2021 Visionary Award Recipients

Published by Feeding Matters on Oct 19, 2021

Feeding Matters will honor Jim and Jo-Ann Armstrong with its Visionary Award at the 9th Annual Community Event on November 5, 2021.

The Armstrongs have been integral supporters of Feeding Matters from its inception. The Armstrong Family Foundation was one of the organization’s first funders which allowed for critical early growth which opened the doors to future funding. Those were not the only doors the Armstrong family opened. The first office space that Feeding Matters called home came through Jim’s leadership and generosity. Several of the Armstrong family members have served in a leadership capacity including on the Board of Directors and as Lead Partner for Feeding Matters as part of a grant received from Social Venture Partners. Additionally, the entire family has continued to advise Feeding Matters over the years, and most recently, invested in the Power of a Name Campaign.

“When we first met leaders at Feeding Matters, we were appreciative of their mission and the energy they brought to addressing the need. They had a clearly defined strategy, and we were happy to be early financial supporters,” said Jim Armstrong. “We watched them grow from a start-up to the impressive and important institution they are today. We are thrilled with the success of Feeding Matters and congratulate them on the relief they have brought to thousands of families,” Armstrong concluded.

“The Armstrong family has been pivotal in allowing Feeding Matters to become what it is today,” said Jaclyn Pederson, chief executive officer of Feeding Matters. “We are forever grateful for their trust, leadership and support.”

Jo-Ann Armstrong has been an active figure in Phoenix philanthropy for decades. She is currently a board member of the Armstrong Family Foundation and the Kiita Foundation. Previously, she held board member positions with the Salvation Army advisory board and ASU’s ACES program. In addition to raising four children, she was instrumental in the development of JDA Software in its’ early years and has received many awards, such as the Paradise Valley Volunteer of the Year, ASU’s Outstanding Community Partner and the 2002 Sally Award from the Salvation Army. She has also served as a member of ASU’s Women and Philanthropy.

Jim Armstrong is the founder of JDA Software Group, Inc., (now Blue Yonder). He has served as CEO, director, chairman and co-chairman since founding the company in Canada in 1978. He is currently serving as director and President of JDA Investments (US), Inc. He has served on the board of directors for various companies. He is President and Chairman of the Armstrong Family Foundation, President and Chairman of the Kiita Foundation, and Director of the Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation. He has received numerous awards and honors including Arizona Software Association Business Leader of the Year, Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Ernst and Young Spirit of Philanthropy Award, Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year Award, National Society of Fundraising Executives Spirit of Philanthropy Award and Arizona Technology Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Feeding Matters’ Visionary Award was created to recognize an individual(s) or corporation who has exhibited passion and commitment to help further the advances in pediatric feeding disorders. This annual event will be livestreamed on a national stage, from Phoenix, AZ on November 5, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. AZ and 12:00 p.m. EST.

Register for the event or make a gift in Jim and Jo-Ann’s honor today!

The first PFD diagnosis in the US

Published by Feeding Matters on Oct 08, 2021

Families of children with pediatric feeding disorder around the United States have long struggled to advocate and explain their children’s struggle in part because there has never been a diagnostic code or name for PFD. That changed last week.

In collaboration with Desert Valley Pediatric Therapy in Arizona, Feeding Matters was connected with Easton and his mom Natalie. While Easton’s journey with PFD is not new, he is the FIRST child with an official PFD diagnosis, using the just-released ICD-10 codes. Hear from Easton’s mom about what having an official diagnostic code means to her and her family. We will follow Easton, and other families using the new codes, as they continue their journey with their official diagnosis of pediatric feeding disorder.

Feeding Matters is now gathering stories of families facing PFD. Celebrate the new diagnostic codes with us by reading these stories or sharing your own.


Published by Feeding Matters on Mar 01, 2021

We are excited to share with you our volunteer Medical Director for the 2021-2022 term, Dr. Richard Noel. We also would like to ardently thank Dr. Jaime Phalen, our previous volunteer Medical Director who served in many capacities to advocate for children with PFD over the past few years and remains a close advisor.

Our Medical Director, and all of our PFD Alliance leadership is committed to creating a world in which children with PFD thrive. Additionally, they support Feeding Matters’ philosophy that: we believe families are an equal and valued member of the treatment team and should be respected in this way; we view PFD as a multi-facet challenge comprised of 4 domains; we recognize the need for evidence-based practices; and we believe all sectors are influential and multiple perspectives are necessary to create a functional system of care.

