Innovation Lab for Nutrition Webinar Series

Welcome to the Innovation Lab for Nutrition Webinar Series

We invite you to join us for a webinar series that will showcase critical research findings from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition, hosted at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University over the past 10 years. During each webinar, panelists from across the globe will present findings from their research, discuss policy implications of these findings, discuss what needs to be done to better link research to practice, and identify research gaps for future consideration. The Innovation Lab for Nutrition is co-hosting these webinars with USAID Advancing Nutrition every month through 2020 and more webinars are being planned for 2021.

Upcoming Webinars

 

Assessing predictors and metrics of diet quality in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia: The intersection of agriculture, nutrition, and health

November 4th, 9:00 am (ET)

Details will be posted soon

Previous Webinars

October 21st: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)

DescriptionFCT table

The importance of food composition data (FCD) has been recognized as far back as the 1940’s where UK based scientists McCance and Widdowson stated that “a knowledge of the chemical composition of food is the first essential in dietary treatment of disease, or in any quantitative study of human nutrition”. This statement remains highly relevant in the present, and particularly in many African countries where the response to complex problems of food insecurity, undernutrition, overweight/obesity and related non-communicable disease sequalae cannot be achieved without reliable FCD. Moreover, the rich biodiversity of the African content, diversity in food and food systems necessitates country specific FCDs. Yet, less than half of African countries have reliable up-to date food composition tables (FCT).
In this webinar, we learned more about the collaborative effort between the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to develop Malawi’s first food composition table/database. The FCT was developed through an extensive process of data gathering and compilation following methodology endorsed by the FAO/INFOODS international network of food data systems. The Malawian FCT describes the nutritive value of 316 commonly consumed foods and 42 nutrient components that were largely derived from existing data in the country. The webinar also featured the application of the FCT from the perspective of the Malawi government and nutrition science researchers.

Moderator:

Sanele Nkomani - Supervising Dietitian for Malawi’s first Dietetics training program, based at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition through USAID funding. 

Main speakers:

Dr. Averalda van Graan – Research Manager of the South African Food Data System, also known as SAFOODS, at the South African Medical Research Council.

Stevier Kaiyatsa - Economist at the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in Malawi. 

Kate Schneider - PhD Candidate in Food Policy and Applied nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. 

Dr. William A. Masters – Investigator for the Innovation Lab for Nutrition and a Professor at Tufts University in the Friedman School of Nutrition with a secondary appointment in the Department of Economics. 

Panelists:

Dr. Felix P. Phiri – Director of Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Malawi. 

Dr. Agnes Mwangwela - Food Scientist with over 20 years of experience in university teaching in food science, at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

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October 7th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)

Description

In the face of the growing double burden of malnutrition in Africa, Malawi became one of a handful of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop and implement its own dietetics program, with support from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and USAID Malawi. The multi-faceted role that registered dietitians play in improving quality of life through multidisciplinary clinical nutrition care, nutrition programming and policy engagement, in communities and hospitals, is recognized globally.  Yet, more than 60% of African countries do not have dietetics training programs, consequently leading to a severe shortage of dietitians in health service delivery. In this webinar, we learned more about a pioneering dietetics program that has led to the genesis of the dietetics profession in Malawi; the development, implementation, challenges and future directions. We also heard from Malawian academic and government stakeholders’ perspectives on the introduction of dietetics training, future of the program and the profession in Malawi.

Moderator:

Elizabeth Marino-Costello - Registered Dietitian and Senior Program Manager, Clinical Instructor, Academic & Career Advisor, Graduate Science Programs.

Speakers:

Dr. Bernadette Chimera-Khombe - Clinical Coordinator for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and USAID supported, collaborative postgraduate Clinical Dietetics program at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and College of Medicine, Malawi.

Dr. Lynne M. Ausman - Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Professor in International Nutrition at the Friedman School, Tufts University; a Fellow in the American Society of Nutrition; and a Registered Dietitian.

Sanele Nkomani - Supervising Dietitian for Malawi’s first Dietetics training program, based at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition through USAID funding.

Panelists:

Dr. Tinna Manani - Dean for Faculty of Food and Human Sciences at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

Dr. Alexander Kalimbira - Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Human Nutrition and Health at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

Dr. John Phuka - Dean of School of Public health and Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Malawi.

Janet Guta - Deputy Director Nutrition Management for the Health Sector in the Government of Malawi; public health nutrition specialist with 16 years’ experience in the field of public health and nutrition working with government and International organizations.

