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

March 2019
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Funding Opportunities
ASN News
First 2020 DGAC Meeting Announced
The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will hold its first public meeting on March 28 and 29, 2019Starting March 19, 2019 the public will be able to register at DietaryGuidelines.gov to attend the meeting in person or via webinar.  
ASN applauds the selection of 20 highly qualified scientists to serve on the 2020 DGAC and is pleased to note that 17 of the 20 appointees are members of ASN, including ASN President-Elect Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD; past Presidents Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, and Teresa Davis, PhD; and Board member Heather Leidy, PhD. All professionals selected bear outstanding credentials in their respective fields and are recognized by their peers for their scientific expertise and service in their professional communities. The full list of ASN members selected for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee includes: 
  • Jamy Ard, MD
  • Regan Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD
  • Lydia Bazzano, MD, PhD
  • Carol Boushey, PhD, MPH, RD
  • Teresa Davis, PhD
  • Kathryn Dewey, PhD
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD
  • Steven Heymsfield, MD
  • Ronald Kleinman, MD
  • Heather Leidy, PhD
  • Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD
  • Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, RD
  • Rachel Novotny, PhD, RDN, LD
  • Joan Sabaté, DrPH, MD
  • Barbara Schneeman, PhD
  • Linda Snetselaar, PhD, RD
  • Linda Van Horn, PhD, RDN, LD  
Connect with The Fed @ Nutrition 2019
Nutrition 2019 provides investigators at all career stages with invaluable opportunities to interact with representatives from federal agencies. Want to learn more about federal nutrition research funding opportunities? Or, get the skinny on the peer review process with a Scientific Review Officer? Meet the people behind the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey? Connect with the Fed program highlights include:
  • Federal Funding Opportunities
  • The NIH Peer Review Process: What You Need to Know
  • The Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research
  • FDA's Nutrition Innovation Strategy and the Updated Nutrition Facts Label
  • Updates from Leaders of the FDA's CIFSAN, the USDA's NIFA and Office of the Chief Scientists of the USDA
  • Update from USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: From the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to MyPlate - Find out what's new!
  • New Physical Activity Guidelines and Other News from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Workshop: Using National Dietary Data: Building Blocks to Expand Your Research Portfolio
  • And more!
Office hours also will be held for attendees to sign up for individual and small group discussions with nutrition research program officers.  Don't miss these unique opportunities tailored specifically for nutrition scientists! More details
Congressional Action
Congressional Focus on Child Nutrition Begins
The House Education and Labor Committee Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee announced plans to hold the first hearing on child nutrition, "Growing a Healthy Next Generation: Examining Federal Child Nutrition Programs," on March 12 at 10:15 a.m. in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. As reported before, the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act expired in 2015, when no resolution of the disagreements between Senate and House bills could be reached. The annual appropriation bills have continued the child nutrition programs. The hearing is available for online viewing.