Our CEO, Jaclyn Pederson, recently sat down with Dr. Noel to learn more about his passion for children with PFD.

Tell our feeding community a little bit about yourself. How did you come to practice GI medicine? How did you get involved with Feeding Matters?
As all medical students, I was exposed to all medical and surgical fields and found pediatrics to be the most fun and rewarding. Once in a pediatric training, I found pediatric GI to be the most interesting and decided to pursue additional formal GI fellowship training. It was during this time in Cincinnati that I was initially exposed to pediatric feeding disorder and aerodigestive diseases, both within programs that were the legacy of Dr. Colin Rudolph.

Upon completion of my GI training, I moved to Milwaukee to work with Dr. Rudolph where I learned much more about pediatric feeding disorder from Dr. Rudolph and the active group of interdisciplinary colleagues he organized. I met Shannon Goldwater and Chris Linn and became formally involved with Feeding Matters in 2010, following the initial involvement of Dr. Rudolph and other colleagues with the nascent stages of what grew to be this amazing advocacy organization.

How do you see the PFD consensus definition changing care for our children with PFD?
Feeding problems in children are not new and many have attempted to define them, typically from a perspective that is limited to their own field. Apparently disparate terms like dysphagia, malnutrition, ARFID, infant anorexia, all probably refer to similar things, but are limited by the narrow scope of practice of those who generated them.

The 2019 consensus definition organized by Feeding Matters is the first truly multidisciplinary construct that recognizes the many elements that form pediatric feeding disorder. Furthermore, this consensus definition is written according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), recognizing the disability that can accompany PFD, but has been poorly recognized in considering access to therapies and special accommodations by schools and other settings.

PFD is best managed by an interdisciplinary team where the family is primary. Based on your experience as a gastroenterologist, why do you feel a team-based approach is so important?
The nature of PFD is that relevant issues in a given patient may fall outside the scope of practice in a single discipline (i.e., a gastroenterologist may have expertise in issues relating to the upper GI tract of a child but does not have the same understanding regarding the mechanics of swallowing). It is by this necessity that team-based care is always best, whether in an interdisciplinary team at a large referral center, or a smaller group of specialists who work apart, but form a “virtual team” that can still address all relevant issues of a child with PFD.

What advice would you give the feeding community to help them access or provide optimal care for children with PFD?
Families of children with PFD need to be educated consumers who can push their providers to ensure all relevant needs are met. Do we need a referral to a psychologist? Do we need to enroll a dietitian who can help a feeding therapist broaden the choices of food with a given texture? Sometimes, it takes an educated family to push a provider to become better at managing a complex problem, such as PFD.

We have asked several questions about your connection to PFD. Please share something about yourself that we may find surprising, or we might not know.
I was born in Mexico City and Spanish was my first language. We moved to San Antonio, TX when I was 9 years old, and I always benefited from my family’s bicultural perspective on issues.

Hope and Trust

Published by Jaclyn Pederson, Feeding Matters CEO on Feb 02, 2021

Friends of Feeding Matters,

A new year, a new beginning, and a chance to dream. We were proud to share our 2020 milestones with you and we look forward to what the future holds. This journey, not unlike PFD itself, is a long one – so we must celebrate every good step forward along the way!

Hope & Trust have lately been constant themes on our 7-person team calls. We have so much hope for what 2021 will bring – for our families, our professionals, and our organization. And, trust is part of our team norms, simply stated: “we practice bravery and recognize the power of vulnerability”. This is no different than what you do day in, and day out as a family and professional. We know those steps towards progress can feel large and stressful, but we also want you to know you can trust yourself along the way and lean on us for some hope when that trust falters. We know that we are successful because of your trust in us.

So, as we start a new year, we re-commit to you to continue what we started. As we look forward to 2021, we hope you will continue to share your milestones, both large and small so we can celebrate them together. We hope you have a great 2021 and trust that together, we will move a few steps closer to our vision of a world where children with PFD thrive.

Jaclyn Pederson, MHI
Chief Executive Officer

2020, What a Year!

Published by Jaclyn Pederson, Feeding Matters CEO on Dec 29, 2020

2020, what a year!

In 2019, we were proud to share with you the publication of our paper declaring PFD a stand-alone condition -a catalyst for large-scale change and this year we were proud to share a HUGE next step in the journey to bring validity to this condition.

