ASN Advocacy

The American Society for Nutrition advocates for its members by working with Congress and federal agencies on issues that impact the way nutrition scientists and clinicians conduct research or treat their patients. The Society’s members and staff also collaborate with organizations on common issues related to nutrition to build coalitions and advance issues of mutual interest.

2018 Farm Bill Priorities

Congressional Briefings

ASN, singly or in partnership with like-minded organizations, holds congressional briefings to educate policymakers and other interested stakeholders on the importance of nutrition research and the need for further support.

Coalition Involvement

ASN works through partnerships with like-minded organizations and coalitions, an alliance of organizations whose combined action can lead to a mutually beneficial end result: to advance human nutrition research and its funding, and ensure the sound application and translation of nutrition science in legislation and policy.

As a member of the Federation of American Societies in Experimental Biology (FASEB), ASN strongly supports the public policy work of this coalition of 31 scientific societies representing more than 130,000 researchers worldwide. FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) collaborates with ASN’s advocacy and science policy staff, and the work of the two organizations is complementary.

ASN is a member of various national coalitions and partnerships, including:

Aging in Motion (AIM) Coalition
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coalition
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)
Dietary Guidelines Alliance
Friends of National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
Friends of National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International
MyPlate National Strategic Partner
National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA)
National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR)
Non-communicable Disease (NCD) Alliance
Osteoarthritis Action Alliance
Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance
Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR)
Research!America

ASN Fiscal Year 2021 Funding Recommendations

Support fiscal year (FY) 2021 budgets that increase the investment in nutrition research
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
FY 2021 ASN Recommendation: $44.7 billion

A $44.7 billion budget would allow NIH to accelerate progress in all areas of biomedical science. This funding level could support about 400 additional early stage investigators.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA/ AFRI)
FY 2021 ASN Recommendation: $500 million

AFRI has yet to reach its authorized funding level of $700 million/ year and more than 75 percent of AFRI proposals deemed worthy by expert review panels go unfunded. As proposed in the President’s proposed FY2020 budget, $500 million would support about 375 additional research grants allowing AFRI to continue to ensure a safe, nutritious, affordable and plentiful food supply.

U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ ARS)
FY 2021 ASN Recommendation: $1.79 billion

Over the last decade, ARS’s budget has been stagnant. A $1.79 billion budget will allow the nation’s premier agricultural research programs at ARS to keep pace with innovation, emerging challenges, and global competition, and allow ARS’ national research facilities to undergo necessary maintenance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics (CDC NCHS)
FY 2021 ASN Recommendation: $189 million

NCHS has been flat funded for years, losing purchasing power while facing increased costs which make it difficult to sustain current operations. A $189 million budget will allow NCHS to keep pace with necessary survey innovations, contractual data collection obligations, and staffing demands and not cut any major surveys. 


Questions? Please contact Sarah Ohlhorst, MS, RD, Chief Science Policy Officer (240.428.3647; sohlhorst@nutrition.org)

Hill Visits

On December 6, 2017, 10 ASN members participated in ASN Capitol Hill visits. Representatives of ASN met with 20 congressional offices, including four members of Congress, to urge them to negotiate an agreement to lift the budget caps established under the 2011 Budget Control Act and to pass a fiscal year 2018 budget through an omnibus appropriations bill or any format that avoids another “continuing resolution” (CR). ASN members framed their discussions by sharing personal stories about how federal funding cuts affect their research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other research agencies. Participants suggested that Congress view nutrition research laboratories as small businesses, which lose purchasing power and are forced to lay-off staff as a result of funding cuts. Several also spoke about the importance of having funding to train the next generation of nutrition scientists as well as the lack of career opportunities available for younger researchers in the current climate. Members of Congress and their staff expressed appreciation for the information shared by ASN members.

ASN has also held Hill Day events in 2007, 2013, and 2014, and regularly joins nearly 400 other advocates from scientific organizations, patient groups, and research institutions to take part in the Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day. Now in its fifth year, this event urges Congress to provide support for the NIH.

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