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CONNECTED Conference Hall of Fame

As we gear up for the next Micronutrient Forum 6th Global Conference, Nutrition for Resilience, a hybrid event taking place in fall of 2023, here is a look back to the CONNECTED 2020 conference highlights. We gathered a list of the top 20 sessions covering topics from food systems and climate change to data gaps in nutrition –  

To get a complete overview, read the proceedings by Sight and Life or visit the event platform to dive into the 

Top 20 Sessions:

Abstract: Current global challenges in malnutrition and other development goals call for integrated, multi-sectoral approaches focusing on the entire food system, leading to healthier and sustainable diets for all. There is no clear and agreed definition of “healthy, sustainable diets” but typically healthy diets are considered to meet nutrient requirements of all age groups and all groups with special nutrition needs while avoiding the excessive intake of saturated fat, sugars, and salt/sodium and eliminating trans fats. Micronutrients, although not explicitly mentioned, are a key component of healthy diets. Unfortunately, micronutrients are currently insufficiently recognized in most food system approaches, and the global health and development community lacks a basic understanding of how the food system can contribute, at every level, to the micronutrient quality of diets. Much is known and yet much remains to be discovered as to how to improve micronutrient status across the world while ensuring interventions do no harm.  
 
Speakers: Howarth E. Bouis, Board Chair, Micronutrient Forum; Emorn Udomkesmalee, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand; Saskia Osendarp, Lawrence Haddad, PhD – Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN); Mauricio Muller Adade, Royal DSM; Robert Bertram, USAID; Shenggen Fan, China Agricultural University; Anna Lartey, University of Ghana; Usha Barwale Zehr, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private Limited (MAHYCO), India; Francesco Branca, WHO Geneva

Abstract: During the Second Global Summit on Food Fortification, key thought leaders highlight the significant untapped potential of large-scale fortification and biofortification and the urgency of closing this gap to combat rising malnutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 
 
Speakers: Agnes Kalibata, UN Food Systems Summit; Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, WFP; Arun Baral, HarvestPlus/IFPRI; Inoshi Sharma, Food Fortification Resource Center, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India; Axton Salim, PT INDOFOOD; Carla Montesi, European Commission; Martin Fregene

 

Abstract: This plenary provides an overview of the global burden of micronutrient deficiencies, highlighting uncertainties in prevalence estimates, persistent gaps in data and knowledge, and ways to address these gaps. 
 
Speakers: Rafael C. Flores-Ayala, MApStat, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Lisa M. Rogers, WHO; Ashkan Afshin, IHME; Sonja Y. Hess, UC Davis; Kenneth H. Brown, UC Davis

 

Abstract: How we can turn COVID19 from a threat to an opportunity for malnutrition? How can we continue to embrace new and necessary forms of collaboration connecting the food systems and nutrition community? How can we make sure the current disabling environment is turned into a enabling environment for nutrition and lead to more and bigger investments in nutrition by all stakeholders? Watch this session to learn the answers.  
 
Speakers: Jane Badham, JB Consultancy; Amar Ali, Africa Improved Foods Ltd; Martin Frick, World Food Systems Summit; Emi Inaoka; Jane Napais Lankisa, SUN Youth Ambassador and Feed the Children; Leonard Mizzi European Commission; Saskia Osendarp, Micronutrient Forum; Veena S. Rao, PG Political Science and Development Studies, Govt of Karnataka; David Nabarro, 4SD; Howarth E. Bouis, Board Chair, Micronutrient Forum; Henrietta Fore, UNICEF

Abstract: Transforming the food system will require many people working in nutrition to do things differently. How can we accelerate progress in taking research and action in fostering food systems for nutrition, without neglecting the on-unfinished agenda of needed nutrition specific actions? 
 
Speakers: Saul S. Morris, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN); Howarth E. Bouis, Board Chair, Micronutrient Forum; Francesco Branca, WHO; Robert Bertram, USAID; Sufia Askari, CIFF; Purnima Menon, IFPRI

 

Abstract: Changing priorities due to development challenges such as climate change, refugees, wars, terrorism, epidemics may reduce interest in micronutrient nutrition. In this plenary, different stakeholders will offer their perspectives on how to keep micronutrients on the agendas of policy makers, donors and implementers. 
 
