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Developmental Process and Early Phases of Implementation for the US Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research National Nutrition Research Roadmap 2016–2021

Sheila E. Fleischhacker, Rachel M. Ballard, Pamela E. Starke-Reed, Deborah A. Galuska, Marian L. Neuhouser
Journal of Nutrition 2017 v.147 no.10 pp. 1833-1838
Department of Health and Human Services, USDA, eating habits, healthy diet, human nutrition, issues and policy, nutrition research, planning, research programs, United States
The Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR) is charged with improving the planning, coordination, and communication among federal agencies engaged in nutrition research and with facilitating the development and updating of plans for federal research programs to meet current and future domestic and international needs for nutrition. The ICHNR is co-chaired by the USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist and the US Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health and is made up of >10 departments and agencies. Once the ICHNR was reassembled after a 10-y hiatus, the ICHNR recognized a need for a written roadmap to identify critical human nutrition research gaps and opportunities. This commentary provides an overview of the process the ICHNR undertook to develop a first-of-its-kind National Nutrition Research Roadmap, which was publicly released on 4 March 2016. The primary audience for the Roadmap is federal science agency leaders, along with relevant program and policy staff who rely on federally supported human nutrition research, in addition to the broader scientific community. The Roadmap is framed around the following 3 questions: 1) How can we better understand and define eating patterns to improve and sustain health? 2) What can be done to help people choose healthy eating patterns? 3) How can we develop and engage innovative methods and systems to accelerate discoveries in human nutrition? Within these 3 questions, 11 topical areas were identified on the basis of the following criteria: population impact, feasibility given current technological capacities, and emerging scientific opportunities. This commentary highlights initial federal and some professional research society efforts to address the Roadmap’s research and resource priorities. We conclude by noting examples of early collaborations and partnerships to move human nutrition research forward in the 21st century.