap Pegues makes a lasting impression

JoanSince graduating with a degree in nutritional sciences in 1961, Jo Ann Millsap Pegues has been making a difference in the lives of untold thousands of people. The registered dietitian’s career has been focused on instituting nutrition education in federal programs for the elderly with the goal of emphasizing the importance of nutrition in preventive and acute care for this vulnerable population.

She completed a dietetic internship in 1962 and earned a Master’s in public administration in 1982 from the University of Colorado at Denver where she and her husband Sam reside Millsap Pegues spent thirty years at the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging. She was a regional nutrition specialist, advancing to program specialist, state liaison, chief of program development, acting regional program director, team leader and trainer. Through these roles, she monitored nutrition programs for the elderly, provided technical assistance to state units on aging and tribal organizations in the Department of Health and Human Services Regions VIII and IX and served as liaison to several state units on aging.

During this time, she also served as the president of the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition and president of the Colorado Dietetic Association. Her professional accomplishments and outstanding service to the dietetics profession led to the highest award the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics can give – the Medallion Award. She received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the College of Human Sciences at OSU in 2003. The Girl Scouts of Colorado named her a Denver Woman of Distinction in 2009.

Millsap Pegues officially retired from a career as a registered dietitian nearly a decade ago, but stays active, giving cooking demonstrations at schools, churches and the Center for African American Health in Denver. She recently published a cookbook “Simple, Soulful, Savory: Healthy Family Recipes,” a self-published compilation of sensible advice.

by Leilana McKindra