Speakers: Eileen Kennedy, Tufts University; Kelly Brownell, Duke University; Abigail Perry; Joel C. Spicer, Nutrition International; Ali Winoto Subandoro, World Bank, Global Financing Facility; Kartharina Lichter, Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation; Andreas Blüthner, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Gerda Verburg, SUN

Abstract: To identify opportunities for strengthening the national data system to guide policy and program implementation through the country case studies, focusing on maternal nutrition within the framework of the first 1000 day. To critically review the potentials of community-based interventions to address the multiple burden of malnutrition and identify opportunities amidst the challenges 
 
Speakers: Corazon Barba, Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, University of the Philippines Los Banos; Emorn Udomkesmalee, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand; Juliawati Untoro, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific; Rina Agustina, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia (FMUI); Pattanee Winichagoon, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand; Cecilia S. Acuin, University of the Philippines Los Baños; Roland Kupka, UNICEF East Asia & Pacific Regional Office; Purnima Menon, IFPRI; Sutayut Osornprasop IFPRI

Abstract: This session provides an overview of the role of nutrition and susceptibility and severity of COVID-19 disease. 
 
Speakers: Philip T. James, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Michael Fenech, University of South Australia; Rebecca Heidkamp, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Saskia de Pee, WFP; Anna W. Herforth, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; Alison Greig, Nutrition International; Namukolo Covic, IFPRI; Jonathan Kweku Akuoku, The World Bank; Saskia Osendarp, Micronutrient Forum

Abstract: Understand the global stunting through case studies and learn the recommended actions to reduces stunting rates.  
 
Speakers: Robert Black, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Cesar G. Victora, Federal University of Pelotas; Emily C. Keats, Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children; Zulfiqar Bhutta, Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children; Meera Shekar, World Bank 

Abstract: The session shares and critically examines the evidence on efficacy and safety of parenteral iron during pregnancy. 
 
Speakers: Luz Maria De-Regil, World Health Organization; Michael Auerbach, Georgetown University; Bosede B. Afolabi, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria; Sutapa Bandyopdhyaya Neogi, International Institute of Health Management Research Delhi; Sant-Rayn Pasricha, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Abstract: This session will inform programmatic actions on redesigning food systems for improved child diets. This includes, to establish why children need special considerations in efforts to redesign food systems, positioning food environments as a key component to address micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition, presenting tools available for programmatic approaches to redesign food systems, and fostering exchange of knowledge among programme managers and policy makers 
 
Speakers: Corinna Hawkes, University of London; Elizabeth Fox, Cornell University; Roland Kupka, UNICEF East Asia & Pacific Regional Office; Shauna Downs, Rutgers University; Simon Barquera; Hana Yemane Wodajo, GAIN

Abstract: This session defines the progress in anaemia reduction against the global targets and characterize the role and limitations of nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions in reducing the burden of anaemia. 
 
Speakers: Angela De Silva, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia; Vip Viprakasit, Division of Hematology & Oncology, Department of Pediatrics & Siriraj Thalasemia Center, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University; Sarah H. Atkinson, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford; Sant-Rayn Pasricha, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Abstract: Nutrition research is not always informed by the ultimate users of the data and thus studies may not be directed towards the ultimate needs of policymakers. Instead we have heavy reliance on systematic reviews of trials, many of which were never designed to be used for evidence generation in the first place. This plenary session aims to discuss this problem and consider opportunities for improvement. 
 
Speakers: Sant-Rayn Pasricha, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research; Zulfiqar Bhutta, Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children; Keith P. West, Jr., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Human Nutrition; Lynnette M. Neufeld, GAIN

Abstract: Updated guidelines on antenatal care released by WHO in 2016 do not recommend multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) over iron folic acid but suggest that policy makers in high burden contexts might choose to implement MMS. Revised analyses have been published since the guidelines process that suggest previously identified risks are minimal. This session aims to examine the decision process around adoption of MMS from the perspective of national policy makers. 
 
