Past-Presidents Patrick Stover & Marion Neuhouser commission Strategic Oversight Committee (SOC) to develop recommendations for VISION 2028
Timeline of Events
VISION 2028 Summit
Table of Contents
This Green Paper is a consultation document for membership and stakeholders of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). The consultation period will be open from June – August 15, 2018 with active in-person feedback sought at ASN’s flagship meeting, Nutrition2018, June 9-12, 2018 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. The results of your input will be incorporated into a White Paper for consideration and adoption by the ASN Board of Directors in October 2018. The VISION 2028 White Paper will set-out ASN’s 10-year vision leading up to 2028 together with an initial 3-year implementation plan as we start this journey together.
ASN President, Patrick Stover, first proposed the remit for VISION 2028 in 2015 to prepare the Society for its centenary in 2028. The plan was endorsed and actioned during Marion Neuhouser’s Presidential term, and ASN’s Strategic Oversight Committee (SOC) was charged with delivery. The subsequent activities and future timeline are listed in the frontispiece to this paper.
The purpose of VISION 2028 is to review ASN’s achievements in implementing the 2012-2016 Strategic Map, to identify any unfinished business from that map, and – critically – to create a fresh 10-year vision that will build on current strengths as ASN seeks new challenges.
On December 7-8, 2017 ASN convened the VISION 2028 Summit in Washington, DC. The professionally-facilitated brainstorming session was attended by over 100 participants from across all constituencies of membership (see Annex 1). The bulleted outputs from the Summit, together with the levels of support that the ideas accrued from participants are listed in Annex 2.
Many of the suggestions focused on topics already covered by the main pillars of the 2012-2016 Strategic Map under categories of membership, conferences, education, advocacy & policy, and partnerships. The proposals recognized the very substantial achievements and progress by ASN since 2012. They contained novel and actionable suggestions that will be reviewed for adoption by the relevant ASN players. They will reinvigorate ASN’s current vision of being ‘The Authoritative Global Leader in Nutrition through Science’.
Valuable as these suggestions are, they nonetheless represent business as usual, albeit an enhanced business as usual. They fall short of addressing the vast opportunities before us to take a bolder stand in our field, facing a set of new challenges that could transform our society in readiness for its second century.
The most radical proposal emerging from the December Summit, and subsequently endorsed by the SOC as the core innovation, is that ASN should evolve beyond the usual boundaries of an academic society that predominantly serves its members. We propose that ASN should adopt a new outward-facing role to more actively leverage our science in the service of humanity (and animals) through the active translation and promotion of optimal nutrition for health. ASN leadership believes that such an evolution will enhance the Society’s strengths in science, promote exciting new opportunities for members, and instill a greater pride in our core values as we contribute to the wider society.
This proposal is the main subject of the current Green Paper. The President, SOC and Executive of ASN seek your endorsement in principle and your detailed suggestions to be incorporated into a White Paper as the basis on which to design the initial 3-year implementation phase a 10-year vision leading up to ASN’s Centenary in 2028.
In 2005, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (formerly the American Institute for Nutrition established in 1928), merged with the American Society for Clinical Nutrition (established 1961) and the Society for International Nutrition (established 1996) to form the American Society of Nutrition (ASN). Further details of ASN’s history are available on the ASN website.
Thus, although ASN itself is only a little over a decade old, we trace our direct antecedents back to 1928 and will hence celebrate our centenary in 2028; just 10 years from now.
In 2015 Past-President Stover proposed that ASN should undertake a radical visioning exercise termed ‘VISION 2028’; this would involve a ’foresight’ process in which the Strategic Oversight Committee (SOC) was commissioned to involve the broad membership in a horizon scanning exercise to answer some of the big questions of our time, such as:
How will nutritional sciences have evolved by 2028, and how can ASN best serve its members to meet these new challenges?
What and how will people eat in the future, and who will influence these patterns?
Can nutritional sciences be used to optimise diet-related health in humans and animals?
How can ASN best promote goods diets and health for Americans and others worldwide? Would ASN want to adopt such a role?
Who will be the movers-and-shakers in the world of foods and diets in 2028? Does ASN want to be among these?
How will the digital society influence how we live by 2028, and how can ASN evolve to succeed within such a brave new world?