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September 30th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)

Description

South Asia is the region with the world’s highest burden of stunting, housing approximately a third of the world’s stunted children. The persistent, high rates of stunting in South Asia suggest a need to go beyond establishing its prevalence and associated factors, to additionally measure growth faltering (i.e., abnormally low linear growth velocity) to detect its extent, timing, severity and associated antecedent risk factors. In this webinar, panelists presented work from the USAID Innovation Lab for Nutrition examining trends in stunting in modern Nepal, spanning the past half-century, during periods of decline and pause up to the present time, concluding that innovation is needed to progress further. They also explored and proposed evaluating preschool linear growth velocities in a population, introducing the use of a novel, sex-specific, annualized growth reference to reveal the burden of insufficient growth throughout all preschool year.  The utility of this approach was demonstrated by revealing the prevalence of low linear growth velocity (<-2 Z-scores) by age and sex in the plains (Terai) of Nepal, and identifying covarying risk factors, across the height-for-age spectrum. The panelists proposed that this approach may help Nepal and other countries in the region detect and initiate measures to prevent growth faltering, possibly before children become stunted.

Moderator:

Dr. Keith P. West - George G. Graham Professor of Infant and Child Nutrition, and Director of the Sight and Life Global Nutrition Research Institute in the Department of International Health at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Andrew Thorne-Lyman - Associate Scientist and Nutrition Epidemiologist in the Center for Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Swetha Manohar - Fellow at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and holds a joint appointment with the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s (JHSPH) Department of International Health, at Johns Hopkins University.

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September 16th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)

Description

Emerging global evidence highlights the lack of critical, accurate, and timely data as a major weakness for decision-making around policy and programmatic actions relevant to diets, nutrition, and overall food systems. With rapid and increased utilization of digital technologies by development programs, there is a growing focus on the development of novel metrics that can better support evidence-based policy making. Research supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition in low- and middle-income countries explores the use of technologies such as mobile data and accelerometers to assess food security and the relationship between physical activity, energy expenditure and diet quality in specific population sub-groups.  In this webinar, panelists discussed the research findings and policy and programmatic implications from the studies conducted in India, Nepal, and Ghana aimed at generating evidence for sound policy making in agriculture, nutrition, and health.

Moderator:

Grace Namirembe - Data Analyst for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition.

Panelists:

Dr. Robin Shrestha - Regional project manager for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition. 

Dr. Giacomo Zanello - Associate Professor in Food Economics and Health at the University of Reading (UK) and LCIRAH Fellow. 

Dr. Lichen Liang - Data analyst for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition. 

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September 2nd: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)Picture of a meal from Nepal

Description:

Women’s roles in agriculture has been widely proposed as key to achieving improved maternal and child health and nutrition. In low-middle income countries (LMICs), rural households depend on agriculture for their livelihood, in which women actively participate, while also being more vulnerable than men to economic and food availability stresses.  As large-scale, multisectoral programs in LMICs focus on sustainable agricultural development by considering women’s roles and gender equity in agriculture, it is critical to understand the impact of these programs on women’s empowerment and decision making, production diversity and dietary diversity. Research supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition in Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda investigates apparent influences of gender, diversity and specificity of household food production, and food purchasing patterns on women’s dietary diversity and adequacy. Women’s empowerment, in terms of ownership and decision making in cash crops, is examined as a means to improve child and maternal nutrition and health outcomes. In this webinar, panelists discussed research findings and policy and programmatic implications from their studies conducted on women’s diets, roles in agriculture, health, and nutrition.

Moderator:

Dr. Eileen Kennedy -  Former dean and a current professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University.

Panelists:

Dr. Keith West - George G. Graham Professor of Infant and Child Nutrition, and Director of the Sight and Life Global Nutrition Research Institute in the Department of International Health at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Dr. Nassul Kabunga - Evaluation Research Economist affiliated to the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University.

Alexandra Bellows - Nutrition PhD student in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

 

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August 19th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)Chickens feeding outside home

Description:

Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is a dynamic condition characterized by reduced nutrient absorption, increased gut permeability, and inflammation. It is associated with poor environmental hygiene and contamination, poor water quality, poor hygiene and sanitation practices, and an altered microbiota. EED has been implicated in increasing the risk of stunting and wasting in early life and the risk of a poor birth prognosis in pregnancy. However the evidence on both its causes and effects has been mixed. This may be in part due to measurement challenges as the gold standard metric of EED, the lactulose-mannitol test, measures only part of the EED process. Research supported by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Nepal aimed to test new metrics for EED assessment, examine the relationship of EED, stunting and wasting within the context of poor WASH practices, an altered microbiota, and the presence of contaminants such as mycotoxins.  In this webinar, panelists discussed findings from their studies and discussed the necessary policy and programmatic actions required to tackle EED and its underlying causes.