Speakers: Gilles Bergeron, New York Academy of Sciences; Emily R. Smith, George Washington University; Reina Engle-Stone, University of California Davis; Megan Bourassa, The New York Academy of Sciences; Lwin Mar Hlaing, National Nutrition Centre, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Sports; Nita Dalmiya, UNICEF; Parul Christian, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Abstract: This session presents perspectives on how climate change is affecting the vitamin and mineral supplies of food systems as well as present agricultural strategies to help mitigate these effects. 
 
Speakers: Dan Raiten, NICHD/NIH; Stuart Gillespie, IFPRI; Adegbola Adesogan, Food Systems Institute; Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, University of FL, Gainsville; Ismail Cakmak, Sabanci University; Wolfgang H. Pfeiffer, HarvestPlus; Ashley Aimone, Moi University

Abstract: This session will inform programmatic actions on redesigning food systems for improved child diets. This includes, to establish why children need special considerations in efforts to redesign food systems, positioning food environments as a key component to address micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition, presenting tools available for programmatic approaches to redesign food systems, and fostering exchange of knowledge among programme managers and policy makers 
 
Speakers: Marti J. van Liere, Micronutrient Forum; Alison Tumilowicz, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Victor Aguayo, Nutrition Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Nita Dalmiya, UNICEF; Saskia Osendarp, Micronutrient Forum

Abstract: This plenary highlights the need for a priori cost analysis, alongside efficacy or pilot trials, to determine micronutrient program viability. In addition, it will present results from economic analysis of different micronutrient-delivering interventions. The session will also discuss the issues and challenges with how policymakers should take in consideration for the selection and implementation of potential effective and sustainable micronutrient interventions. 
 
Speakers: Stephen A. Vosti, Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; Omar Dary, USAID; Keith Lividini, HarvestPlus/IFPRI and Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; J.V. Meenakshi, Delhi School of Economics; Heather Danton, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.; Jack Clift, Results for Development; Ziauddin Hyder, World Bank Group; J.V. Meenakshi, Delhi School of Economics; Carol Levin, Department of Global Health, University of Washington

Abstract: This session presents findings on industrial fortification, including the Global Fortification Data Exchange which is a free tool to support analysis and visualization of fortification data. Summarize the results of the Second Fortification Summit, followed by a panel discussion with participants on implications and next steps to advance industrial fortification of foods and condiments 
 
Speakers: Ruth Petersen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Reynaldo Martorell, Emory University; Rosemary E. Mwaisaka, East Central and Southern Africa Health Community; Helena Pachón, Food Fortification Initiative; Penjani Mkambula, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN); Dora Panagides Landell Mills; Rizwan Firozhussein Yusufali, Technoserve; Dipika Matthias, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Abstract: This session will bring a special focus on climate change and emergencies – two major, and often interrelated, causes of food insecurity and malnutrition. This session will present perspectives on how climate change is affecting global nutrition, health and micronutrient intakes. The current shape and form of nutrition emergency responses, which are largely limited to focusing on treatment of acute malnutrition and meeting calories will not cut it, and this session will demonstrate the need to improve the quality of diets for women and children during emergencies and innovative ways to do things differently.  
 
Speakers: Victor Aguayo, Nutrition Programme, UNICEF; Kristie Ebi, University of Washington; Donald J. MacKenzie – Danforth Center; Joan N. Matji, UNICEF; Shawn K. Baker, USAID

Abstract: This session explores the complex relationships among micronutrients, household environmental factors, and gut function. 
 
Speakers: Omar Dary, USAID; Christine M. Pfeiffer, Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Melissa F. Young, Emory University; Jennifer Lynn Ford, University of North Carolina; Min Kyaw Htet, SEAMEO-RECFON, Universitas Indonesia; Neal E. Craft, Craft Nutrition Consulting; Anthony Oxley, Newcastle University; Christian Homann, FerroSens GmbH

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