February 11, 2015

Letter from the Director


I was very pleased to publish our first Pregnancy Disease Incidence Prevention (DIP) chart last week. I got a lot of feedback from partners and associates. Here is a letter that really hit home with me:


Dear Carole,

      Wow!  You are putting into action what needs to be done to change our infant mortality rate and reduce the frequency of autism. The chart for the OB's and pediatricians is awesome.  It says a lot.
       We, the US, now stand at about 50th rank in infant mortality, head high with Croatia.
 We should stand head high with Japan, who has one of the best records with child births.
        That is the goal. Just maybe, we can change the mindset of the medical profession about the true value of nutrients.    


What great feedback! That is the idea behind GrassrootsHealth. We want to provide you with easy to use tools and scientific evidence that you can take to your community to effect change. Something like this Pregnancy DIP chart when given to all local OBs and community health centers can change the paradigm.


Please let us know if there are other tools that would be useful for you to take to your community, your workplace, and your friends. The reason grassroots works is because word of mouth from a friend is more effective than a web site, an article, or an ad on TV.


Help us reach our goal!

As you know, GrassrootsHealth also likes to take a leading role in scientific evidence about vitamin D. Last week we let you know about a paper we want to publish to bring attention to the inadequate RDA of vitamin D. Four scientists on our panel have authored a letter that uses previously published data from the GrassrootsHealth cohort to argue that the recommended RDA should be 7000 IU/day to get 97.5% of our population to 20 ng/ml. We would like to publish this letter with open access and are seeking your help to fund the $1500 cost. Last week you responded and our publishing fund is at $458. Will you help get us to the end? Every amount helps.




Carole Baggerly 

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Video of the Week 



Vitamin D and Public Health Practice


Watch Now 


Mary Pittaway, registered dietitian and public health nutritionist, has been involved in public health for 35 years, serving state and county governments, non-profit and private organizations. She received her BA at Holy Names College in Spokane, completed a dietetic Internship at UW- Harborview Medical Center and earned her MA in Communication at University of Montana. She's led many public health nutrition programs including Montana's WIC program, the launch of community sustainable agriculture efforts, osteoporosis prevention, population based breastfeeding promotion, obesity prevention and nutrition intervention for people with IDD.  


Pittaway is currently the Global Clinical Advisor for Health Promotion with Special Olympics International. She also teaches at the University of Montana Department Of Health And Human Performance


Pittaway starts her talk by explaining how the Missoula Health Department looks at the community. Instead of looking at a lab report and diagnosing one person, they looked at epidemiology reports to spot trends. They frequently referenced the parable of the "upstream story" and asked themselves how they could benefit people upstream - at the source of the problem - rather than focusing only on the symptoms. And when implementing policies, they took into account the needs and cultural influence of the community. What might work in Missoula, Montana might not work in New York City!


After explaining the life of a public health official, Pittaway goes on to explain how she has gotten the community of Missoula energized about vitamin D. Some tools she created, some she leveraged off the Internet. How did she convince the staff? How did they get the doctors involved? After much work, Missoula doctors now check vitamin D levels yearly for their patients. Residents know their vitamin D level and its importance to good health and disease prevention.


Much of Pittaway's presentation focuses on tools - which ones work and which don't. She ends with an African proverb - "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together." This has been her passion - to get everyone in the community educated on vitamin D so the community could reap its health benefits together.


Watch Now 

Grassrootshealth Customer Service 


Welcome Candace Leenheer, our new customer service representative! She started with GrassrootsHealth at the beginning of 2015, so if you have needed help - you have probably communicated with her. She lives in San Diego and is a mother of 4-year old Kalani. She learned about GrassrootsHealth last fall and started volunteering for us in November 2014. In addition to working for GrassrootsHealth, she also goes to school at Mira Costa College, taking classes in organic chemistry to move toward a doctorate in naturopathy. Candace has a BA in political science from Evergreen State College, Washington.


Fun facts:


Hobbies - hiking, outdoors and reading (she stays away from screens)

Favorite animal - Siberian white tiger  

Favorite food - Korean food

Favorite song - Take you to Church, Hozier

Favorite book - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams


What does Candace do?


Most of Candace's job is to help the participants of D*action. They may call or email with questions. She is responsible for making sure their participant data is entered correctly, checking the blood spot cards, and processing the cards.


She also answers many questions about vitamin D and can help navigate our web site. When on the phone, she guides people to videos from our video archive section to help answer their questions. She recommends videos because they are easy to understand and cover a myriad of topics.


One of the most memorable things she has done on the job so far is to actually help someone prick their finger! They came into the office to receive help processing their blood spot card and so she stepped in. What a demonstration of her wonderful "can do" attitude.


What is working for GrassrootsHealth like?


Candace enjoys working for GrassrootsHealth because it falls in line with the health paradigm she wants to lead. She loves that GrassrootsHealth has analytical data at its core. She likes working to help a worthy cause.


Last December, while still a volunteer with GrassroootsHealth, she was able to attend the seminar - Vitamin D and Public Health. She enjoyed that seminar, meeting all the scientists, the partners, and visiting the exhibits. That experience helped kick-start her knowledge and fueled her need to see more data and hear more research.


In the future she expects to use this information in her daily practice when she becomes a naturopath. It will be the first thing she does - to check vitamin D levels (and other nutrients) of all her patients.  


 Editor's Letter 


Thank you for being part of GrassrootsHealth. For joining D*action. For donating. We are almost 1/3 of the way to our goal of funding our latest paper. This paper will highlight the methodological errors in the IOM's calculations. It is a big step for vitamin D advocacy. We can't keep having doctors recommend 400 IU/day and worry about anyone taking over 2,000 IU/day.  


We have data - from 7,000+ D*action participants - that we can reference. This data validated the NOAEL (No adverse effect level) of 10,000 IU/day that even the IOM approved. This paper shows that if the US really wants to get 97.5% of the population to 20 ng/ml - then the RDA should be 7,000 IU/day! This paper will be a wake-up call.


Please help us fund this effort!   


Share this newsletter with friends. Every little bit helps. We send this newsletter out to over 8,000 people - so if many of you fund with $20 today - that will make a difference.


Help the vitamin D action group - share this newsletter - make a small donation.


Thank you,


Susan Siljander       

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & 


Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.
Help us reach our goal!


Fund a publication confirming the IOM was wrong in their 600 IU/Day RDA.

Call to public health officials to designate 7000 IU/day as the RDA.

A minimum of $1500 is needed to fund this publication.



Sign the petition

Be part of the grassroots effort to push for a re-evaluation of the RDA for vitamin D


Every signature counts!

Sign Here   

Vitamin D for Public Health Seminar

December 9-10, 2014

La Jolla, CA


Vitamin D and Public Health Practice

Mary Pittaway, MA, RD

Missoula, Montana

Watch Now

Watch Interview
Do You Need a Vitamin D Supplement to Maintain Ideal Levels

Interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Robert Heaney


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You can prevent disease if just one more person finds out about the preventative properties of vitamin D and starts moving their blood serum levels to 40-60 ng/ml. 

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