Academy Supports Funding for USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Centers, Organizes Congressman’s Tour of Maryland Facility

05/02/2018 - The Academy organized a May 1 tour for U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (Md.) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center. This timely site visit came as the House of Representatives begins work on fiscal year 2019 appropriations that includes funding for the country’s six Human Nutrition Research Centers.

At the 6,500-acre Maryland facility, Brown, members of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin’s (Md.) staff and representatives of the Academy and the American Society for Nutrition received an overview of research supported and conducted by USDA that improves people’s health and well-being; reduces long-term health care costs; and creates a safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable food supply.

“The Human Nutrition Research Centers help policymakers, producers, consumers and health care professionals better understand the relationships among agriculture, diet and health,” said Academy President Donna S. Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND. “We thank Rep. Brown for touring the Beltsville facility and for his interest in learning about the role that research and RDNs play in enhancing health.

“President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget would eliminate three of the six Human Nutrition Research Centers,” Martin said. “The Academy supports retention of all six centers. We were pleased to arrange Rep. Brown’s tour and we encourage all members of Congress to see firsthand the valuable work that is being done in these facilities that promote a healthy American public.”

The Beltsville facility, supported by the USDA, conducts applied human nutrition research to help Americans make evidence-based, health-promoting eating choices. It is the oldest of six Agricultural Research Service Human Nutrition Research Centers. The other Human Nutrition Research Centers are in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Texas.

“The Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center is an asset for the nation,” Brown said. “I’m impressed by the innovations and contributions that the center has developed in food, nutrition and agriculture research.”

Dariusz M. Swietlik, USDA Agricultural Research Service Northeast Area director, commented on the mission of the center. “The work of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center is important to prevent chronic disease and maintain quality of life,” said Swietlik. “It is a tremendous opportunity for us to inform policymakers what we do and how we contribute to the health and well-being of the nation.”