Society Spotlight: American Society for Nutrition
Created by lgreen on 12/19/2013

By Allison Lea

The first week of December was quite productive for the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). On December 4, ASN held a Capitol Hill research seminar to emphasize the critical role scientific research plays in achieving a healthy diet. The seminar featured Robert M. Russell, MD, Chair of the ASN Foundation and Past President of ASN, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Nutrition at Tufts University, and Director Emeritus of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging as the key speaker. “As funding for research in general has dwindled, ASN feels that it’s very important to show the public, stakeholders, and government the value of nutrition research, both in terms of health and actually making our society more productive by contributing to the economy,” Russell said.The following day, ASN Board members visited 19 offices of Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill to support a fiscal year 2014 budget that would increase investment in nutrition research and restore funding to pre-sequestration levels for federal agencies that support nutrition research. Attendees included ASN President Gordon Jensen, MD, PhD, President-Elect Simin Meydani, DMV, PhD, and Dr. Russell.

The Hill visits were held in concurrence with ASN’s third annual Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition Conference in DC, December 5-7, which gathered over 300 attendees.  The three-day conference
aimed to cultivate an interest in clinical nutrition among healthcare professionals by featuring poster presentations, lectures and satellite sessions, and encouraging networking opportunities.  Some of the discussion topics included facts on low and no-calorie sweeteners, importance of yogurt in a healthy diet, and bariatric surgery in obese children and adolescence.

The Society was founded in 1928 and currently has over 5,000 members throughout the US and abroad. As a part of its mission, ASN provides nutrition-related education and professional development opportunities for nutrition researchers, educators, and health professionals through its
three journals, webinars, and meetings, including the Society’s Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology. The 2014 ASN Annual Meeting will be on April 26-30, in San Diego.

The ASN joined the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in 1940 as its 5th member society and serves as the leader in informing Congress and educating policymakers of the value of federal funding for nutrition research. Earlier this year, ASN issued six
Nutrition Research Priorities where additional resources are urgently needed to improve the health and well-being of global populations.  These priorities have served as an important advocacy tool for the Society, and were presented during the recent visits to the Hill as well as at the Capitol Hill research seminar.

Sean H. Adams, PhD, Research Leader for the Obesity & Metabolism Research Unit of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Adjunct Associate Professor Department of Nutrition University of California, Davis represents ASN on the FASEB Board of Directors. ASN is also represented on the FASEB Science Policy Committee by Jeanne Freeland-Graves, PhD, Bess Helfin Professor and Head of the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. To learn more about the Society and its upcoming meetings and initiatives, visit the ASN website.

From left: ASN Board member Dr. Malcolm Watford; Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA); and ASN President Dr. Gordon Jensen.