Many businesses, civil organisations and governments adopt a 10-year horizon for visioning purposes as they aspire to become, and remain, fit for the future. Accordingly, ASN has initiated the VISION 2028 endeavour in 2018.
Progress so far
The timeline above provides an overview of the actions undertaken so far and the intended future timeline.
A key step in the process was the VISION 2028 Summit convened in Washington, DC on 7th and 8th December 2017. This was a professionally-facilitated visioning workshop attended by over 100 members who demonstrated their commitment by paying their own expenses. The attendee list was drawn up by the SOC and Executive with the intent of having representation from all constituencies with our Society. There was intentional over-representation by members who had experience in leading the Society, especially through its period of change in 2005. This document arises from the consolidated ideas generated by the Summit. A brief video capturing the energy generated at the summit can be viewed here.
The Green Paper is a synopsis of the recommendations from the Summit, as further reviewed and refined by the SOC and consultant. Additional comments and suggestions received will be incorporated into a White Paper which will be presented to the ASN Board of Directors in October 2018.
We now require your input, from now until 15th August 2018, to help shape the proposed White Paper according to your own personal vision of how ASN could best evolve to be fit for the future. You are invited to respond to the consultation as individuals or as interest groups (eg through a Council or RIS). The preferred mechanism for sending comments is outlined at the end of the paper (Page 13).
The following sections summarise the ideas generated at the VISION 2028 Summit. They have been divided into two categories: 1) Advancement and improvements to ‘business as usual’; and 2) New challenges and opportunities for ASN. Readers with insufficient time to review this entire document are encouraged to start with Category 2 since the new proposals therein form the core of this consultation.
In reviewing the new ideas, we urge members to be bold in the knowledge that our Society is already in an exceptionally strong position as the world’s premiere nutrition society. ASN at its core is a nutrition research society. While continuing to grow these investments in our nutrition research core, we believe that the foundations are set for ASN to embark on new and exciting ventures that will take us far beyond what we do now.
VISION 2028 Summit Ideas – Category 1
Advancement and improvements to ‘business as usual’
a) Membership and membership services
ASN membership and revenue have shown exceptional growth over recent years at a time when other academic societies have struggled. New membership categories have been created that enrich the association without diminishing its high scientific credentials. Members across the diverse segments of ASN receive high value benefits and excellent value for money. Concerns remain about serving clinicians and animal scientists. The following suggests were made:
- Establish a portfolio of grant opportunities to enhance research capabilities and collaboration with members of other societies
- Develop Continuing Medical Education (CME) opportunities for the breadth of membership
- Develop fellows’ (certification) programs
- Create membership opportunities for individuals in other societies at the time that they renew membership in their home society
- Co-sponsor relevant symposia at annual meetings of other societies or ASN annual meeting
- Partner with American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and other medical societies to develop materials for use in practice
The new format for ASN’s major annual meeting is yet to be tested but registrations and abstracts received for Nutrition2018 are at an all-time high suggesting that interest is very high. The suggestions listed below were made prior to Summit attendees seeing an advanced program for the Boston meeting. There was a clear desire to remain the sponsor of the “go to meetings” for the nutrition community; to maintain high quality, rigorous science; to foster multi-disciplinary, cross-cutting themes consistent with modern team-based science; and to offer robust mentorship and career development activities for all career stages. Specific suggestions were:
- Empower the program planning committee to have more autonomy and choose/invite most rigorous nutrition science including controversial sessions
- New mini symposium model: less RIS based, more topic based
- Application of high tech tools to enhance presenter and attendee experience including video posters, special apps, YouTube-like presentations
- Conduct multi-society, multi-disciplinary annual meeting
- Conduct specialized conferences and workshops
- Offer enhanced career development sessions and activities
ASN already runs the top specialist journals in nutrition science and has recently diversified its portfolio and moved more actively into the open access publishing model. Summit participants urged ASN to:
- Maintain high Impact: Be in the premier (top 10) health journal ranks; get more eyes on the journals
- Have a strong editorial voice
- Host more perspectives, invited editorials and commentaries
- Focus blogging
- Consider additional content types (e.g. methods summaries; best practices; and ASN journal contributions to policy)
- Embrace reproducibility/transparency
- Open Access: Be at the forefront of open access policy, procedure, technology
- Rethink revenue model
- Develop new model for peer review
- Reviewer training
- Traditional vs. crowd source
- Improve translation: Increase research dissemination through translation/outreach efforts
d) Advocacy & policy
ASN already has a strong voice in advocacy and policy development, both as a society and through the actions of its many high-profile leaders in our field. Our website displays ASN’s commitment and actions including, for instance, the award of Science Policy Fellowships with their associated mentoring programs.
