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Getting It Right
Scientist Chairs WHO Committee on Micronutrient Interventions

Here at CHORI, we are committed to increasing the health and wellbeing of both our local and our global community. As part of this commitment, our scientists participate in a variety of different international collaborations and exchanges, offering their expertise and knowledge to the world at large. Just this past month, CHORI scientist Janet King, PhD, was appointed to chair the World Heath Organization (WHO) Committee to Review the Evidence for Global Micronutrient Interventions.

A nutrition expert who has conducted worldwide studies on micronutrient deficiencies in pregnant women and infants, among other nationally and internationally recognized research, Dr. King is leading this WHO committee in a systematic evidence-based review of 25 different WHO recommendations that have been made over the years with regard to micronutrients.


"One of the WHO's roles is to make recommendations regarding global policy on a variety of issues related to health," explains Dr. King. "In the past, these recommendations have been based on reviews of the literature, and discussions by committees which then write a report that becomes a recommendation. About two years ago, WHO initiated a new evidence-based approach for recommendations."

As a result, WHO is updating all of their policies using the new evidence-based approach. Dr. King is the chair of one of those committees, leading 21 experts to undertake an evidence-based review of all WHO recommendations involving micronutrients The Committee met in Geneva the last week of February to frame the structure of the evidence-based review for 25 different recommendations involving micronutrients.

"It's a daunting task, but WHO recommendations impact public policy in countries all over the world, and they have the power to help millions of people live healthier lives. We want to make sure that we get them right."

"When you talk about public health policy and research, there are two aspects - the science behind a particular policy, for example, does giving supplemental iron to pregnant women improve birth weight, and the logistics of a particular policy, like how do you go into a poor country with little to no infrastructure and deliver supplemental iron," says Dr. King.

"The task of our committee is to stay focused on the science - should a particular thing be done? - not the logistics, the questions related to how a particular thing should be done."

After the evidence-based reviews are completed, Dr. King's Committee will convene a second time to draft recommendations and grade the strength of the scientific evidence supporting them.

"It's a daunting task, especially reviewing 25 recommendations within 10 months," says Dr. King. "But WHO recommendations impact public policy in countries all over the world, and they have the power to help millions of people live healthier lives. We want to make sure that we get them right."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 8:49 AM

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