Moderator:
Dr. Christopher Duggan - Dr. Duggan is a pediatric gastroenterologist and nutrition physician at Boston Children's Hospital where he directs the Center for Nutrition (http://www.childrenshospital.org/nutrition) and is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a Professor in the Departments of Nutrition and Global Health and Population at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

Panelists:
Dr. Jacqueline LauerPublic health nutritionist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University. Dr. Lauer’s research focuses on environmental contributors to poor growth and development among infants and young children in low-resource settings, including environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) and aflatoxin exposure.

Dr. Akriti SinghIn August, Dr. Singh successfully completed her thesis defense to receive her PhD from Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Dr. Singh’s research focuses on determinants of maternal and child undernutrition in low and middle-income countries including diets, body composition, environmental enteric dysfunction, gut microbiota, and water sanitation and hygiene.

Dr. Shibani Ghosh - Research Associate Professor at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Dr. Ghosh is also the Associate Director for the Innovation Lab for Nutrition with experience working in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Her research interests are in understanding the role of agriculture in improving nutrition while ensuring health, assessing the diet and non-diet determinants of nutritional status of infants and young children and testing interventions aimed at improving maternal and infant nutrition and growth.

 

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August 12th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)Aflatoxins on Maize

Description:

Exposure to mycotoxins through the diet is widespread in many resource-constrained areas of the world. Additionally, research conducted by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition at Tufts University suggests that aflatoxins, in particular, may be associated with poor nutrition outcomes in infants and young children, beginning in utero. Panelists presented on findings from their studies in Uganda, Mozambique, Nepal, and Timor-Leste and discussed the necessary policy and programmatic actions required to improve food safety, limit exposure, and improve health.

Moderator:
Dr. Patrick Webb - Director for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and Alexander McFarlane Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Panelists:
Dr. Jacqueline LauerPublic health nutritionist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University

Katherine HeneveldAssistant Researcher for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition

Dr. Shibani Ghosh - Associate Director for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

 

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August 5th: 9:00AM - 10:30AM (ET)ASFs Webinar

Description: 

Animal sourced foods (ASFs) are nutrient dense foods that when consumed in small amounts provide quality protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and all nutrients critical for growth and development, particularly of infants and young children. While evidence supports the contribution of ASFs in improving the linear growth of children, a better understanding of the long-term effects of the consumption of different ASFs is needed. In this webinar we will examine the role of ASFs in improving the nutritional status of vulnerable populations and present findings from the Innovation Lab for Nutrition’s studies in Nepal, Uganda and Bangladesh. These include econometric multi-country analyses assessing the role of the type of ASF and the total number of ASFs in supporting optimal growth and development. Panelists also presented analyses and findings on their work in the realm of nutrition-sensitive interventions (e.g. aquaculture and animal husbandry), consumption of ASFs, and nutritional status. 

 

Moderator:
Grace Namirembe - Data Analyst for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition

Panelists:
Dr. Patrick Webb - Director for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and Alexander McFarlane Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Dr. Shibani Ghosh - Associate Director for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Dr. Sonia Zaharia - Post Doctoral Fellow for the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition

 

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Nepali marketJuly 15, 2020 :  9:00 - 10:30 AM (ET)

Many factors combine to shape diets and maternal and child health. In this webinar, we review recent research from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition regarding the role of markets and infrastructure in mitigating nutritional risks. We focus specific attention on findings from Bangladesh, Nepal and Uganda, examining correlates and drivers of dietary diversity, linear growth and weight gain, and nutritional resilience.

 

Moderator:

Dr. Shibani Ghosh - Associate Director for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Panelists:

Dr. William Masters - Investigator for the Innovation Lab for Nutrition and a Professor at Tufts University in the Friedman School of Nutrition with a secondary appointment in the Department of Economics.

Dr. Gerald Shively - PI for the Innovation Lab for Nutrition, the Associate Dean and Director for the International Programs in Agriculture, Faculty Fellow for Global Affairs, and Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University.
 

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Bangladesh Chimney DryerJune 17, 2020:     9:00 - 10:00 (ET)

In Bangladesh, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition's focus is on aquaculture programming, linked in various ways to horticulture promotion, innovations in drying and storage of products, and behavior change communication. Located in the Feed the Future zone of Bangladesh (the South-West), the Innovation Lab for Nutrition works closely with local academic institutions, international partners (such as IFPRI), and implementing organizations (such as SPRING) to generate strong empirical evidence of how food choices are made, how diets change, and what impacts are possible on nutrition.

This webinar covered the Innovation Lab for Nutrition's research, findings, and innovative technologies in Bangladesh. Speakers explained how their efforts will contribute to a shared research agenda that will ultimately inform policy and programming within the context of USAID and globally. 

 

Moderator:

Dr. Shibani Ghosh - Associate Director for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition and a Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Panelists:

Dr. Patrick Webb - Director for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition, Alexander McFarlane Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Dr. Robin Shrestha - Project Manager for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition

 

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