Summit attendees agreed that ASN is the leading advocate, convener and resource for science-based nutrition evidence for policy makers, and urged further efforts to:
- Build additional resources and capacity to remain the lead voice for advocacy policy
- Increase funding for nutrition science and nutrition-related feeding and education programs through advocacy
- Demonstrate through advocacy efforts that federal investments in nutrition research and nutrition delivery programs reduce overall healthcare costs and are critical to public health for providing well-being and economic stability
- ASN leads advocacy efforts to improve transparency and collaboration in developing DRIs, DGAs, and other nutrition standards
- ASN advocates for research and policies to address domestic and global nutrition issues across multiple channels (e.g. global food insecurity, sustainable food and water, etc.).
- ASN advocates for reimbursement of all nutrition services by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and private insurers.
VISION 2028 Summit Ideas – Category 2
New challenges and opportunities for ASN
A review of the ASN website and our activities quickly reveals that, in 2018, our Society is mainly focussed on serving its members; we have a largely inward-facing attitude and devote the greater part of our efforts and resources towards our own ends.
One of the working groups at the December VISION 2028 Summit proposed that ASN, whilst maintaining and expanding its core values and membership services, should now additionally develop a much more outward-facing attitude through which we could more-actively translate our research and knowledge to better serve the world at large. This proposal resonated with members’ aspirations to better contribute to society, and gathered a strong groundswell of support.
In the summary of the Summit outputs listed in Annex 2 this new vision is captured in the proposed new vision statement: Improve Global Health through Good Nutrition. Subsequent discussion by the SOC revealed that the word ‘global’ can be easily misunderstood and to some people may imply international or overseas. This is not the case. Alternative suggestions will be sought as part of this consultation process. In the interim it is important to focus on the intent of the statement; namely to articulate a new vision in which ASN enhances its contribution to society at large by becoming a stronger guiding force that will contribute to better animal and human health through good nutrition.
Readers of this document will be well acquainted with the many and diverse problems that nutritionists face in trying to articulate responsible, evidence-based advice to the multiple stakeholders in the food and diet arena, and to people at large, especially against an increasingly loud background of digital misinformation. The challenges are legion and will need to be addressed in the early phases of ASN’s new 10-year plan.
The vision that ASN should develop a much more public-serving function by 2028 is strongly endorsed by the Strategic Oversight Committee and by Leadership. ASN Leadership are excited by the opportunities that such a move would represent and are confident that the initiative would not only enhance ASN’s core functions, but will open up a whole new field of endeavour increasing the utilization of the best nutrition science to improve health for those around the globe.
SOC is cognisant that some members will view the new proposal as mission drift and as a potential threat to our core values as a research-based academic society. The purpose of this consultation is therefore to ask you – the members – whether you endorse in principle the proposal that the main thrust of VISION 2028 will be to grow our society to a position where we start our second century as a major contributor to public health through good nutrition.
If consensus is reached in support of this vision the next step will be to outline an initial 3-year action plan. The VISION 2028 summit proposed that such a plan could consider the following elements:
a) Public Facing Communications
Some years ago, ASN started to produce a small number of position papers on issues of public health and consumer concern and appointed spokespersons. The investment in the initiative was small and it was not sustained. The VISION 2028 Summit attendees showed strong support for the proposal that ASN should become a more active player in diet-related health debates. They proposed that ASN should develop:
High-quality service-driven nutrition information readily available and actively consumed by the public as a result of ASN being a responsive, proactive, credible and visible source
- Take positions/translate science
- Unravel controversies & react to anti-scientific voices
- Identify experts on specific topics within ASN membership
- Translate & disseminate new information
- Creating tools:
- Digital information strategy development
- Science literacy tools
- Media training
- Collaborative consensus statements
A review of the program for Nutrition 2028 in Boston confirms ASN’s dedication to member advancement through a wide range of skills development and mentorship. The proposals listed below go beyond ASN membership and propose that ASN should adopt an active role in advancing nutrition education beyond the boundaries of our membership.
