Vitamin Angels embraced a full event, conference, and meeting calendar, taking a prominent role in the broader public health conversation in 2023.
Ashutosh Mishra, MBBS, MPH, MS Vitamin Angels’ IS Technical Director, Asia and Aishwarya Panicker, M.Sc. Vitamin Angels’ Technical Specialist, Nutrition Programs Asia, presented findings from a landscape analysis on micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant and lactating women in India at a webinar “Current Evidence on Maternal Multiple Micronutrient Deficiencies (MMD) and Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS) in India” organized by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Dec 13.
There he moderated a seminar titled: “Suboptimal Complementary Feeding Practices in LATAM: An urgent call to action”. Ivonne Ramirez PhD, National Institute of Public Health (Mexico); Reyna Lira PhD, Research Institute of Nutrition (Peru); Giovanna Gatica PhD (WHO, Geneva); and Rafael Perez-Escamilla PhD (Yale, School of Public Health) participated in the session. This opportunity helped to advance complementary feeding advocacy in the region and also increased Vitamin Angels’ visibility, particularly among Spanish-speaking countries.
Vitamin Angels attended the Micronutrient Forum’s 6th Annual Global Conference October 16-20, 2023, in The Hague, Netherlands. The 2023 theme focused on Nutrition for Resilience (N4R).
Vitamin Angels had a strong presence at this year’s conference with 19 Vitamin Angels staff and consultants attending from across the world, a full gold sponsorship with a stylized booth and communications materials throughout the conference, a sponsored symposium (on country-specific examples of our work in implementation research), 12 poster presentations, 4 oral presentations, and a live-streaming “meet the experts” interview broadcast to all conference attendees.
The Micronutrient Forum, and its partners, are on a clearly defined mission to combat micronutrient malnutrition by informing and supporting research, policies, and investments, and galvanizing collective action on micronutrient-related issues across health, development, and disease prevention.
The Micronutrient Forum conference provided a unique opportunity for Vitamin Angels to gather with our scientific peers to share ideas and research, form powerful connections, and set the tone and direction for the future of global public health nutrition.
A poster on Vitamin Angels’ Nutrition in Pregnancy Continuing Medical Education course was presented at The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics FIGO XXIV World Congress October 9-13, 2023, in Paris, France.
This poster presentation provided an opportunity to promote our work at the intersection of obstetrics/gynecology and public health nutrition and advance maternal health via healthcare provider training. There was little like-research/discussion from among the other scientific offerings at the conference, so the work was warmly received.
Vitamin Angels attended the American Society for Nutrition’s (ASN) national conference, NUTRITION 2023, July 22-25 in Boston, MA. At the event, Audrey J. Buckland—a PhD candidate at JHU doing research funded by Vitamin Angels to better understand the barriers and enablers to successful breastfeeding among those living within a border community—presented a poster titled, Protocol for a Formative Research Study to Understand How to Reduce Breastfeeding Inequities Among Latine Families Living in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region of Arizona.
Vitamin Angels sent a group of delegates to the MMS Africa Regional Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 12-14, 2023, hosted by Health Mothers, Healthy Babies consortium. Here talks continued from the sister meeting previously held in Indonesia in the fall of 2022 (see below).
Given Vitamin Angels’ strong presence distributing MMS in Africa, several home office staff and African country advisors were invited to attend these important talks, where Vitamin Angels played a key role in helping to shape and define the future of maternal health in the African region and globally.
Vitamin Angels attended the AVPN Global Conference 2023, June 20-22nd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This conference is a large-scale impact investment-focused convening in Asia that recognizes the role of, and need for, philanthropy and social investment to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the conference, Vitamin Angels’ President, India, Sunish Jauhari, Senior Regional Technical Director, Asia, Ashutosh Mishra, MBBS, MPH, MS, and Philippines Country Program Manager Luz R Escubil, MD, MPH facilitated a discussion on the importance of “Investing in Maternal Health to Achieve SDGs”. The conversation explored innovative and collaborative approaches to advancing maternal, infant, and child health and how it contributes to greater equity.
Vitamin Angels attended the AlignMNH International Maternal Newborn Health Conference (IMNHC) in Cape Town, South Africa May 8th-11th. There, Sight and Life hosted a symposium to launch the MMS Special Report: Second Edition, featuring co-authored research by Vitamin Angels division members. Vitamin Angels’ Chief Nutrition Officer, Kristen M. Hurley, PhD, MPH was a panelist at the symposium discussing our collaborative work.
Vitamin Angels attended the 2023 NWA Annual Education and Training Conference May 1 – 4, 2023 in San Diego, California.
Vitamin Angels’ Sr. Program Officer of US/Canada, Bridget Quanstrom attended the conference as an exhibitor to build awareness and promote the opportunity for program partnership. This national annual conference attracts attendees from the 1,000 WIC community members who are key decision makers representing the US Department of Agriculture, the 90 state and ITO WIC agencies, and over 2,200 local WIC agencies from across the nation. Bridget’s attendance will help Vitamin Angels extend our reach in the US and build a stronger partnership with this organization working to make an impact on maternal health on a national scale.
Vitamin Angels is collaborating with BSPH to support MMS introduction efforts among Palestine refugees. This work was featured in CSIS’s recent webcast designed to explore the use of MMS in humanitarian contexts, Multiple Micronutrient Supplements: Achieving a critical standard of care for pregnancy in humanitarian settings. The webinar featured representatives from UNICEF, UNRWA, the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium, and The Junaid Family Foundation. During the webinar, Dr. Akihiro Seita, Director of Health, UNRWA describes the IS work in Jordan, which was made possible through the support of Vitamin Angels and Kirk Humanitarian. This feature emphasizes our ability to partner with a complex network of partners—NGOs, governments, donors, and academia—and underscores our work in vulnerable communities. Dr. Keith P. West (Professor at JHU, BSPH, Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition), and Masako Horino (BSPH DrPH student and Research Associate and Communications Officer at UNRWA) are leading the work in Jordan and joined us in Santa Barbara the week of April 23rd to share more about this project with the Vitamin Angels’ team.
On the webinar, the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Consortium also announced the release of a new MMS policy brief that identifies 5 recommendations for advocates and decision-makers to effectively address micronutrient deficiencies in women and girls in humanitarian contexts.
We encourage you to listen to the webcast to learn more about how the Program team is working to support MMS in humanitarian contexts.
On Tuesday January 10th, 2023, Vitamin Angels’ Senior Technical Advisor and Board Member, Dr. Clayton Ajello led a discussion on the need to scale the global supply of MMS to meet the growing demand. This webinar, presented by the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies (HMHB) consortium and hosted by the Micronutrient Forum, was 2023’s first in a series of ‘Coffee and Chai Chats’ featuring leading global experts in the field of maternal nutrition and health, targeted to global public health professionals.
In October 2022 representatives from the Vitamin Angels team traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia to join representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, including NGOs, government participants, and international organizations such as Nutrition International, Micronutrient Forum, and UNICEF, for the first regional meeting to advance UNIMMAP MMS.
The meeting provided participants the opportunity to review and compare experiences and learnings from across the Asia region and to identify insights to inform the next phases of MMS introduction. Ultimately, the outcomes of this meeting will inform effective, context-specific introduction of MMS programming for pregnant women in Asia and beyond.
Vitamin Angels also sent a team of delegates from Vitamin Angels to the sister event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 12-14, 2023, where talks were extended to Africa (see above).