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The Development of DRIs 1994–2004: Lessons Learned and New Challenges - Workshop Summary
Presenter: Paul Coates
I am pleased to offer closing remarks on behalf of the U.S. and Canadian sponsors. Let me begin by saying that we owe a debt of thanks to those who devoted their time and intellect to the development of the DRIs. Furthermore, we wish to acknowledge the valuable role that the IOM has played, along with the study committees, in informing public health nutrition policy through these nutrient reference values. Both governments have benefited by having a sound scientific basis available for making appropriate nutrition policy decisions. Moreover, as you may know, the two governments have played a role in the development of these reference values. Overall, we can learn much from one another—and the hope is that these collaborations may serve as a starting point or even a model for similar developments around the world.
The U.S.–Canadian collaboration began with joint sponsorship of the development of the DRIs in the early 1990s. Both countries have DRI steering committees, and active joint discussions are a key component of our liaison activities. The overall effort has resulted in a series of important documents—the DRI volumes that have guided policy and informed dietary recommendations. More recently, the Canadian government sponsored the IOM preparation of a single-volume guide to the DRIs (IOM, 2006), published in English and French. The French version provides access to the 30 percent of Canadians for whom French is their first language.
Another collaborative effort is the recent project to synthesize and publish the entire set of research recommendations contained in the six volumes of the DRIs (IOM, 2007). The database associated with the project will soon be made completely accessible and highlights the knowledge needed to improve future DRI values.
This week’s workshop on the DRI development process comes at the close of the decade-long DRI initiative and represents the culmination of several important collaborations. All groups represented here today have played a crucial role. In this respect, we have easily met the goals we hoped to accomplish in this meeting. Participants promoted a broad and critical evaluation of the current DRI model, and the meeting provided a locus for discussion of the lessons learned and the challenges we face in developing future DRI-related efforts.
Speaking on behalf of the workshop’s sponsors, we were struck by the enormous value of the DRI initiative overall and by the remarkable candor of the meeting participants about their experiences in contributing to the initiative. Their willingness to offer this type of input is a measure of how important the DRI effort is and how committed the participants are to bringing the best information to bear on what ultimately supports our public health recommendations. Although consensus was not a component