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ASN Health and Nutrition Policy Newsletter
Week of
February  11, 2019        
American Society for Nutrition Newsletter

February 2019
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Meetings
Funding Opportunities
International
ASN News
ASN Seeks Member Input on Ensuring Trust in Nutrition Science
The full report from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN)-commissioned Blue Ribbon Panel , " Best Practices in Nutrition Science to Earn and Keep the Public's Trust ", is now available online on The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 's  Advance Access page. The report shares recommendations for working collaboratively with various stakeholders across sectors and disciplines while maintaining transparency and scientific rigor to uphold trust. There is also an accompanying commentary by ASN's President, Catherine J. Field, " Ensuring Trust in Nutrition Science: Request for Stakeholder Input." Both will publish in the January 2019 issue of AJCN. An online Stakeholder Consultation is now open to all interested stakeholders on the ASN website to gather input on the recommendations and to help inform ASN's plans for implementation of the recommendations. The stakeholder consultation will end this Friday, February 15, 2019. Please click here to learn more and to access the Stakeholder Consultation questions. We would appreciate your help input on the recommendations, as well as on ASN implementation of the recommendations.
 
LAST CALL for Nutrition19 Abstracts!
With the reopening of the U.S. federal government, ASN has reopened abstract submission  for Nutrition 2019  through  February 15 ! We are pleased to allow additional time for researchers affected by the shutdown to share their science. Any investigator is welcome to submit an abstract during this special Last Call! Students and young investigators who are ASN members can also apply for abstract-based award competitions and travel funding opportunities as part of their Last Call abstract submissions. 
 
Abstracts submitted by the January 18 deadline are now locked and under review. A separate round of review will be held for abstracts submitted during the Last Call. ASN extends our deepest gratitude to the hundreds of ASN members serving as abstract reviewers. Your efforts help elevate the quality of science presented at ASN meetings. After the Last Call deadline, abstract submission will be closed and there will not be a late-breaking round for abstracts. If you have any questions about your abstract, the review process or the Last Call, please contact education@nutrition.org.
 
ASN Seeks Videos for Understanding Nutritional Science Competition
ASN wants to showcase videos highlighting your nutrition research! Enter the Understanding Nutritional Science video competition  by creating a short video (2 minutes or less) that explains the important nutrition research you conduct and how it benefits public health. Open to ASN members only! Deadline to enter is February 28, 2019. Prizes will be awarded! The first place individual / team (of up to 5 individuals) wins one-year membership to ASN and free registration to Nutrition 2019Learn more here: nutrition.org/contest  
 
Hearing on Open Access Publishing and Scholarly Pubs
ASN along with the American Society of Animal Science announce a meeting, Do We Need a Plan B for Plan S? The Impact of Open Access Publishing on Scholarly Publications and Scientific Societies.  This briefing will be held 
Monday, February 25, 2019 in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building from 12:00-1:00 pm and feature Dr. Teresa A. Davis Baylor, College of Medicine Dept of Pediatrics, and Dr. James Sartin, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.  In September 2018, a group of European funding agencies launched "Plan S," an initiative starting in 2020 that requires that scientific publications resulting from research funded by European funding agencies public grants must be published in Plan S-compliant open access journals or platforms. Scientific societies are evaluating the impact of Plan S on the societies' scholarly publications if Plan S or a similar open access policy were initiated in the U.S. To learn more about open access publishing, Plan S, and the potential impact of open access publishing models on scholarly publishing, RSVP to sohlhorst@nutrition.org.

ASN 2019 Science Policy Fellows Announced
The 2019 class of ASN Science Policy Fellows has been selected. Rebecca Hagedorn from West Virginia University and Jessica Soldavini, MPH, RD, LDN, from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, both doctoral candidates, will begin as ASN Science Policy Fellows on April 1, 2019. ASN conducted an interview with each Fellow. Click on each Fellows' name to read more about their policy interests!



Congressional Action
Second Government Shutdown Looms
On January 28, the staff from previously shuttered Federal agencies began to reopen computers, respond to correspondence, and fulfill normal activities, hoping to stay on the job in the future. For the most part, members of Congress have no appetite for another shutdown and early signs from the gang of 17 charged with finding a compromise on border security indicate great progress. Congressional leaders suggest a preliminary agreement will be shared this week with plans to vote on it and send it to the President before the February 15 deadline. Whether the President will sign a bill remains uncertain.
 