In August, we received word that pediatric feeding disorder will have its own diagnostic code in an upcoming edition of the ICD-10 manual —– meaning that physicians will be able to formally diagnose PFD and children will officially have this on their medical record.

In 2020 alone, we have expanded our support and educational materials for families, hosted our elite international PFD conference that reached all 50 states and over 34 countries providing evidence-based education on PFD, and achieved significant advocacy milestones.

In order bring PFD to the forefront, we need to support our claims with evidence. Therefore, this year, we published our 2nd phase of research on our Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire in the Journal of Pediatrics. This ground-breaking work opens the door for children to be screened for PFD so that we can prevent the long-term outcomes that occur when we don’t pay attention to this early enough.

Then, we were the catalyst to the research that showed that 1 in 37 children have PFD and even more significant – 1 in 3 to 5 children with a chronic disease has PFD.

We have also secured a formal proclamation naming December PFD Awareness Month from Arizona’s Governor Ducey and a few others states.

And lastly, we now know that PFD will be its own diagnosis which is the foundation that families need for better insurance coverage.

All of this happened this year, during a global pandemic. This is a moment to celebrate!

While it can feel odd to celebrate right now, it is so important to us to honor this success and all of the work from our entire community to achieve these efforts. We have momentum and we are not stopping.

We will be here after this pandemic.

This year’s accomplishments have a very personal meaning to all of our professionals and families.

We need you to continue this momentum with us. The time is now, to take your place at the table to help children with PFD by supporting Feeding Matters.

Please join us in creating a world in which children with PFD thrive. Your donation today directly supports the work we are doing to support families and professionals and to bring PFD to the forefront.


Join us in congratulating our Founder!

Published by Feeding Matters on Aug 18, 2020

Congratulations Shannon Goldwater
Founder and Emeritus Board Member

Since 2006, Shannon Goldwater has been a visionary leader, ardent supporter, and steadfast champion as Founder of Feeding Matters. Shannon’s story began in 2002 when her premature triplets required feeding tubes to survive and suffered every time they were fed. Her family’s harrowing experience fueled her determination to find comprehensive resources and support for her family and a relentless commitment to make sure feeding, something so fundamental to every child’s overall well-being and survival, will never be disregarded. Without a clear path, Shannon’s passion and ingenuity inspired Feeding Matters as a movement to fill an unmet need and create a world where all children with pediatric feeding disorder thrive.

During her 10 year tenure as Board Chair, Shannon’s dedication and vision resulted in significant progress in the field, including:

Shannon’s triplets are now thriving young adults, and she has seen Feeding Matters continue to cement itself as the world’s premier organization tackling pediatric feeding disorder. Over the past few years, she has been working with the Board to transition her visionary role and now we want to also cement Shannon’s proud legacy. The Feeding Matters Board of Directors and leadership is excited to name Shannon as our first Emeritus Board Member, a role that will see us continue to leverage her leadership and passion while also lighting the way for innovative new ideas.

Shannon says, “The best thing about founding an organization is not starting it, but rather seeing it thrive 20 and 30 years later and that is what I want more than anything because I know the best is yet to come.” This dedication is the reason Feeding Matters is at the forefront almost 15 years later.

“Shannon Goldwater’s unwavering commitment to Feeding Matters has proved truly invaluable to our success. From countless hours on storytelling and strategy to the innumerable resources we’ve been able to bring to our families because of her… Shannon has been the biggest supporter of our work and we are not only thankful, but excited for her to continue in this role.” -Rhonda Anderson, RN, DNSC(H) FAAN, FACHE, Board Chair.

Please join us in celebrating Shannon by:

  1. Learning. Take a few moments to learn more about Shannon’s story and some of Feeding Matters’ accomplishments over the years.
  2. Giving. Donate in honor of Shannon and her legacy.
  3. Sharing. Send us a picture, story, and/or words of encouragement to include in a book we are creating for her.

Economic Impact Report

Published by Feeding Matters on Aug 11, 2020

A single swallow requires the use of 26 muscles and 6 cranial nerves working in perfect harmony to move food and liquid through the body. When one or more pieces of the feeding puzzle are missing, out of order, or unclear, infants and children can have difficulty eating and drinking.

Children with pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) are more than fussy babies or picky eaters. For them, taking a single bite of food may be painful, frightening, or even impossible. As a result, they may severely limit their food choices or refuse food altogether, preventing them from getting the nutrition they need.

