Twenty people have been named to the advisory committee that will help shape the 2025-2030 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including health equity experts.

In  a release, the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA posted their names, calling them “nationally recognized nutrition and public health experts” but without any explanation as to why they were chosen or any mention of their specific areas of expertise. 

However, the departments also made clear that the committee will look at the scientific evidence through a "health equity lens" and the membership reflects that direction. 

Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, for example, is executive director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy at Oklahoma State University, and Angela Odoms-Young is an associate professor at Cornell University who conducts research on dietary behavior in low-income and minority communities. Fatima Cody Stanford is an equity director at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jessi Silverman, senior policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said CSPI is "excited by by this committee, and want to express our congratulations to all of them." She said the members have "a diversity of expertise and backgrounds in a way that I think is unprecedented."

"There are a couple of notable health equity experts on the committee," Silverman said, noting she has "great respect and admiration" for Odoms-Young and that Jernigan is an expert on nutritional issues in Native American communities.

The committee has been tasked, USDA and HHS said, with ensuring that "factors such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and culture are described and considered to the greatest extent possible based on the information provided in the scientific literature and data."

In addition, the DGAC "will examine the relationship between diet and health across all life stages."

HHS and USDA, which work together to coordinate the DGAC process, have yet to release the final version of the proposed scientific questions the committee will consider at its first meeting Feb. 9-10.

An HHS spokesperson said Thursday that HHS and USDA have "refined the proposed scientific questions based on public comments, federal input, and the consideration of research availability. The updated questions will be proposed to the committee for their input before release and before starting their evidence review."

"The committee will be tasked with reviewing the current body of science on key nutrition topics and developing a scientific report that includes its independent assessment of the evidence and recommendations for HHS and USDA as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans," HHS and USDA said in their release. "The committee’s review, public comments, and input from other federal nutrition experts will help inform HHS and USDA" as they prepare the DGA.

The members, along with quotes from the linked pages with biographical information, are as follows:

  • Steven Abrams, pediatrics professor, University of Texas at Austin. “He has conducted research studies using mineral isotopes in more than 20 countries and for 25 years operated the largest nutritional research lab in the world analyzing biological samples for mineral isotope enrichment.”
  • Cheryl Anderson, University of California San Diego. Anderson is a professor and Dean of the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. Her research “focuses on nutrition and chronic disease prevention.”
  • Aline Andres, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is associate director of the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center and a professor of pediatrics. “Her research interests are focused on optimizing pediatric nutrition to prevent childhood and adult diseases, and on understanding the effects of the pregnancy environment on the future health and development of children.” 
  • Sarah Booth, Tufts University. Booth is director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts and senior scientist and leader of the Vitamin K Team at the center. “Booth is an international leader in vitamin K research. Among her many research accomplishments, [she] Booth discovered a previously undescribed form of vitamin K in the human diet created by the hydrogenation of dietary fats.” 
  • Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She says her research “focuses on nutrition education and health promotion with the goal of effecting behavior changes that prevent negative outcomes (e.g., unhealthy body weight and co-morbidities) and promote healthy lifestyles.”
  • Heather Eicher-Miller, Purdue University. An associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Science and director of Indiana's Emergency Food Resource Network, her areas of expertise are “nutrition epidemiology; food insecurity; food assistance; nutrition education; dietary patterns methods, [and] dietary assessment.”
  • Teresa Fung, Simmons University. Areas of expertise include nutritional epidemiology, diet assessment, and development of non-communicable conditions (such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, fragility fractures, and frailty).
  • Edward Giovannucci, Harvard University. A professor of nutrition and epidemiology, his research efforts “focus on how nutritional, hormonal, and genetic factors are related to various malignancies, especially those of the prostate and large bowel.”
  • Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Oklahoma State University. She is a professor of rural health and executive director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy. 
  • Cristina Palacios, Florida International University. A professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, “her research is currently focused on studying the role of diet and physical activity on obesity and weight gain in infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant women.”
  • Fatima Cody Stanford, Harvard University. She is “an obesity medicine physician scientist, educator, and policy maker at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.” She is the equity director at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Endocrine Division. "She is a national and international sought-after expert in obesity medicine who bridges the intersection of medicine, public health, policy, and disparities."
  • Christopher Taylor, The Ohio State University. A professor of medical dietetics and family medicine, “his two major focus areas include food patterning and the influence of personal factors on lifestyle behavior choice. … His second area is factors that influence behavior change.“ 
  • Andrea Deierlein, New York University. An associate professor of public health nutrition, her research “focuses on examining how dietary, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to reproductive health outcomes and chronic-disease development throughout the lifespan.”
  • Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Temple University. A professor of social and behavioral sciences and associate director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education. Her research focuses on the development of eating behavior during infancy and early childhood.
  • Christopher Gardner, Stanford University. A research professor who says his focus for the past 20 years has been “on investigating the potential health benefits of various dietary components or food patterns, which have been explored in the context of randomized controlled trials in free-living adult populations. Some of the interventions have involved vegetarian diets, soy foods and soy food components, garlic, omega-3 fats/fish oil/flax oil, antioxidants, Ginkgo biloba, and popular weight loss diets.”
  • Deanna Hoelscher, The University of Texas at Austin. She is director of the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and a distinguished teaching professor. Her research interests “include teaching children and their families to engage in healthier dietary and physical activity behaviors to avoid chronic diseases, with an emphasis on addressing health disparities at The University of Texas System.”
  • Angela Odoms-Young, Cornell University. An associate professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, she also is director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program and New York State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Her research “explores the social and structural determinants of dietary behaviors and related health outcomes in low-income populations and black, Indigenous and people of color.”
  • Hollie Raynor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A professor in the Department of Nutrition, Raynor is “a registered dietitian and a licensed psychologist. She conducts research in lifestyle interventions for pediatric and adult weight management.” 
  • Sameera Talegawkar, The George Washington University. An associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, her research “focuses on the role of diet and other lifestyle predictors on aging related outcomes, and on the role of diet on health disparities experienced by under-served and minority populations.”
  • Deirdre Tobias, Harvard University. Tobias is assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition. She is an obesity and nutritional epidemiologist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston whose research “explores the role of diet and lifestyle for obesity and its major chronic diseases, including gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes.”

This story has been updated to include reaction and more information on the scientific questions to be considered by the committee.

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