The Texas A&M AgriLife Institute to Advance Health Through AgricultureAgriculture as a solution to diet-related chronic diseases in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner through its October 7 event at the Shirley and Joe Swinbank ’74 AgriLife Center.
The event, “Ag Solves when Aggies Solve”, highlighted how to do it Texas A&M Agrilife Researchers are fast developing this idea and featured headlines by Chavonda Jacobs Young, Ph.D., US Department of Agriculture Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, Horth “Howdy” Bouis, Ph.D., 2016 recipient of the World Food Prize.
“We are proud to have the Texas A&M AgriLife Institute for Health Promotion Through Agriculture as a partner in innovation as we work toward President Biden’s comprehensive plan for government and society at large to advance food security and diet-related disease,” Jacobs Young said.
More than 150 Aggies gathered for this event, learn about IHA’s mission and get updates on recent research funding and other future opportunities.
Texas A&M University leads the way
“The health of all of Texas has the potential to improve through our work,” said John Sharp, president of the Texas A&M University System. “It will require that we all cooperate, look for opportunities to engage with fellow land grant universities and work together.”
Following Sharp’s opening notes and headlines, IHA Affiliate Members He gave a series of flash talks about innovative research via Micro NutritionAnd the Responsive Agriculture And the Healthy social and behavioral life Research.
The lightning speakers were:
- Reagan Bailey, Ph.D., IHA Associate Director of MicroNutrition, “Leveraging Micronutrition for the Health of Texas.”
- Yuxiang Sun, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Researchprofessor, Nutrition DepartmentGhrelin Signaling in Health and Disease: An Immunometabolic Perspective.
- Marco Palma, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Agricultural Economicsboss human behavior lab“Using altruism to drive behavioral changes.”
- Sunil Zobhdal Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Human Environment, Prairie View A&M University“Understanding the Economics of American Goat Meat Markets.”
- Beth Racine, Ph.D., Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in El Pasoand associate division head of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at Nutrition Department“SNAP, WIC, and Food Retail.”
- Bill Rooney, Ph.D., Regent Professor and Borlaug Monsanto Chair in Plant Breeding and International Crop Improvement, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences“Developing a Specialty Cereal-Sorghum Hybrid for Health Food Markets.”
Since its launch in February, IHA has made incredible progress, securing top talent for leadership positions, awarding more than $1.5 million to Texas A&M AgriLife researchers and advancing key research initiatives, including the use of new mobile health assessment units whose primary goal is to provide researchers with the ability to Reaching disadvantaged populations across Texas, promoting health equity and reducing health disparities.
“In just seven months, this team has launched an institute that is poised to be the catalyst for changing food systems around the world,” said Patrick Stover, PhD, director of the IHA. “Everyone in this room plays an important role in this effort, and the point of today’s event is to celebrate all of you and what we are working collectively to achieve.”
IHA has an integrated USDA research unit-Agricultural Research Service, which focuses on responsive agriculture, including the use of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. IHA is the first academic institution in the world to use precision nutrition, responsive agriculture, and healthy social and behavioral living research together to improve human health in a way that supports the environment and producers.
From the perspective that agriculture is the solution to chronic, diet-related diseases, IHA serves as a platform for exchanging big ideas to improve human health, economic prosperity, and support the environment.
Boas, an economist who focuses on agriculture, nutrition outcomes and reducing micronutrient malnutrition, spoke about the gradual use of agriculture in low-income countries with an emphasis on plant breeding.
In 2016, Bouis was awarded World Food Prize For his efforts in the development of biofortification. The World Food Prize Committee said it focused tirelessly on showing that “agriculture can provide more staple food crops, which can reduce micronutrient deficiencies that can cause malnutrition, blindness, disease and even early death among vulnerable populations in Africa, Asia and America.” Latin, especially children under the age of five.
“Agricultural solutions to reduce malnutrition tend to be the most cost-effective and sustainable interventions, although patience and persistence over many years are required to mainstream these solutions into food systems,” Boyce said in his keynote address. “So I was excited to learn about the visual foundation of the IHA and the involvement of the USDA-ARS, and to educate about the methods being taken.”
Advancing the mission of IHA
IHA brought more than 90 Affiliate Members. Affiliate members provide meaningful support for the mission and vision of the IHA, such as enhancing technical capabilities and serving as co-investigators. Researchers can apply To become IHA affiliate members at any time, connect them with other IHA researchers and give them access to important information from IHA.
At the same time, IHA awarded $1.5 million to support precision nutrition, responsive agriculture, and healthy social and behavioral living research for 15 participating IHA members. Six of these researchers presented their latest work during the event to highlight key research efforts underway.
“Incorporating knowledge in precision nutrition, responsive agriculture, and social and behavioral sciences will be an effective approach to improving human health through agriculture,” said Zohbedel. Stover said the IHA team looks forward to continuing to build on its mission by partnering with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to host a conference on Agriculture for Health in early November in Chicago for thought leaders throughout the agri-food value chain. The conference seeks to set priorities for addressing challenges to human health, economic vitality and the environment through agriculture. More information to come.
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