Applying the US Census Bureau’s 2017 population reports, early findings estimate that more than 2.3 million children under the age of 5 experience severe pediatric feeding disorder in the United States each year. Additional reports estimate that up to 25% of developmentally typical children and up to 80% of those with developmental disabilities have feeding problems.

Yet, there had been no studies to quantify the assorted costs, medical and otherwise, incurred by families navigating PFD. PFD is defined as impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate, and is associated with medical, nutritional, feeding skill, and/or psychosocial dysfunction.

Feeding Matters’ Economic Impact Study identifies the economic burden of PFD on families who have insurance. From medicines, supplies, and expert childcare to specialized education, travel to appointments, and lost time, managing PFD can come with significant economic costs to families. Furthermore, parents and caregivers – herein referred to as “caregivers” – may experience lost or decreased income due to time required for PFD care. This study describes those costs.

View the study.

Feeding Matters announces Chris Linn’s departure as President and CEO

Published by Feeding Matters on Feb 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

Chris Linn

It is with mixed emotions that the Feeding Matters Board of Directors announces Chris Linn’s departure as President and CEO. Since 2008, Chris has played a critical role in the development and success of Feeding Matters. We all will miss Chris but fully support her as she transitions to spending more time with her family as she and her husband guide their children as they navigate their adolescent years. During her tenure, Chris’s inspiring leadership and passionate service resulted in significant accomplishments, including:

  • Growing the organization from an Arizona start up to a reach of all 50 U.S. states and multiple countries.
  • Supporting the Founder’s vision by facilitating the process to have pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) declared as a stand-alone diagnosis in a peer-reviewed medical journal, a critical first step to ensure all children have an opportunity to thrive.
  • Collaborating with a multitude of partners from across the U.S. to advocate for a medical code for PFD with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If successful, this will open opportunities for insurance reimbursement, allocating research dollars to create best practices, and much more to ensure families have access to care.
  • Implementing the Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire that has provided an opportunity for earlier identification of PFD. The future goal is to have a version of the questionnaire available in all pediatric offices to screen for PFD.
  • Working with an incredible group of families, healthcare providers, insurance companies, government agencies, and others through Feeding Matters’ PFD Alliance to continue creating a system of care for infants and children with PFD.
  • Developing a phenomenal team of dedicated, passionate, and committed individuals who through Chris’s leadership have the expertise to continue the future growth of Feeding Matters.

We are conducting a search to find the new Feeding Matters President and CEO, and have selected an Interim CEO, Dan Lawler, who will work with Chris on a phased exit to ensure a smooth transition to a new leader. During this transition period, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead, while still maintaining a stable and effective organization.

We thank Chris for the 12 years of dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and inspiration she has provided Feeding Matters with over the past 12 years. She will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, PFD Alliance members, families, and partners alike. We look forward to supporting Chris as she transitions to being at home with her family.

As a mom to a child who struggled with PFD, Feeding Matters holds a very special place in Chris’s heart, and she looks forward to continuing to be an Ambassador for us. If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at

Rhonda M. Anderson, RN, DNSC(H), FAAN, FACHE
Chair, Board of Directors

View updated information here.

Feeding Matters Announces Interim CEO

Published by Feeding Matters on Jun 15, 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has selected Jaclyn Pederson as Interim Chief Executive Officer of Feeding Matters.Jaclyn, a member of the Feeding Matters team since 2013, is a visionary leader that has created a culture of innovation within our organization. She holds a Masters in Health Innovation and has been behind much of the success we’ve experienced to date.

As the former Vice President, Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Jaclyn has been instrumental in bringing pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) to the forefront as shown by some of her efforts:

  • Grew our family support program to meet families where they are in their journey.
  • Expanded the Pediatric Feeding Disorder Alliance to ensure collaboration with healthcare professionals, families, government agencies, associations, etc. to advance the system of care for PFD.
  • Facilitated the Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire research efforts that will eventually lead to an evidence-based screening instrument.
  • Facilitated the development of the Education, Advocacy, and Research strategies for achieving system changes.
  • Grew our International Pediatric Feeding Disorder Conference from a local PFD conference to an International must-attend event that reaches all 50 states and over 30 countries.
  • Steered the changes that Feeding Matters made to meet the needs of our families and healthcare professionals during COVID-19.

