The NIH Nutrition Quarterly is brought to you by the NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination—also known as the DNRC. This newsletter is designed to take you inside the NIH nutrition research community and share some of the exciting activities taking place. From training opportunities to novel research findings, the NIH Nutrition Quarterly will highlight significant nutrition happenings at NIH.
The DNRC is a trans-NIH office created in 1988 to advise the NIH Director and others on nutrition and physical activity research, training, and policy initiatives. The mission of the DNRC is to coordinate nutrition-related research and research training across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other HHS and non-HHS federal agencies.
The DNRC sponsors, plans, and leads scientific conferences and workshops, identifies topics for investigation in the nutritional sciences, disseminates NIH nutrition research and education materials, and plays a leadership role by engaging with NIH partners to promote NIH worksite health promotion and wellness. The DNRC also maintains a comprehensive, publicly accessible database of federally-funded nutrition research and research training activities known as the Human Nutrition Research Information Management (HNRIM). The DNRC performs annual database updates and reporting activities to ensure that a complete account of federal nutrition research and training activities is reflected in the HNRIM.
The DNRC traces its origins back to an NIH-wide forum - the NIH Nutrition Coordinating Committee (NCC), which was established in 1975 for the primary purpose of reviewing, discussing, and stimulating support for nutrition research and training within the NIH. From its inception, the NCC played a pivotal role in promoting and advancing the role of nutrition and physical activity in health promotion, disease prevention, and disease management. The NCC includes representatives from each grant awarding NIH Institute or Center and liaison representatives from other NIH Centers and Offices. It also includes liaisons from several HHS and non-HHS agencies. The monthly NCC meetings provide a means for NIH nutrition researchers to communicate with NIH colleagues and the broader federal nutrition research community. Committee members exchange information about nutrition and physical activity research, training, funding opportunities and federal public policy and program initiatives related to both topics.
NCC meetings typically feature one or two scientific presentations on timely nutrition research topics and program or policy activities. Often, new research questions, initiatives, funding opportunities, and interest groups evolve from the seminars and the group discussions that follow. In the 1980s, mounting interest in an expanded NIH nutrition research agenda beyond what the NCC could coordinate contributed to the creation of the DNRC in 1988. The DNRC’s primary role has always been to facilitate communication and improve coordination among NIH nutrition researchers.
Today, DNRC staff contribute to the NIH and national nutrition research agenda by coordinating scientific and dietary guidance review activities within the NIH, planning and conducting novel nutrition research, engaging with federal partners on diverse nutritional science and public health topics pertaining to food labeling, food safety, obesity and energy balance, and disease prevention and health promotion initiatives including HealthyPeople 2020.