The purpose of the workshop was
• to allow participants representing the private sector, academia, government, and public-interest nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to openly explore the merits of public–private partnerships in promoting public health;
• to foster communication and cooperation between participants from different sectors around the fundamental characteristics and considerations that help build healthy, sustainable partnerships; and
• to engender dialogue on opportunities of mutual interest in the food arena, such as research, that are most conducive for partnerships.
The goals of the meeting were to develop an understanding of
• the paradigms and goals from which each sector operates;
• the range of collaborative relationships possible, how constructive interactions can be developed, and how communication and dialogue on partnership formation can be initiated in a way that builds trust; and
• the process and actions necessary to facilitate partnership development.
As Michael McGinnis, senior scholar and director of the IOM’s Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care, observed in his concluding remarks and as demonstrated in this summary, the workshop achieved its stated goals. Through extensive discussion of the risks and benefits of public–private collaboration and the identification of best practices and models for constructive partnering, including how to manage some of the key ethical challenges of public–private interaction, many workshop participants identified not only common ground for moving forward but also direction for action.
The workshop built upon and complemented several other recent workshops. For example, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) co-hosted a meeting on September 30, 2011, with the goal of starting a conversation among government, academic, and industry scientists on gaps in food and nutrition knowledge and identifying research areas of mutual interest. According to Cheryl Toner, fellow to the Nutritional Science Research Group at NCI, the conversation focused on two key questions. First, what broad areas of nutrition research that are of mutual interest to the food industry, government, and academia have the greatest potential for a positive impact on public health in the medium to long term? Second, what