New Legislation Proposes Changed Basis for SNAP Benefits
Representative Alma Adams (D-NC) and 106 House cosponsors have introduced H.R. 1368, legislation that will alter the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits be based on the Low Cost Food Plan, instead of the Thrifty Food Plan, thus boosting the value of the benefits. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-RI) and 10 co-sponsors introduced a similar measure in the Senate, S. 677. This legislation would also raise monthly SNAP benefits to $25 which is important for seniors, increases benefits for families and children with high shelter costs and permits higher medical deductions for seniors and persons with disabilities.
In a House Agriculture Committee hearing, several Committee members raised concerns about the proposed work requirements for SNAP recipients to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, after the Senate and House passed the 2018 Farm Bill that had purposely dropped that provision. After this hearing, USDA issued a press release to defend its position to clamp down on states' ability to secure waivers from existing work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (aka ABAWDs).
Efforts to Improve Health Insurance System Continue
The Senate and House are working on several measures to improve the health insurance system. A bipartisan group of senators led by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) along with Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are developing legislation to stop patients from receiving unexpected medical bills while in the hospital for services provided by "out-of-network" practitioners. A second set of bills will try to shore up the problems with the Affordable Care Act.
Global Health Innovation Act Signed Into Law
In February, Congress approved and the President signed into law the  Global Health Innovation Act . This Act aims to support the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)'s efforts to develop innovations that are affordable and appropriate for the most vulnerable populations in global health. This law also requires USAID to report to Congress annually on the development and use of global health innovations in USAID programs, projects, and activities, including how USAID is leveraging U.S. investments to achieve great health innovation and how these innovations advance USAID's commitments to reach global health goals.
Administrative Action
President Trump's Fiscal Year 2020 Budget
Release of the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget is expected to be in two parts: the budget messages, summary tables and priorities issued on March 11 and the detailed budget on March 18. Early rumors suggest a five percent cut across all departments and agencies except defense. Budget details will appear in the next ASN policy brief.
NIH Update on Efforts to Address Sexual Harassment in Science  
National Institutes of Health (NIH) leadership issued a  statement to provide the public with its plans to increase efforts to address sexual harassment in science among NIH-funded academic and medical organizations. This statement follows NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins' condemnation of sexual harassment in September. NIH is currently taking steps to address the issue of sexual harassment both intramurally and within its grantee community : 1) Demonstrating accountability and transparency, 2) Clarifying expectations for institutions and investigators to ensure a safe workplace and inform the agency, and 3) Providing clear channels of communication to NIH. The agency is currently surveying its employees on workplace climate and harassment and launched The Working Group of the Advisory Council to the Director (ACD) on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment. The WG met for the first time and plans to issue interim recommendations this June on its assessment of sexual harassment reporting procedures at NIH-funded organizations and suggesting system-wide changes to culture and climate to prevent sexual harassment at NIH-funded institutions, among others . The WG final report is due in December 2019.
USDA Informs Staff about Plans for ERS and NIFA moves
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue met with Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) staff to share plans for which staff will remain in the Washington, DC area and which will leave the area for a destination not yet identified. For the ERS, 76 positions, without specific staff names, will  remain in the DC area, while an estimated 200 positions will be relocated. Most likely, some staff will elect to leave the agency rather than move. A review of the positions  remaining in the DC area indicates that 14 of the 76 top leadership positions are associated with food and nutrition issues, as reported in the Hagstrom Report.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Resigns
A surprise to most of Washington, DC was the announcement that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb plans to resign in March. Gottlieb has continued many of the nutrition initiatives (i.e., menu labeling and labeling added sugars on food packages) begun during the Obama Administration and has commenced several important initiatives, including the  Nutrition Innovation Strategy that addresses nutrition education on the new nutrition labels, defining and labeling "healthy" foods, and revising rules on food standards of identity. The Commissioner, in an interview with Politico, avowed that "The nutrition agenda, and what we do to try to use nutrition as a vehicle to try to reduce the burden of chronic disease in this country, is a key part of the agency's overall approach to public health. I don't see that changing."
USDA Releases New MyPlate Toolkit
The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) released a new toolkit, Start Simple with MyPlate , that provides tips, ideas and a personalized plan to meet food group targets. These educational materials will help families plan meals within their food preferences, health goals, and budget. 
FDA and USDA Reach Final Agreement on Cell-based Meat
FDA and USDA recently  announced the final agreement on regulating cell-based meat, an emerging food technology that has not yet entered the market. After much external debate and conflict that held up the FY 2019 Appropriations bill for USDA and FDA, this  formal agreement appears to receive strong support from cattleman, technology innovators, consumer groups, and members of Congress. USDA and FDA leaders spent countless hours in a series of public meetings and internal negotiations to construct the framework for collaboration between regulators at FDA and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. The two agencies will continue to pursue "joint principles" for labeling these new products.
FDA Seeks Comments on Assessing the Effects of Food on Drugs
FDA requests public comments on a  draft guidance , "Assessing the Effects of Food on Drugs in Investigational New Drug Applications and New Drug Applications--Clinical Pharmacology Considerations; Draft Guidance for Industry; Availability" for industry. This guidance makes recommendations to sponsors planning to conduct food-effect trials for orally administered products as part of investigational new drug applications (INDs), new drug applications (NDAs), and supplements to these applications. Comments are due by  April 29, 2019.
NIH Seeks Input on Institutional Accountability to Promote Diversity and Inclusion
The NIH Office of Strategic Coordination issued an  RFI seeking input on Institutional Accountability to Promote Inclusive Excellence. The purpose of this RFI is to obtain information and guidance on the development of an NIH Common Fund program that would employ a cohort model to foster retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds at the faculty. Comments are due May 16, 2019.
The Economic Impacts of Breastfeeding: A Focus on WIC
