Dr. John Kirwan Selected for National Committee on Reducing Diet-Related Chronic Disease

Sept. 20, 2023
For more information, contact Ernie Ballard, ernie.ballard@pbrc.edu, 225-263-2677

Dr. John KirwanCOLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – Today, the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture (IHA) and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Center on Global Food and Agriculture (Chicago Council) announced members for the three committees that will work with The Responsive Agriculture Task Force to develop a national roadmap for responsive agriculture solutions.

The first committee will focus on Reducing Diet-Related Chronic Disease, supported by the Committee on Securing Nutrition Equity Across the Food Environment, and the Committee on Transforming Agricultural Ecosystems and the Agriculture-Food Value Chain. The IHA defines Responsive Agriculture as an agricultural system and food environment that supports health through nutrition while ensuring the system is economically robust and environmentally sustainable for future generations.

“Collaboration across the entire food value chain is essential to achieve our shared aspiration of lowering diet-related chronic disease through agriculture. To be successful, everyone must be heard; everyone will need to participate. The nominated members of these three committees are national leaders who will ultimately drive the advancement of responsive agriculture,” said Patrick Stover, Ph.D., IHA Director and Task Force Chair.

The United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) is funding the efforts for this study. The overarching goal of the study is to encourage health-promoting food decisions that reduce the high rates of diet-related chronic disease in America. This is the first study to include multiple dimensions of the food system, food environment, and social and behavioral factors that contribute to food choices that influence health.

“These preeminent members selected to participate will focus on evaluating the scientific evidence and proposing paths forward to achieve a food environment that supports health-promoting dietary patterns for our diverse population with an understanding that nutrition needs for health vary based on factors like age, life stage, culture, access, and many others,” said Regan Bailey, Ph.D., IHA Co-Director and Coordinator for the Committee on Reducing Diet-Related Chronic Disease. “For agriculture to be the solution to chronic disease reduction, the food system must support dietary patterns that address hunger, food insecurity, and health.”

The Committee on Reducing Diet-Related Chronic Disease considers food environments that support human health and the complexity of the diet-disease relationship, appreciating the biological variability among individuals in the diet-disease relationship – one size does not fit all. Committee members include:  

  • Cathie Woteki, Ph.D. (chair), Iowa State University Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Jamy Ard, M.D., Wake Forest University Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention
  • Cindy Davis, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service National Program Leader for Nutrition, Food Safety, and Quality
  • Terry Hartman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Emory University Professor of Epidemiology
  • Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, M.S., R.D.N., International Food Information Council President and CEO
  • John Kirwan, Ph.D., Pennington Biomedical Research Center Executive Director
  • Kevin Klatt, Ph.D., R.D., University of California at Berkeley Assistant Research Scientist for Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology
  • Kristina Petersen, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Nutrition
  • Pamela Schwartz, M.P.H., Kaiser Permanente, Executive Director of Community Health
  • Kartik Shankar, Ph.D., University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Professor of Pediatrics
  • John Sievenpiper, M.D., Ph.D., University of Toronto Associate Professor of Nutrition Sciences
  • Elizabeth Yetley, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health Senior Nutrition Research Scientist, retired
  • Regan Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. (Task Force Member), Co-Director of IHA, Texas A&M

The Committee on Securing Nutrition Equity Across the Food Environment will present key concepts, findings, and conclusions for achieving a food environment characterized by stable access to food that provides opportunities for all people to make dietary choices that promote their health through food. Committee members include:

  • Christina Economos, Ph.D. (chair), Tufts University Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • Alice Ammerman, Dr.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Kaufman Distinguished Professor of Nutrition
  • Deirdra Chester, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Uriyoán Colón-Ramos, Sc.D., M.P.A., George Washington University Associate Professor of Public Health
  • Joel Gittelsohn, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Professor of International Health
  • Tashara Leak, Ph.D., R.D., Cornell University Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences
  • Jennifer Otten, Ph.D., R.D., University of Washington Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
  • Alison Tovar, Ph.D., Brown University Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Amy Yaroch, Ph.D., Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition Executive Director
  • Rebecca Seguin-Fowler, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., C.S.C.S. (Task Force Member), Co-Director of IHA, Texas A&M

“This is a pivotal moment to bring together the very best teams of interdisciplinary experts to advance an evidence-based understanding that will help build the foundation to achieve chronic disease reduction through food environments across the diverse geography and communities of the US,” said Rebecca Seguin-Fowler, Ph.D., IHA Co-Director and Coordinator for the Committee on Securing Nutrition Equity Across the Food Environment. “Their contributions will provide critical new insights and that meet the diverse needs of individuals, communities, settings, and systems.”   

The Committee on Transforming Agricultural Ecosystems and the Agriculture-Food Value Chain will present key concepts, findings, and conclusions needed to realize an agriculture and food system that addresses both hunger and human health, while ensuring environmental sustainability and economic robustness for producers, with capacity and resiliency for food production and distribution now and into the future. Committee members include:

  • Jessica Fanzo, Ph.D. (chair), Columbia University Professor of Climate
  • Alvar Carlson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center Associate Director
  • Laurence (Larry) Chandler, Ph.D., United States Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Research Service Plains Area Office Area Director
  • Amit Dhingra, Ph.D., Texas A&M University Professor and Department Head of Horticultural Sciences
  • Constance Gewa, Ph.D., Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Senior Program Director for Health-Agriculture Nexus
  • Justin Gleghorn, Ph.D., Cactus Feeders Director of Cattle Risk Management and Customer Service
  • Mark Haugland, National Wheat Foundation Board of Directors
  • David Just, Ph.D., Cornell University Susan Eckert Lynch Professor of Science and Business
  • Ajay Malshe, Ph.D., Purdue University R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Hikaru Peterson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Professor of Agricultural Economics
  • Mollie Van Lieu, International Fresh Produce Association Vice President of Nutrition and Health
  • Frank Yiannas, M.P.H., United States Food and Drug Administration Former Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy & Response
  • David Zilberman, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Resource Economics
  • Patrick Stover, Ph.D. (Task Force Chair), Director of IHA Texas A&M*

“These committees are well positioned to develop and present findings that promote human health and advance nutrition for a heterogenous population. I have full confidence that each of the committee members will provide critical insight that furthers the Task Force charge,” said Peggy Yih, Managing Director of the Center on Global Food and Agriculture at the Chicago Council and the Task Force Staff Study Director.

To learn more about the study, the Task Force, or the charges for each of the committees, please visit iha.tamu.edu/responsive-agriculture-study.

Provided by the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture: https://iha.tamu.edu/2023/09/20/1666/

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The Center architected the national “Obecity, USA” awareness and advocacy campaign to help solve the obesity epidemic by 2040. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with LSU.

The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 480 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

For more information, see www.pbrc.edu.

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