State of the Union
President Trump addressed the nation in his State of the Union speech on February 5 and described the strong health of the economy. He repeated his commitment to reducing the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs and announced an initiative to reduce the prevalence of HIV-infected individuals and cancer-burdened children. The commitment of new funds for cancer is only $500 million over ten years.
 
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chair, Senate Agriculture Committee recently announced that he "wants to revive the Senate bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization legislation that failed to become law in the 115th Congress." Senator Roberts will be retiring at the end of his term in 2020 and wants to return to S.3136 - Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 that he and the Ranking Member, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) shepherded through the Senate in 2016. The House did not accept this bill and no compromise could be reached. No bills on child nutrition have been introduced to date.
 
Health Insurance Coverage of Pre-existing Conditions
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has focused on health insurance and held a hearing on "Texas v. U.S.: The Republican Lawsuit and Its Impacts on Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions" to determine the potential impact on pre-existing conditions. A Texas federal judge ruled earlier that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. A subsequenthearing on "Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Reverse ACA Sabotage and Ensure Pre-Existing Conditions Protections" will be held on February 13.
 
Whole Milk Bill Introduced
House Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and other Republican co-sponsors introduced HR. 832 that allows unflavored and flavored whole milk to be served in schools through the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. The dairy industry has experienced economic hardship for several years and the recently proposed bill provides the industry new assistance. This new measure seeks to expand the school market for dairy products by allowing more forms of milk that had been restricted under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.
 
Congress Calls on DHHS to Investigate Potential Influence on Public Health Policy
A new study documented efforts by Coca-Cola executives to contact Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff regarding research on low calorie beverages which has been interpreted by some as an effort to shift the focus away from sugar-sweetened beverages as a major cause of the obesity epidemic. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CN), chair of the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) requested the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Inspector General to investigate these allegations further.
 
Senate and House Committee and Subcommittee Leaders Announced.
Committee/Subcommittee
Chair
Ranking Member
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Michael Conaway (R-TX)
Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Haley Stevens (D-MI)
Jim Baird (R-IN)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
 
Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Kay Granger (R-TX)
Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-GA)
Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rosa DeLauro (D-CN)
Tom Cole (R-OK)


Administrative Action
USDA Proposes to Restrict SNAP Waivers
Under current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) guidelines, those classified as able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) are eligible for three months of benefits in a three-year period unless they work an average of 20 hours per week. However, many states with high unemployment rates have been granted waivers that exempt these recipients from having to comply with the work requirement. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed limitations on states' ability to seek waivers, which would result in a reduction of ABAWD eligible for SNAP benefits. The USDA says the intent is to promote self-sufficiency and discourage lifelong dependence. The anti-hunger group, Food Research and Action Center claims that the new rule would eliminate SNAP eligibility for 755,000 unemployed and underemployed adults and cut SNAP benefits for $15 billion over 10 years. Comments on the proposal will be accepted through April 2
 
Minority Health and Health Disparities
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) has identified a new research course to improve health and reduce disease in populations that experience disparities. It is the culmination of a two-year process of scientific visioning with participation from scientists across the country. Published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), the findings include thirty research strategies to be implemented in the next five years. The vision is a country that provides equal opportunity for all populations to live a long and healthy life.   
 
USDA Selects New Leadership
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced three individuals for positions at the USDA. Dr. Mindy Brashears will be the Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, Naomi Earp is the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Dr. Scott Hutchins will act as Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. All three appointed were previously nominated by President Donald Trump for Senate-confirmed positions at USDA, but the nominations expired at the end of the 115th Congress in January. A Senate confirmation is not required for deputy positions. They will continue to work in these positions while they await confirmation of the re-nominations submitted to the 116th Congress. Senator Pat Roberts has planned to hold a confirmation hearing soon.
 
HHS Publishes 2019 Poverty Guidelines
Although the 2019 federal poverty guidelines went into effect on January 11, the publication in the Federal Register was on hold due to the partial government shutdown. The guidelines were officially published on February 1 and can be found here.
 
