Idaho Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in Action: Sue Stillman Linja, RDN, LD and SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD

During 2017, the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will be highlighting our members and what they do as the ‘Nutrition Experts’ for our great state of Idaho. Today we are recognizing:

Sue Stillman Linja, RDN, LD and SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD



As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, what do you do?  

Sue Stillman Linja, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, specializing in geriatric nutrition.  Sue has spent the past 25 years of her nutrition career working with those living the later years of their lives, both individuals in pursuit of nutritional health and longevity and those at life’s end.  Nutrition and aging is her passion.

Sue graduated from the University of Idaho in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics in 1988 and has spent the majority of her years as a business owner – providing much needed contract nutrition services to a variety of health care entities, most prominently those specializing in geriatrics.  She possesses expertise in nutrition consulting for skilled nursing facilities, senior congregate meal settings, hospitals, psychiatric homes, assisted living, home health, corrections, ICF-DD facilities and physicians’ clinics for outpatient education.  As her business grew, Sue never lost her focus on the effects of food and dining on quality aging.  One of her continued passions has been working with geriatrics in the long term care facilities – in the capacity of nutrition services director, clinical dietitian, health facility surveyor and dietitian consultant.  

In addition to creating and implementing quality nutrition and menu services for her clients, Sue and her business partner also provide contract work for more than 50 dietitians in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas  and Utah.  Sue has been widely sought as a speaker for nutrition and aging seminars in the northwest and has worked on multiple nutrition publications and articles on this topic.  She thoroughly enjoys meeting and working with her clients, especially those living into their 8th, 9th and 10th decades of life.  Sue learns valuable life lessons from every person of age that she is fortunate enough to meet.  

SeAnne Safaii, PhD, RDN, LD is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Idaho. She is a nutrition communications professional, a registered dietitian and educator. SeAnne joined the University of Idaho faculty in 2008 after nearly 15 years working at the State Department of Education. Since coming to UI, she has served on various committees, including Faculty Senate, University Budget and Finance Committee and Benefits Advisory group for over two years and has written grant proposals collaboratively to fund various nutrition interventions.  She and her team have received one NIH grant for the development of a virtual diabetes world. She currently teaches dietetic students both in Boise and CDA where they learn to use innovative technology in her classes in order to collaborate, teach and provide medical nutrition therapy to a variety of audiences. She also serves on other committees such as Idaho Medical Home Collaborative, Idaho Telemedicine Committee and is past president of the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

SeAnne has published in various research journals and authored textbook chapters. She loves sharing nutrition information in the media, writes for three newspapers, makes appearances on local television networks and has a series on the eHow Network. She is often a sought after nutrition expert for media stories. SeAnne’ s love of technology and nutrition has helped her focus her research on the use of virtual worlds for nutrition and diabetes education. She and her colleagues have developed a virtual world for individuals with diabetes where they can socialize, play games, share recipes and other tips for diabetes management. She has also become a national leader in the use of simulation in teaching Medical Nutrition Therapy to dietetics students and is currently working on integrating nutrition services into primary care. Her most recent endeavor is to study the dietary habits of centenarians from the US, Japan, Italy and Singapore.

This year, Sue and SeAnne are releasing a guide based on their research to prevent Alzheimer’s. 

The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide: A Quick Nutritional Reference to Foods That Nourish and Protect the Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease” (Callisto Publishing, 2017)


How will this book benefit Idahoans? 

We are hopeful that this book will provide some optimism for those people who have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or who are otherwise wishing to minimize their modifiable risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s Disease. There are currently over 25,000 Idahoans with AD and the numbers are growing.  We believe there is a way to lessen the risk through improved diet and this book provides the framework for a brain-healthy diet. 

Here is an excerpt from the book’s Introduction (following some personal stories about the Authors’ moms who have Alzheimer’s Disease):

Our experiences are personal, but unfortunately they are not unique to us. Alzheimer’s disease statistics in the United States are staggering: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease, and this number is on the rise. Today, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and although deaths from other major diseases have decreased significantly in the last decade, Alzheimer’s deaths have increased by 71 percent. Given that there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, medical communities are looking to prevention to slow down these alarming increases. Exercise, diet, and brain activities all show great preventive promise. In light of our interests and expertise, this book focuses exclusively on the food, nutrition, and diet component. Although the benefits of brain-healthy eating are important for all types of dementia, this guide focuses on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Food as medicine has been an important doctrine in countries and cultures around the globe for centuries. A nutritious diet can not only help prevent chronic disease, it is also often used as a treatment for disease. We know, too, that unhealthy diets can have devastating effects on the human body. They can exponentially shorten lives and are the root cause of many common diseases in the world today.

This is the first and only detailed food guide written to assist you with making brain-healthy dietary alterations and incorporating mind-nourishing foods into your diet—all without making drastic changes. This guide will modify the way you think about the foods you eat and give you ways to fortify your brain. You will learn:

*Why diet can protect against Alzheimer’s disease

*How healthy and unhealthy foods affect your brain

*Which foods-more than 100 of them-you can incorporate into your diet, and why they are beneficial

*How easy it is to add brain-healthy foods to your daily meal plan. 

As dietitians and researchers, we have spent a great deal of time investigating the links between diet and Alzheimer’s disease. Cutting-edge research continues to explore the fascinating science behind nutrition and cognition, and further exploration will result in even more compelling dietary recommendations. For now, that this guide can be used by those of you who are interested in pro- moting a healthy brain and preventing or delaying cognitive decline as you age. Please join us on our journey to marry nutrition science and optimism in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.


*The book is currently available for pre-sale on Amazon! Click here:


To find an Idaho Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in your area, please click here

*Posted by Rachelle Ausman, RDN, LD, CHC (Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Social Media Chair)
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