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NIH Nutrition Research Task Force

The National Institutes of Health Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) was established in October 2016 to coordinate and accelerate progress in nutrition research across the NIH. Dr. Christopher Lynch, Director of NIDDK’s Office of Nutrition Research, serves as the Task Force Executive Secretary.

Developing the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan on Nutrition Research

NRTF is guiding the development of the first NIH-wide 10-year strategic plan for nutrition research. The strategic plan will emphasize cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research across a wide range of areas, from basic science to experimental design to training. These opportunities will complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH to improve health and to prevent or combat diseases and conditions affected by nutrition.

Accelerating Nutrition Research

NRTF will emphasize cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to accelerate nutrition research across a wide range of areas, from basic science to experimental design to training. These opportunities will complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH on diseases and conditions affected by nutrition. The graph below shows estimated NIH nutrition research funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

Figure 1. Estimated NIH Nutrition Research Funding, FY 2016
A complex bar graph with Nutrition Research Awards (in millions of dollars) on the Y-axis and NIH Institutes and Centers on the X-axis.  NIDDK recieves the most money, with NHLBI and NCI coming in second and third respectively.
View description of Figure 1

Plan Implementation

Implementation of the Nutrition Research Strategic Plan is expected to begin in October 2018 after the final plan is released.

NRTF Members

The Task Force is chaired by Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Co-chairs are Dr. Gary Gibbons, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Dr. Norman Sharpless, Director of the National Cancer Institute; and Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Participants on the Task Force represent these and other Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) within NIH.

Figure 2. Proposed NRTF Strategic Planning Timeline
Proposed NRTF Strategic Planning Timeline
View description of Figure 2

Update on NIH Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) Strategic Planning Activities

  • In Spring 2017, the NRTF invited biomedical researchers and health professionals, patients, patient advocates, and other members of the public to provide input via an online crowdsourcing website on critical gaps or opportunities in nutrition that could be addressed by research funded by the NIH. The deadline for providing input was April 28, 2017. This input is one of the sources that the NRTF is reviewing as they work to draft the NIH Nutrition Research Strategic Plan. The NRTF thanks all the individuals and organizations who took the time to provide their suggestions.
  • The first meeting of the Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) took place in Bethesda, MD on June 12th, 2017. Two external speakers discussed opportunities and gaps in nutrition research and the importance of nutrition research for health and disease. Speakers included:
    • Dennis Bier, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Nutrition, and director of the Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine
    • Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D., director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  • The Nutrition Research Thought Leaders Panel met on June 19-20th, 2017. The panel provided input to the NRTF on prioritizing research gaps and opportunities. Panel members included:
Panel Member Name Panel Member Organization
Lindsay H. Allen, PhD USDA ARS and U.C. Davis
Dushanka V. Kleinman, DDS, MScD U. Maryland
Karen E. Peterson, DSc U. Michigan
David B. Allison, PhD U. Alabama, Birmingham
David M. Klurfeld, Ph.D. USDA ARS
Ross L. Prentice, PhD Fred Hutchinson Cancer Ctr.
Cheryl A.M. Anderson, PhD, MPH, MS U.C., San Diego
Nancy F. Krebs, MD, MS U. Colorado
W. Sue Ritter, PhD Washington State U
Rozalyn M. Anderson, PhD U. Wisconsin
Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA Johns Hopkins U.
A. Catharine Ross, PhD Pennsylvania State U.
David J. Baer, PhD USDA ARS
Danny Manor, PhD Case Western Reserve U.
Cary R. Savage, PhD Banner Alzheimer's Inst.
Teresa A. Davis, PhD Baylor U.
Nilesh Mehta, MD Harvard U.
Alison Steiber, PhD, RDN Academy Nutr. & Dietetics
Michael K. Georgieff, MD U. Minnesota
Julie Mennella, Ph.D., MS, MS Monell Chemical Senses Ctr.
Patrick J. Stover, PhD – Chair Cornell U.
Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD U. North Carolina
Simin N. Meydani, D.V.M., PhD Tufts U.
Linda V Van Horn, PhD, RD Northwestern U.
James R. Hébert, ScD U. South Carolina
Christopher B. Newgard, PhD Duke U.
Gary D. Wu, MD U. Penn
Frank Hu, M.D., PhD, MPH Harvard U.
Diane M. O'Brien, Ph.D. U. Alaska
Thomas R. Ziegler, MD Emory U.
  • The NRTF reviewed the input provided by the crowdsourcing effort and the Nutrition Research Thought Leader Panel to refine a list of research opportunities and develop a thematic framework for organization of the NIH Nutrition Research Strategic Plan.
  • A Senior Leadership Group was appointed to guide the composition of the draft strategic plan and the implementation of the plan once it is complete.
  • The second meeting of the NRTF took place on November 28th, 2017. An external speaker, Dr. Diane O’Brien, Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, presented her research and thoughts on opportunities in nutrition research.
  • Currently, the NRTF Senior Leadership and Writing Groups are drafting a plan that will be discussed with the Task Force at the next meeting scheduled for June 18th, 2018. The draft plan will be released for public comment soon after, followed by revisions and clearance. A final plan is expected in October 2018, after which the implementation process will begin.

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