Looking forward to ANH2020 for more research insights
By Ankita Mondal and Richa Pande
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India
In 2019, we had the opportunity to volunteer at the 2019 ANH Academy Week, co-hosted by the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. It was a one of a kind of experience where we got to mingle with the brilliant ANH Academy team and volunteer during the sessions we were the most excited about. The 5 days of the conference was a fun-filled experience, and at the same time it helped unravel the many complexities of agriculture-nutrition research. We learned about new and innovative assessment tools, implementation strategies, impact evaluation methods, behavioural science and participatory approaches. The ANH Academy team ensured an energetic and jovial environment where people from all backgrounds, disciplines and career stages could share their knowledge and experiences. We had many enriching conversations with experts from around the world that helped us build our research insights. The off-site events further added to the experience. Last year, we loved the social night arranged by the ANH Academy team, where we had conversations over great food about everything from science to music and art. We really enjoyed ourselves!
The best part of the ANH Academy Week last year was the Learning Labs - a series of interdisciplinary training sessions in agriculture, nutrition and health research. Having a keen interest in community-based translational research, the session on “System dynamics in researching markets for nutrition” at ANH2019 was very insightful, introducing us to new approaches to develop nutrition interventions.
As early career researchers, we were fascinated with the panel discussion focusing on the importance of setting up dialogues between researchers and the private sector. We realized that public-private partnerships are essential to address many public health concerns and when working with the private sector, researchers must also take key steps to safeguard their credibility and integrity. An important timely collaboration could be to bring farmers and multinational food companies together to develop value-added nutritious foods to reduce food insecurity. This could also address the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases, largely owing to the overconsumption of packaged foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
We are excited for the virtual experience of the ANH 2020 Research Conference (Tuesday 30 June – Thursday 2 July), which has come as a very welcome breather during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to many interesting conversations, including the thematic sessions on “ag-nutrition implementation science studies”, “food safety”, “macro-level interventions” and “climate, seasonality and spatial studies”. We are excited to engage with even more speakers from many eminent universities across the world. We are also looking forward to the “innovative approaches” session for some interesting research insights on data collection, interpretation and analysis. The plenary discussion on Wednesday 1 July about “Agriculture, nutrition and health in the time of COVID-19: Challenges and priorities for research and practice” also stands out to help us understand new research priorities, as COVID-19 has already dramatically changed lives and livelihoods worldwide. The session we are the most eagerly anticipating is the keynote speech by Nobel laureate Angus Deaton on Tuesday 30 June.
The annual ANH Academy Week is a rare interdisciplinary platform that helps us understand the complexities of linking agriculture, nutrition and health research. Last week, ANH2020 began with nine Learning Labs, which set the stage for the Research Conference this week. While we look forward to the conference, we are amazed by the effort of the ANH Academy team to organize such a large event online, considering different time zones.
Our sincere thanks to Dr. Bharati Kulkarni.
Ankita Mondal is currently pursuing her PhD in Nutrition at the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. Her doctoral project focuses on improving dietary diversity of subsistence farming communities through agricultural intervention using qualitative and quantitative approaches. She is an ICMR fellow and holds a master’s degree in Applied Nutrition. She loves working with the community and believes their involvement is absolutely necessary in planning intervention programs.
Richa Pande is an ICMR research scholar at the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. She is a health and science communication enthusiast and presently working on front-of-pack nutrition labels on packaged food items. Richa holds a master’s degree in Applied Nutrition, and a diploma in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations.