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'Meeting Post-MDG Challenges: Integrating Nutrition and Child Development Interventions'

NEW YORK, February 6, 2014Today The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences and UNICEF host a launch event for Every Child's Potential: Integrating Early Childhood Development and Nutrition Interventionsa special volume of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The event focuses on how to optimize and integrate two highly complementary fields: nutrition and child development.

Held at UNICEF headquarters, the event brings together diplomats, policy-makers, and researchers from key institutions with an interest and investment in furthering children's optimal survival, growth, and development. The event comes a day after the 8th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development, which met to shape the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals.

International experts in nutrition and childhood development will present talks on the current state of evidence in integrating interventions (an assessment of overall effectiveness, factors in the success or failure of such interventions, and strategies to bring such interventions to scale), as well as the need to consider early childhood development in the post-2015 development agenda.

Speakers include Dr. Pia Britto (UNICEF), Dr. Mandana Arabi (The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science), Dr. Rafael Perez-Escamilla (Yale University), Dr. Jane Lucas (consultant at the World Health Organization), Lucy Sullivan (1,000 days), Annals volume editors Dr. Maureen Black (University of Maryland) and Dr. Kathryn Dewey (University of California at Davis), and Annals authors Dr. Michael Georgieff (University of Minnesota), Dr. Sally McGregor (The University College of London), and Dr. Aisha Yousafzai (Aga Khan University). Welcome remarks will be provided by Dr. Nicholas Alipui (UNICEF) and Dr. Werner Schultink (UNICEF).

As World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan points out in her opening Annals commentary ("Investing in early childhood development: an imperative for sustainable development"), much progress has been made on the MDG goal of reducing childhood mortality, but there is still much work to be done in terms of helping every child reach his or her full development potentialachieved through a combination of health, nutrition, and psychosocial factors.

Says Chan in her commentary, "every individual should have the right to attain their full development potential. Good health and education are critical ingredients for individuals to progress and for societies to reduce inequalities."

Science supports the premise that a global commitment to early childhood development is a key factor in creating healthier, more successful societies. However, the steps taken to achieve such a goal must also be grounded in sound science in order to lead to the desired outcomes. At the event, researchers, government leaders, and policy-makers will come together to discuss critical evidence-based strategies to help all children achieve their full development potential.

"This is a critical time for us to review our achievements towards the Millennium Development Goals, and come together as a unified community of scientists, program implementers, and policy experts to address the remaining challenges of the post-MDG era," says Dr. Mandana Arabi, executive director of The Sackler Institute. "Nutrition and early childhood development interventions are among the key areas of focus for ensuring the optimal well-being of children worldwide, and we are committed to continued support of evidence-based efforts to integrate effective interventions across these areas and beyond."

"We are very pleased to support the dissemination of this important multi-disciplinary, evidence-based collaboration in Annals, with such a wide range of expert contributors working to advance and integrate knowledge of early childhood development," says Steve Miron, senior vice president of Global Research at Wiley, publisher of Annals.


Contact: Diana Friedman
New York Academy of Sciences

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