Ag Secretary Prepares for Possible Shutdown Feb. 16
USDA Secretary Perdue notifies states to be ready to distribute April SNAP benefits in advance if the government shuts down. During the 35-day previous shutdown, USDA issued March SNAP benefits early to avoid skipped benefits.  Perdue is also preparing to continue payments for other nutrition assistance programs. Congress has expressed opposition to another shutdown.
 


National Initiatives
NASEM Published Proceedings on Transgenic Neuroscience Research
Proceedings  from an October 4, 2018 workshop, Exploring the Scientific Opportunities Afforded by New Nonhuman Primate Models, highlights presentations that discussed the state of the science of transgenic and chimeric neuroscience research, and how emerging models may advance understanding of brain function and therapies for nervous system disorders. The Proceedings also summarizes workshop discussions that examined current tools and technologies used in rodent models and how they may translate to use in nonhuman primate models; considered bioethical principles and issues related to genetic engineering of nonhuman primate models for nervous system disorders; and discussed policies and infrastructure needed to advance research in this domain.
 
SNAP-Ed Toolkit Available
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) provides a toolkit designed to help SNAP-Ed programs identify and implement obesity prevention strategies. These interventions are essential in providing evidence-based obesity prevention to low-income households experiencing health disparities. All SNAP-Ed implementing agencies, researchers, and practitioners are eligible to submit interventions for review by March 1 at 5:00PM EST. Decisions will be announced on May 10.
 
NAS Presents 2019 Public Welfare Medal
Agnes Matilda Kalibata will receive the 2019 National Academy of Science Public Welfare Medal for her notable achievements as an agricultural scientist and policy maker. As President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, she has worked to promote a sustainable and food-secure Africa. Prior to joining AGRA, she was Rwanda's Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, where she transformed the agriculture system and helped lift more than a million Rwandans out of poverty.
 
Food and Beverage Industry's Role in Nutrition and Obesity
In November, the Access to Nutrition Foundation published the first U.S. Access to Nutrition Index that evaluated the ten largest U.S. food and beverage companies on their efforts to promote a healthier diet and lifestyle. They were ranked on corporate nutrition strategy, marketing tactics, distribution, worksite wellness, and more. Recently, a conversation between two Senior Program Officers at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was released addressing the important role that these companies play in helping kids and families eat healthier. Topics included how current practices affect the nation, positive improvements in corporate practices, and what is needed in the future to truly make an impact on the health of the nation.
 
San Francisco Beverage Law
The Federal Appeals Court blocked a San Francisco beverage law, passed in 2015,requiring beverage advertisements in the city to post health warnings that drinking sugary drinks contribute to health issues. This law was part of an effort to reduce consumption of sweet beverages and combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.  The court found the law " violates constitutionally protected commercial speech."
 
Groups Begin to Focus on Dietary Guidelines
According to Politico, leading consumer groups have begun to collaborate with the food industry and to urge that the next version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on limiting portion sizes. The message emerged in a letter from the National Consumers League, Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Action, with support from key food industry groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Frozen Food Institute, American Beverage Association, National Confectioners Association, Sugar Association and the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance. Announcement of the members of the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is pending, according to informal conversations with USDA staff. 


Meetings
NIH ODS Dietary Supplement Research Practicum
The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) will hold the Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum in Bethesda, Maryland from May 29-31. Learn all about dietary supplements and the importance of research in evaluating these products from experts in the field. The practicum is offered to faculty, graduate students, and research practitioners. Applications are due by February 28, 2019.
 
Trust for America's Health State of Obesity Briefing
On February 27 from 12:00-1:30 PM ET in Washington, DC, Trust for America's Health (TFAH) will host a Congressional briefing on The State of Obesity 2018: Better Policies for a Healthier America. Listen to speakers from TFAH, CDC, Boston University School of Medicine, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation about obesity trends, innovative approaches, and the importance of prioritizing efforts to build healthier communities. RSVP here.
 
USDA's 95th Agricultural Outlook Forum
Attend the 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum, the largest annual meeting of the USDA, on February 21 and 22 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA. This year's theme is "Growing Locally, Selling Globally". Keynote speakers include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, as well as the agriculture leaders of Canada and Mexico. Find out more information and register here.
 
