Summer 2017

Our Work Is in Jeopardy

A message from the acting director of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Fifty years ago, the United States committed to improving the nutrition status of vulnerable populations and investing in aging research because of the determination and vision of Dr. Jean Mayer, noted nutritionist, former president of Tufts University and the man for whom our center was named. Since that time, research from the HNRCA has improved the well-being of millions of Americans who now lead healthier and more independent lives.

Now, the work of the HNRCA is in jeopardy. President Trump has proposed a 22-percent reduction in the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and a 50-percent reduction in its human nutrition program. This would eliminate 17 national programs, including the nutrition centers at Tufts University, the University of Arkansas and Baylor University. He has also proposed major funding cuts to other research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health.

Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco has been in close communication with our Massachusetts Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., to request that these devastating cuts not be implemented. In late June, he met with members of the delegation to discuss the impact the cuts would have on the university and the important innovative research that is underway here. “At a time when health care is at the top of the American agenda, it makes no sense to eliminate a center that makes a major contribution to the health of our society,” Monaco said. “The science at the HNRCA is translated into policy and action and is crucial to uncovering the keys to healthy aging and to reducing the impacts of chronic disease.” We have received the strong support of our entire delegation in both the House and Senate.

As this magazine went to press, the budget debate was in its early stages, but we are pleased to report that the Senate and House Agriculture Committees voiced strong opposition to closing any research facilities this year. It’s difficult to predict the level of funding they will approve or when this will be resolved. If you are interested in receiving timely information about our funding situation, please email us at

Let’s honor Jean Mayer and promote the role of food, nutrition and physical activity in healthy aging for our elders now.

Sarah Booth, Ph.D.

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