USDA ERS found that increased breastfeeding rates among Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants in 2016 would have increased total WIC program costs but would have reduced Medicaid and other health-related costs to WIC households and their health insurance providers. A two-page ERS summary of The Economic Impact of Breast Feeding: a Focus on USDA Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is available, as well as the full report.
ERS Releases New App on State Data
The ERS State Fact Sheets provide information on population, income, poverty, food security, education, employment, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and agricultural exports. Data are available for all 50 states, and for metro/nonmetro breakouts within the states. Links to county-level data are provided where available. This release provides the latest available (2017) U.S. and state-level per capita income, earnings per job, and education statistics.
CDC Reports FY 2018 Funding Data
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted FY2018 funding data and jurisdictional profiles on itCDC Grant Funding Profiles site. The profiles provide quick access to information about CDC funding provided to health departments, universities, and other public and private agencies in U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia. This report includes the FY18 data and data summaries regarding the value of vaccines purchased through the Vaccines for Children program instead of providing these data separately.  
NIH Study Finds Great Disparity in Maternal Mortality
A new analysis of California hospital records by NIH and Stanford University School of Medicine found that racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity have persisted and increased at high rates among U.S. women. The study found highest morbidity - life-threatening maternal complications - among non-Hispanic black women, followed by non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women, non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander women, and Hispanic women. During the study period, severe maternal morbidity increased roughly 170 percent for each group. 
Call for Nominations for U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is calling for nominations of individuals qualified to serve as members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The Task Force panel is comprised of national experts from the fields of preventive and primary care, such as internal and family medicine, behavioral health, nursing, obstetrics and gynecology, and more. They are responsible for making evidence-based recommendations about preventive services to improve the nation's health. The nominations deadline is May 15th, with appointment beginning January 2020.  
National Initiatives
NASEM Releases Updated DRIs for Sodium and Potassium
On March 5, 2019 the National Academies released the report  Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Sodium and Potassium. Members of the expert committee presented  report highlights in a webinar, sharing conclusions and the DRI values for sodium and potassium. " The report reaffirms the sodium AI for individuals ages 14-50, decreases the sodium AIs for children age 1-13, increases the sodium AIs for adults ages 51 and older, and decreases the potassium AIs for individuals age 1 and older. The report also uses guidance from a 2017 National Academies report to introduce the first DRI specific to chronic disease risk reduction. The committee established a Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake (CDRR) for sodium using evidence of the beneficial effect of reducing sodium intake on cardiovascular disease risk, hypertension risk, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. Reductions in intakes that exceed the sodium CDRR are expected to reduce chronic disease risk within the apparently healthy population. For individuals ages 14 and older, the CDRR recommendation is to reduce sodium intakes if above 2,300 mg per day. The committee also established a sodium CDRR for children ages 1-13.  The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure that was used to inform the sodium tolerable upper intake level (UL) established in the 2005 DRI report is part of the evidence base that informed the CDRR."
NASEM Begins Consensus Study on Leading Health Indicators
The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health requests that NASEM convene an ad hoc committee to assist in the development of Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) for Healthy People 2030. The committee will develop recommendations regarding the criteria for selecting LHIs and a slate of LHIs that will serve as options for the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup to consider as they develop the final criteria and set of LHIs for Healthy People 2030. 
FASEB Offers Animal Research Requirements Webinars
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has organized a pair of webinars with the Council on Governmental Regulations (COGR) that will explore both the institutional and scientist perspectives on regulatory requirements associated with animal research. Streamlining Institutional Requirements for Animal Research will air on Monday, March 18 at 2:00 pm ET and Understanding Federal Vs. Institutional Requirements for Animal Research will air on Monday, March 25, at 2:00 pm ET. Click HERE to register for both.
TFAH Holds Hill Briefing on State of Obesity Report
Trust for America's Health (TFHA) hosted a congressional briefing on the State of Obesity report findings and recommendations that were released in September 2018. Slides from the speakers can be found here. Speakers discussed trends in obesity rates among various groups as well as effective policies and programs to address the crisis. TFHA has also issued a new analysis showing that "more than 150,000 Americans - the most ever - died from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicide in 2017." The analysis recommended several policy actions to prevent deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide.
NJ Bill Addresses College Student Hunger
The New Jersey Assembly has passed Bill 4702, which addresses hunger on college campuses and awaits the Governor's approval. This bill requires designation of a campus staff member to assist students in enrolling in SNAP and enabling students to use SNAP benefits at campus stores.
National Anti-Hunger Groups Take Priorities to Congress and the Administration
During the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, co-sponsored by FRAC and Feeding America, over thousand advocates visited Capitol Hill to discuss priorities for the 2020 budget and appropriations ; the harms of the proposed SNAP rule ; the need to protect and strengthen anti-hunger programs ; raising the minimum wage ; and improving refundable tax credits . A new FRAC brief analyzes why SNAP benefits are inadequate, reviews the body of research showing positive effects from more adequate SNAP benefits, and concludes with some of the key policy solutions that can improve benefit adequacy. FRAC has also provided a comment platform and model comment for individuals who oppose a proposed USDA SNAP rules change  that ignores the Congressional opposition to this proposal in the 2018 farm bill. The deadline for submitting comments is April 2. 
New Analysis of Impact of Public Charge
ASN member and ASN Science Policy Fellow mentor, Dr. Sheila Fleischhacker, teamed with Dr. Sara Bleich on a perspective published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior that discusses the proposed Public Charge Rule's implications, particularly for those with professional interests in promoting effective nutrition education and healthy behavior through research, policy, and practice among individuals who will potentially be affected.  The proposed rule would deny lawfully present noncitizens a path to citizenship if they had participated in certain federal safety net programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm Eastern