National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference
Registration is now open for the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference on February 24-26 in Washington, DC. Learn about federal nutrition programs from policy experts and Capitol Hill staff. The event is sponsored by Feeding America and the Food Research & Action Center in cooperation with the National CACFP Forum.
 
National Food Policy Conference
The 42nd Annual National Food Policy Conference is scheduled for March 14-15 in Washington, DC. This year's conference will address policy in the context of the current political climate and emergent food and technology trends. Register here.
 
Webinar: Applying Law and Policy Solutions to Public Health Challenges in the Coming Decade
On February 20 at 12:00 PM ET, attend a webinar by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to learn about the role of policy in creating a healthier nation. Topics that will be covered include the Law and Health Policy Project, development process for Healthy People 2030, and efforts by cities nationwide to address current health challenges. Register now.
 
Meeting Webcast: The Secretary's Advisory Committee for Healthy People 2030
On F ebruary 26 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET, register  for the next meeting of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 (Committee). The Committee will continue its deliberations regarding the Nation's health promotion and disease prevention objectives and develop recommendations regarding the proposed Healthy People 2030 objectives.
 
Elevating Ag, Accelerating Food
Attend the National Association of State Department of Agriculture (NASDA)'s 2019 Winter Policy Conference, Elevating Ag, Accelerating Food February 25-27, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. Network with individuals across the food and agriculture industry, and join us for interdisciplinary discussions on emerging legislative and regulatory issues from insightful leaders. View the agenda online.


Funding Opportunities
Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program
Apply for a grant to support students training for master's and doctoral degrees in food, agricultural and natural resource sciences and Special International Study or Thesis/Dissertation Research Travel Allowances. Awards are intended for programs with students pursuing degrees in USDA mission area. Learn more and apply here. Deadline is February 12.
 
FFAR New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is accepting nominations for the 2019 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award, supporting research that promotes innovations in sustainable agriculture and increased food availability. FFAR will grant up to ten awards of up to $600,000 (including matching funds), over three years. Nominations are due February 28 by 3:00 pm ET. Institutions may submit up to two nominations; self-nominations are not allowed.
 
Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)
The purpose of the BRAG program is to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing into the environment genetically engineered organisms (GE). Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. Learn more and apply here. Deadline is February 27.
 
Ag Voices of the Future Program
The American Soybean Association (ASA) is now accepting applications for the Ag Voices of the Future program, sponsored by Valent USA. This program is for young people interested in improving their understanding of major policy issues that impact soybean farmers, the importance of advocacy, and careers that can impact agricultural policy. The Ag Voices of the Future class will be held in conjunction with the ASA Board Meeting and Soy Issues Briefing, July 22-25, 2019, in Washington, D.C. To apply for the Ag Voices of the Future program, visit the AFA website, click on the green "Apply Now" button, and submit an online application by March 13.  


International
Ireland's Updated Healthy Eating Guidelines
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published updated Healthy Eating Guidelines on healthy eating, food safety, and food legislation. This guide is meant to support health professionals, catering services, and food business in providing healthy and safe food to consumers and information to help consumers make more informed food choices. It offers practical advice to the Irish people on how to eat to promote health and prevent diet-related diseases.
 
Lancet Report on "The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change"
On January 27, the Lancet published a report suggesting that three epidemics - obesity, undernutrition, and climate change - constitute a "Global Syndemic", or synergy of epidemics. The report, summarized in this Vox article, finds that these crises are interrelated and must be addressed to ensure the long-term survival of humankind. The author calls for an international treaty, like the United Nations' Framework Convention on Tobacco Control established in 2005, outlining solutions to these global systemic problems.
 
Common Food Policy for Europe
A report released by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) announced a vision for reforming European food systems under a Common Food Policy. The goal is to change the way food policies are made and realign contradictory policies currently affecting food production, processing, distribution, and consumption. IPES-Food envisions a more democratic and sustainable food system that will restore public trust in the EU. A total of 80 proposals were put forth, including creation of an EU Food Policy Council, developing Healthy Diet Plans and EU-wide restrictions on junk food marketing, and increasing support for initiatives linking farmers and consumers.