DAI Experts Share Lessons Learned at Health and Agriculture Conference

June 17, 2013

Jerry Martin, DAI’s Global Practice Leader for One Health and Infectious Disease, and Robert Salerno, DAI’s Specialist in Health, Nutrition, and Livelihoods, each presented papers on the linkages between agriculture and health at the 3rd Annual Leverhulme Center for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) conference “Developing methods in agriculture and health research,” on June 13–14.

The 2013 conference, held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focused on the methodological and integrative aspects of research in agriculture and health. The meeting aimed to foster collaboration between social scientists representing a variety of disciplines including nutrition, economics, anthropology, veterinary medicine, and international development. Presentations highlighted new methods for measuring the causal links between health and agriculture; developments in current interdisciplinary research; and how to do more agri-health and nutrition-sensitive activities.

Robert shared results from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Urban Gardens Program for HIV/AIDS Affected Women and Children and highlighted lessons learned for building sustainable school-based urban gardens for vulnerable children. Jerry presented on a value chain approach used in the USAID-funded Strategies Against Flu Emergence program aimed at identifying disease transmission risks in the food value chain.

“Despite great advances in multidisciplinary agriculture and health research, there is still a big gap in building valuable collaborations between the researchers, project designers, and field-based implementers such as DAI,” said Jerry. “If it’s our goal to create more evidence-based nutrition-sensitive interventions, we need to do a better job working together as researchers, practitioners, and donors.”

The LCIRAH conference was attended by more than 150 participants from academia, research institutions, bilateral and multilateral agencies, donors, foundations, and international and local nongovernmental organizations. This year’s conference showcased four panels, more than 40 papers, and 24 speakers from all over the world with a special focus on research that explicitly draws links between agriculture and health.

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