ASN Health and Nutrition Policy Newsletter
Week of
February 8, 2018       
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Funding Opportunities
ASN News
ASN Launches Understanding Nutritional Science Video Competition
The Understanding Nutritional Science competition promotes the creation of short videos that will ultimately help the lay public to better understand and evaluate hot topics in nutrition science. This video competition will increase awareness about the amount of false nutrition information in the media and provide the general public with tools that will encourage them to investigate nutrition information they come across in a scientific manner. Open to ASN members only: undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, medical interns, residents, or fellows, and early career professionals. Deadline to enter is February 28, 2018. Learn more online, including contest rules and guidelines: nutrition.org/contest.  First place receives free registration to Nutrition 2018!

ASN Comments on NASEM Sodium and Potassium Panel
ASN sent a letter requesting balance in the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine's (NASEM) review of the Dietary Reference Intakes for sodium and potassium. The Society also submitted a list of clinical health professionals that could provide additional perspective to the panel discussions.

Congressional Action
President Reports on the State of the Nation
In an almost 90-minute speech before the joint chambers of the US Congress, President Trump presented his views of economic growth, infrastructure, immigration, and international affairs; however, he did not mention education, research nor innovation. The speech did not outline any specific policy initiatives but highlighted examples of Americans sacrificing for their country. The President's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal is rumored to be released on Monday, February 12th.  
Senate Leaders Agree to Raise the Caps!" To say "Congressional Leaders...."
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have agreed on the basics of a two-year budget p lan to raise the Budget Control Act discretionary spending caps by approximately $300 billion for both defense and non-defense for the remainder of FY 2018, through FY 2019, with a provision to raise the debt limit until after the 2018 elections. This bill would increase funding for the military above $80 billion in FY 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019. Domestic funding around $63 billion in FY 2018 (the new cap is $579 billion) and $68 billion in FY 2019 (the new cap is $597 billion) will be provided for medical research, community health centers, combating the opioid epidemic, and infrastructure projects. The summary also noted that the budget caps agreement includes a commitment to provide "$2 billion for important research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (above the CURES Act increases) over two years."
Certainty of Funding for FY 2018 Remains Unclear
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hinted at what is to come regarding FY2018 funding in remarks on the Senate floor. Referencing the budget caps deal, he said the appropriations committees will now have to rewrite all 12 of the FY 2018 spending bills to reflect the new spending levels specified in the budget caps deal before reaching a final FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. In the meantime, the House and Senate approved the budget caps deal + another "continuing resolution" (CR) to support the government at FY2017 levels through March 23rd. This deal also removes the need for discussions to raise the debt ceiling until 2019. Although passing four continuing resolutions appears to be a lot, in 2001, Congress approved up to 21.

Additional Bills Raise Possible Provisions for 2018 Farm Bill
Although the 2018 Farm Bill is likely to propose reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through provisions that require able bodied recipients to work or drop from the program, new legislation has proposed additional benefits go to active military personnel. Both the Blue Star Families and MAZON have urged the Agriculture Committee to incorporate the Military Hunger Prevention Act, H.R. 1078 , sponsored by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA). The bill would exclude from determinations of SNAP eligibility the value of housing allowances provided to military personnel. The Department of Defense does not collect data on the use of federal nutrition programs by military personnel, according to the Government Accountability Office.
New Leader at the Department of Health and Human Services
The Senate confirmed Alex Azar by a vote of 55-42 with support of several Democrats and only Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) opposing the nomination. Secretary Azar is a lawyer and formally oversaw drug pricing as President at Eli Lily USA. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Secretary and also general counsel. More details of his nomination appear in the January 22 issue of this Policy Brief.
House Legislative Efforts to Adjust Menu Labeling Requirements Begin Again
Last session, the House of Representatives approved the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act that would delay and weaken implementation of the national menu labeling law (which requires chain restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores with 20 or more outlets to label calories). The House will soon vote again on this same bill (H.R. 772) that delays implementation of the menu labeling rules, which are set to become effective May 2018. To assist pizza restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new draft guidance for menu labeling, answering industry questions about how to comply. Some disgruntled players continue to seek legislative relief.
Administrative Action
USDA to Discontinue SuperTracker
As of June 30, 2018, the
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will discontinue SuperTracker including the Challenges and Groups, Food-a-pedia, Body Weight Planner, and the electronic versions of the President's Champions and PALA+ programs. Since the launch of SuperTracker private sector tools have launched with a shared mission. USDA stated, "It is time for us to discontinue SuperTracker so that we can invest in more modern and efficient ways to help Americans find a healthy eating style that is right for them." SuperTracker has had 27 million users over the 6 years it was operational.
All of US Still Accepting Research Ideas
The All of Us Research Program is
still accepting research questions , or "use cases," to guide development of its platform and future versions of the program protocol. The deadline to submit ideas has been extended to February 23, 2018.
USDA Announces Farm Bill Priorities
While the USDA does not get to determine what is in the Farm Bill, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the Department's priorities at a town hall in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Below is a summary of the nutrition-related priorities:
  • Food, Nutrition, And Consumer Services
    • Support work as the pathway to self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility for individuals and families
    • Strengthen the integrity and efficiency of food and nutrition programs
    • Encourage state and local innovations in training, case management, and program design that promote self-sufficiency and achieve long-term, stability in employment
    • Assure the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process through greater transparency and reliance on the most robust body of scientific evidence
    • Support nutrition policies and programs that are science based and data driven with clear and measurable outcomes for policies and programs
  • Research, Education & Economics
    • Commit to a public research agenda that places the United States at the forefront of food and agriculture scientific development.
    • Develop an impact evaluation approach, including the use of industry panels, to align research priorities to invest in high priority innovation, technology, and education networks. 
    • Empower public-private partnerships to leverage federal dollars, increase capacity, and investments in infrastructure for modern food and agricultural science. 
    • Prioritize investments in education, training and the development of human capital to ensure a workforce capable of meeting the growing demands of food and agriculture science.  
    • Develop and apply integrated advancement in technology needed to feed a growing and hungry world.
  • Marketing & Regulatory Programs 
    • Safeguard our domestic food supply and protect animal health through modernization of the tools necessary to bolster biosecurity, prevention, surveillance, emergency response, and border security.
    • Protect the integrity of the USDA organic certified seal and deliver efficient, effective oversight of organic production practices to ensure organic products meet consistent standards for all producers, domestic and foreign.
  • Food Safety & Inspection Services
    • Protect public health and prevent foodborne illness by committing the necessary resources to ensure the highest standards of inspection, with the most modern tools and scientific methods available.
CDC Director Resigns
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald has resigned as the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)   , after a story broke citing her purchase of shares in drug, food, and tobacco companies while the director of CDC. Anne Schuchat, M.D. , was named acting director.