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 
10:00-11:00 am Pacific/1:00-2:00 pm Eastern

Webinar 2 of the Weaving a Lactation Care Safety Net Series: "Navigating Organizational Change for Breastfeeding Success"
Thursday, March 14, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm Eastern

HINTS Data Users Conference
May 22-23, 2019
DoubleTree Hotel, Bethesda, MD
Late-breaking poster abstracts due March 20, 2019. Please visit the abstract submission section of the conference website for more information and to see a description of the various conference tracks.

NASEM Roundtable on Obesity Solutions: A Health Equity Approach to Obesity Efforts
Monday, April 1, 2019
NAS Building, 2007 Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC

March 20 and 21, 2019
National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

June 23-26, 2019
Arlington, Virginia 

Systems for Action National Coordinating Center Integrating Behavioral Health with TANF to Build a Culture of Health
March 27, 12:00 pm ET
Funding Opportunities
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET
USDA E-Star Training Grant
Application Due: June 2, 2019
Grant information available here
USDA Innovative Training Grants
Application Due: June 2, 2019
Grant information available here
PolicyLink 2019 Summer Internship Program  
PolicyLink operates a 10-week, paid summer internship program for continuing graduate students (master's or doctoral) in public policy, urban planning, and related fields. Review the PolicyLink 
website  to learn more about each internship and how to apply. The deadline is March 15.
Scholarships are available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) for students at all levels of study, including undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs, dietetic internships, and NDTR programs applications for the 2019-2020 academic year. Click here for full eligibility requirements. The AND Foundation awarded $534,670 to 234 deserving students for the previous academic year. 
ACPM to Fund Hypertension Protocols using EHR Data
The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) released a request for proposals to increase physician awareness and practices to prevent, detect, and control hypertension among priority populations, and refer patients with hypertension or at high-risk for hypertension to community evidence-based self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) programs with clinical support and other related evidence-based lifestyle change programs. The deadline for submissions is March 30.
FFAR Seeding Solutions Funding Opportunity
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Seeding Solutions 2019 grant program is accepting pre-proposals. Seeding Solutions 2019 will fund projects with potential for significant agricultural advancements related to one of FFAR's six Challenge Areas . It is encouraged that applicants speak with the Scientific Program Director prior to submitting the pre-proposals, which are due April 19.
BUILD Health Challenge launches new funding opportunity
The BUILD Health Challenge is looking to support up to 17 innovative U.S. collaboratives that include a community-based organization, hospital or health system and a public health department working together to address upstream challenges and drive sustainable improvements in community health. Each award includes up to $250,000 in funding over 2½ years, coaching and support services, training and capacity building, participation in a national network of peers, and the opportunity to spotlight work on a national level. Applications are due April 5, 2019.  

International Research Team Finds Correlation Between Genetics and Obesity Is Modified by Diet
New  research   from the USDA Human Nutrition Laboratory in Boston examined a gene-diet interaction to identify an epigenetic mark-a genetic feature not directly governed by the genetic code-that is associated with saturated fat intake. Looking at biochemical, physiological and genetic processes involved in this gene-diet interaction, Dr. Jose Ordovás and his international colleagues found individuals with the genetic variant APOA2 consume more food and have a higher Body Mass Index. 

Understanding the Double Burden of Malnutrition
The International Symposium on Understanding the Double Burden of Malnutrition for Effective Interventions was organized in December 2018 (Vienna, Austria) by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), jointly with WHO and UNICEF, in response to the rising double burden of malnutrition (DBM) and in support of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. More than 460 representatives from 89 Member States and 21 organizations attended the symposium which covered the DBM, using a life stage approach that considered aspects of epidemiology, biology, assessment, interventions and policy implications. A dedicated session on the role of food systems in the DBM highlighted successful examples of regulatory interventions in Chile and Mexico positively impacting the DBM. The symposium also served as one of the venues to launch the 2018 Global Nutrition Report as well as a new IAEA Doubly Labelled Database containing human energy expenditure measurements. Visit the nutrition section of the IAEA's Human Health Campus for video streams of the sessions, pictures and other symposium material. 

Reinforcing the Collective Mindset for Nutrition in Liberia
On February 1, 2019, Liberia held a Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and undernutrition (REACH) Stakeholders Meeting in its capital city Monrovia, which brought together a diverse set of high-level actors from the government, United Nations, civil society and the Embassy of Ireland. Among the participants were the SUN Government Focal Point, Assistant Ministers and Directors from four different line ministries (Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Education and Health), the UN Resident Coordinator, Country Representatives of UN agencies active in the UN Network (UNN), the UNN-REACH Facilitator, a representative from the UNN-REACH Secretariat and the Chairman of Liberia's Civil Society Alliance.