Jaclyn remains steadfast in her commitment and her pledge to carrying out our vision of creating a world where all children with pediatric feeding disorder thrive. That opportunity to thrive is every child’s right and one that every family should be able to pursue. Yet, sadly, in light of recent tragic events, we are reminded that is not the reality of the world we live in. PFD does not discriminate and this issue can impact any family. We continue in our commitment to reflection, education, meaningful action, and long-term sustainable change so that equity, diversity, and inclusion become ingrained in our work to change the system of care for children with pediatric feeding disorder.

Jaclyn will continue to collaborate with the Board of Directors as they determine next steps for the permanent CEO position within the next 90 days. We look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress.

  • Rhonda Anderson, RN,
    Board Chair
  • Craig WillisGovernance and Search
    Committee Chair

PFD Alliance Information

Published by Cuyler Romeo on Feb 27, 2020

The PFD Alliance is an open access community of professionals, families and community partners driven to further advances in PFD by accelerating identification, igniting research, and promoting collaborative care.

PFD Alliance at-large members receive PFD Alliance quarterly updates and are invited to participate in Digital Ideations, Symposiums and Town Halls to contribute input for future Alliance actions. Members also may join committees, serve as leadership, complete volunteer projects or give time as they are able through several levels of participation.

Alliance participation levels include:

  • The Executive Council: Members who serve in positions of leadership which include: Family Advisory Chair, Medical Director, Pillar Chairs, and Committee Leads
  • Pillar Committee Members: Members who serve on the active committees of the Alliance
  • Volunteers: Alliance members who engage in specific volunteer actions such as completing special projects or executing events.
  • At-Large Members: These members are engaged in the Alliance through communication, surveys, and invitations to our twice-yearly virtual meetings.

To ensure all aspects of care are addressed, we have organized efforts to fall under one of the four pillars within the PFD Alliance: Education, Research, Advocacy, and Support.  Although each pillar focuses on a specific area, the goals of each are aligned.

Build a workforce of qualified professionals to evaluate and treat pediatric feeding disorder. We will do this by impacting education that will result in better care, improved health outcomes and enhanced early intervention.

  • Conference Committee
    • The conference committee works to determine an evidence-based conference agenda along with a featured lightning talk. During the year, the committee works to ensure that the planning of the conference goes well and educational opportunities are of the highest caliber for attendees
  • PFD Educational Initiatives Committee
    • The PFD Educational Initiatives committee works to understand the educational needs of our feeding community while considering provider and client needs. The Educational Initiative committee strives to develop a professional network for information dissemination while advancing the community’s understanding of PFD across the four domains.
  • Resources Committee
    • The resources committee works to determine what partnerships need to be built with existing groups to provide more information around pediatric feeding disorder and how Feeding Matters can be the conduit of information. The committee also works to maintain the usability of our website as we investigate areas of improvement.
Grow a network of advocates, including respected clinicians, researchers, caregivers, educators, healthcare professionals, insurance providers and more to influence public policy and facilitate change to improve the lives of children with pediatric feeding disorder.
  • PFD Identity:
    • Partner with associations and other organizations to support the approval of the ICD
Ignite research to define evidence-based best practices that will lead to better care for infants and children with pediatric feeding disorder.
  • Small Grants Committee
    • The small grants committee assesses research needs, reviews applications, and grants dollars to researchers interested in moving the field of pediatric feeding disorder forward.
  • ICFQ Research Project
    • Research the ICFQ to determine if it can be a psychometrically sound screening tool for early identification
Empower families so that they are educated on PFD, equipped with resources, supported to advocate for their child, and to ensure their family receives the best care possible.
  • Family Advisory Council
    • The Family Advisory Council (FAC) advises Feeding Matters and the PFD Alliance on how to more effectively meet the needs of families navigating pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) – providing feedback on proposed policy, programs, initiatives, and strategic planning. FAC members have a wide variety of experiences with pediatric feeding disorder and represent the diversity of families impacted by PFD.
  • Power of Two parent coaching
    • Qualified family coaches who have first-hand experience with PFD are matched with families struggling to overcome the medical, emotional, financial, educational, and social issues often faced with PFD. Through shared experiences, Power of Two family coaches offer emotional support, compassion, resources, and guidance – reminding caregivers that they are not alone.
PFD Alliance Leadership, Committee members, and volunteers often participate in monthly calls, as well as leadership or committee specific actions which may include additional monthly meetings, Pillar Town Halls, Digital Ideation and Symposium participation. Most volunteer and leadership commitments require approximately 3-5 hours per month.