Graduate Education: ASN establishes guidelines, a framework and best practices for graduate education programs in nutritional science
- Establish body of knowledge & competencies for guidelines, & certifications/Accrediting body for certification
- Nutrition programs need to develop evaluation tools (rubric)
Medical Education: ASN to strive to become the coordinating body to improve nutrition education & training for medical students & other healthcare related professionals
- Confirm multidisciplinary stakeholders
- Secure funding
- Appoint oversight body
- Develop multi-year plan
Online Education: Develop and publish online nutritional sciences educational content, resources & best teaching practices plus research techniques
- Needs assessment including technology
- Establish oversight body including key stakeholders
- Develop business plan
- Educational research aimed at identifying best teaching and learning practices that leverage technology in and out of classroom
Activities at ASN meeting including mentorship, program, funding opportunities, award opportunities, diversity. (Note that these suggestions are, in considerable part, already adopted).
c) New Products, Services, & Programs
Summit attendees proposed that by 2028 ASN will deliver a portfolio of products, services and programs that are rapid, relevant and customized by audience. Products will serve traditional members, as well as non-members, influencers (i.e. start-ups, media, health professionals), and the general public globally. Specifically these might include:
- Differentiated educational tools for non-member health professionals (e.g. sports exercise experts, educators and the media).
- Market analysis, cost analysis, identification of topics, formats, source of experts for content development.
- Network for expert-matching between start-ups and ASN expert members (i.e. 23andMe doing nutrition research). Pilot as online database, then in person meetings with startups/members.
- ASN brand for approved education materials, similar to the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Check. Start first with insights for value proposition, by customers including health professionals.
- Internal ASN member vetting tool via an online community for research ideas, hot topic POVs, education materials for health professionals, professors, RDs. As first step, pilot on ASN NutriLink
ASN already partners with several other research- and policy-based organizations and with industry through our Sustaining Partners network and activities. The Summit encouraged ASN, by 2028, to become the central hub for nutrition science knowledge, driving partnerships with local and global organizations (focused on food supply, healthcare practice, and environmental stewardships) dedicated to improve and maintain health. Specific proposals were:
- ASN needs partnership process/rules of engagement to include defining partners with shared/common goals, establish ways of working for mutual benefit, and to establish metrics to measure success/impact.
- Establish speakers’ bureau that represents our relationships, includes other expertise/organizations.
- Maximize use of media for dissemination of messages.
- Training programs/modules developed within business partnerships with other organizations; ideas include boot camp for media, nutrition science for food scientists/developers, and bringing training into ASN from other disciplines such as social science.
- Partnerships in rapid responses to evolving issues.
- ASN active presence at partner meeting (e.g. symposia).
- ASN also brings in more partners to ASN annual meeting.
How to respond to this consultation
There are multiple opportunities to register your input this summer.
The easiest and most secure way to ensure that your input is captured is to provide input via the Vision 2028 website. You may also email your comments and questions to the ASN Executive Office at SEC@nutrition.org.
During Nutrition 2018, June 9-12, in Boston, MA, there were two informal discussion activities open to all registrants:
Saturday, June 8
7:00 pm-7:30 pm
Vision 2028 Presentation
ASN Live! Main Stage
Presenter: Andrew Prentice, PhD
Chair, ASN Strategic Oversight Committee
Hynes Convention Centre, Hall C
Saturday, June 8
7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
ASN 2028 Discussion
ASN Live! Conversation Corner
Facilitator: Andrew Prentice, PhD
Chair, ASN Strategic Oversight Committee
Hynes Convention Centre, Hall C
The chair (Andrew Prentice) and members of the SOC (see listing in Annex 3), the ASN Leadership (especially President Mary Ann Johnson), and the ASN Executive (especially John Courtney and Mary Pat Cornett) will welcome face-to-face dialogue or emailed exchanges at any time. We will look for more opportunities for engagement throughout the summer and share them via ASN Nutrition Notes.
The American Society for Nutrition is deeply grateful to the dedicated members and stakeholders who invested considerable time, effort and financial support to the development of the Vision 2028 thus far.
In particular, we express our thanks on behalf of the ASN membership to:
Rick Goldstein, Kensington Consulting
Helena Light Hadley
We offer thanks in advance to you for reading the Green Paper, and extend our gratitude to the hundreds, hopefully thousands, more who will read the Green Paper and provide additional comment and suggestion to move ASN forward to 2028.