Nutrition Today Matters Tomorrow: The 2nd International Conference

The American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health (AUA SPH) hosted a two-day international conference on May 30-31, 2016 entitled “Nutrition Today Matters Tomorrow” with over 350 health professionals, program planners, and policy makers attending.

This conference was the second International Nutrition Conference in Armenia; it was organized and sponsored by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Institute of Human Nutrition, and the AUA School of Public Health. The focus of the conference was the importance of key micronutrients, dietary approaches to sufficiency, the importance of growth monitoring and the need for better data to develop and implement evidence based policies. The event had several sessions, panel discussions, and breakout sessions on the following topics: overview of micronutrients and cost of their deficiency; dietary approaches to micronutrient sufficiency; the need for Armenian dietary guidelines and nutrition policy, the need for better data about shortfall nutrients, vulnerable populations, and risk-benefit analyses; nutrition updates from Armenian programs; nutritional needs of children 0-5 years of age; “My Armenian Plate”; and the relationship between diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis. The conference concluded with a discussion on barriers to implementing nutrition programs and ways to overcome them.

The guest speakers of the conference included Drs. Richard Deckelbaum, Sharon Akabas and Kim Hekimian from Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition, Dr. John Bilezikian and Nicholas Hutchings from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeon, Health Nutrition Specialist Dr. Omar Dary from USAID, Dr. Eugene Dinkevich from the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Department of Peidatrics, and Dr. Edward Toromanyan, the Chief Endocrinologist. Drs. Nune Pashayan from the Ministry of Health, Hambardzum Simonyan from FAR, Anahit Demirchyan from AUA SPH, Anush Sahakyan from World Vision Armenia, Nune Dolyan from Children of Armenia Fund, and Sergey Sargsyan from Arabkir Medical Centre Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, Arin Balalian from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Talin Kevonian from Meline’s Garden made presentations on nutrition related projects in Armenia.

“Judging from the standing-room only crowd and the active engagement of the conference participants, it is obvious that there is a high level of interest in nutrition in Armenia.  The conference – our second in two years – is another step toward increasing the exchange of scientific knowledge in this field.  We look forward to collaborating with Armenian colleagues in future nutrition initiatives that were discussed in these two days,” said conference keynote speaker and member of the conference organizing committee, Dr. Kim Hekimian.

The presentations and videos from the symposium are available here.