USDA and FDA Announce Collaboration on Food and Biotech Oversight
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced a formal agreement at the White House aimed at making the oversight of food more efficient and effective by bolstering coordination between the two agencies. The formal agreement outlines efforts to increase interagency collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness on produce safety and biotechnology activities, while providing clarity to manufacturers.

FNS Releases First Mobile App with Food Buying Guide 
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its first ever mobile application , putting critical information at the fingertips of food service professionals and making it easier for them to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals through FNS's child nutrition programs.

Comment Request - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Waivers
The USDA is requesting comments on waivers establishing a time limit of the receipt of benefits under SNAP for certain able-bodied adults who are not working. As required by the statute, in order to receive a waiver the State agency must submit sufficient supporting information so that USDA can make the required determination as to the area's unemployment rate or insufficiency of available jobs. Comments are due March 26th.
FDA Released Five More FSMA Documents
The FDA is still releasing
guidance and rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA). The rules released focus on Foreign Supplier Verification, Public Health Protection, and Preventive Controls for Human Food.

National Initiatives
NAS Workshop Proceedings - Nutrition Intake Recommendations
The National Academies of Sciences have released the workshop proceedings from their "Global Harmonization of Methodological Approaches to Nutrient Intake Recommendations" meeting. The Food and Nutrition Board, in partnership with the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development of the World Health Organization and the Nutrition Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, convened a workshop to explore the evidence for achieving global harmonization of methodological approaches to establishing nutrient intake recommendations in September 2017.
Food Policy Action Changes and Report
Celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio, is leaving Food Policy Action's board. Food Policy Action also recently released their annual "
State of the Plate " report which discusses regulatory reforms from the previous year.
PCRM Promoting Healthy Staples for SNAP Recipients
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is promoting a plan called "
Healthy Staples ." It is similar to the WIC food package and would limit foods that SNAP recipients can purchase to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and multi-vitamins.
FoodCorps and School Food Focus Merge
FoodsCorps, which is a branch of AmeriCorps, " will bring School Food Focus into its existing operations ." School Food Focus has used large school food systems to leverage purchases of healthy foods. They also focused on organic foods and foods without ingredients they have deemed possibly harmful.

From Biology to Behavior: A Cross-Disciplinary Discussion Surrounding Sugar and Sweetener Consumption
The George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, in conjunction with the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness, the GW Food Institute, and the GW Institute for Corporate Responsibility, is hosting a cross-disciplinary seminar series on the topic of sugar and sweeteners. The seminar series will provide a neutral forum for discussing and critically evaluating approaches to lowering added sugar intake, in a manner that facilitates representation of a range of diverse stakeholder perspectives. The series will focus on unanswered questions and potential unintended consequences relevant to lowering added sugar intake on a population level and is set up to bring together opposing perspectives in presenting key controversies and spurring debate amongst experts in the field. The seminar series will take place on: February 22nd, March 22nd, and April 26th. All seminars will be open to the public and registration is free.All seminars will take place at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, 950 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Room B100A, Washington, DC 20052 from 3:30-6:00pm. Register here via Eventbrite.
Federal Budget & Appropriations Process 101: What Researchers Need to Know
The budget for the NIH and other science agencies is determined each year by the executive and legislative branches of government. On
February 13th 2:00-3:00 pm ET, FASEB will hold a webinar to provide an introduction to the federal budget process and how it impacts funding for biomedical and physical sciences research.
FDA Evaluating Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria in Clinical Trials Meeting
An upcoming meeting sponsored by FDA on "Evaluating Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria in Clinical Trials," will be held on April 16th, 8:30 - 5:00 pm. The event will also be webcast. Additional information is in the Federal Register .
Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions Workshop
On February 20th-21st, the National Academies of Sciences will be holding a workshop to explore the promise and potential pitfalls of environmental health data integration.
Obesity Care Network Advocacy Day
The Obesity Care Network in conjunction with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will be holding its second advocacy day in Washington, DC on February 27th. They will be promoting patient access to, and coverage of, obesity treatment services.
National WIC Association Social Media Training, Reception, and Briefing
Social media can be a really great tool to stay engaged with families between appointments. Join the National WIC Association for a March 6 workshop in Washington, DC to learn what social media is, why it's important to your work and how to build a social media strategy. They will be holding a reception with an interactive exhibit showcasing the voices of WIC participants on March 5th. They will also be holding a briefing on Capitol Hill to share WIC testimonials with Congress.
Webinar: Innovation and Quality in Public Health
The Public Health Foundation will be holding a webinar on February 27th to explore how one local health department is moving its community forward to improved population health.
National Academies' Committee on Reproducibility and Replicability
The second meeting of the National Academies' Committee on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science is scheduled for February 22nd-23rd. Information about the meeting, including
agenda and registration are available on the study website .

Funding Opportunities
NIFA Funding for Women in STEM
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced support for research, education, teaching, and extension projects that increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. There is $400,000 in available funding to support this programming. The deadline for applications is March 28th.
NIFA Grants for Higher and Distance Education in Insular Areas
USDA NIFA announced support for postsecondary agricultural science programs in insular areas. Funding is made through NIFA's Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas (RIIA) and the Agriculture and Food Sciences Facilities and Equipment Program for Insular Areas (AGFEI). There is $1.2 million in combined available funding to support RIIA and AGFEI. The deadline for applications is March 23rd. NIFA also announced  $800,000 in available funding to support the Distance Education Grants (DEG) program for institutions of higher education in insular areas. The application deadline is April 6th.
Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA)
The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program seeks to: (a) promote and strengthen secondary education and two-year postsecondary education in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences in order to help ensure the existence of a workforce in the US that's qualified to serve the FANH sciences system; and (b) promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the FANH sciences in order to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the FANH sciences. The application deadline is April 4th.
USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
The USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants on an ongoing basis to support business expansion, create jobs, and increase economic opportunities in rural communities. Funding is provided through USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program that offers loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations to help businesses with 10 or fewer employees to access capital to start or grow businesses. Funds are used to provide training and technical assistance or establish revolving loan funds, typically $5,000 to $50,000.
HHS Solicitation for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications
The Department of Health and Human Services has released an
omnibus solicitation for NIH, CDC, and FDA Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications. One of the opportunities is funding to develop a web-based tool for Food Service Guidelines Algorithmic Database Processing and ID Tool can be found on page 214-215. Application deadlines vary but begin April 5th.
National Civic League Health Equity Award
The National Civic League is accepting applications for the 2018 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - National Civic League Health Equity Award . The award recognizes and honors individuals who have successfully implemented a systems change approach within the past two years to improve health outcomes for those most impacted by health disparities. The deadline to apply is April 1st.
FNIH Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists
The Foundation for the NIH has opened nominations for the inaugural
Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists (Trailblazer Prize). This annual prize and $10,000 honorarium presented by the FNIH recognizes the outstanding contributions of early career clinician-scientists in the United States whose work has the potential to or has led to innovations in patient care. The nomination deadline is March 30, 2018 at 1:00 PM EDT.

WOF to Survey Treatment of Obesity Worldwide
The World Obesity Federation is planning to collect guidelines and practices for the treatment of obesity around the world. Supported by Novo Nordisk, the project will go by the acronym MAPPS (Management and Advocacy for Providers, Patients, and Systems). The project is hoping to incorporate advocacy to help organizations lobby healthcare providers to take action.
FAO Launches Food Security Advisory Group for the Philippines
The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched the FAO Legislative Advisory Group-Philippines  (FLAG-PH) in conjunction with the Government of the Philippines to address food security and nutrition. The group has 10 members from both legislative houses and plans to tackle agriculture, fisheries, forestry, environment, and natural resources through legislative actions.

UK Anti-Sugar Group Calls for Ban on Prices Promotions
The UK group Action on Sugar has called for a
complete ban on all confectionery price promotions plus a 20% tax on all confections. The group has called for this ban and tax after surveying consumers on their consumption of sharing size packages of confections.