Initial Meeting Materials

Bylaws and Operating Procedures

Section I: Purpose

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) shall provide independent, science-based advice and recommendations for the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).The DGA forms the basis for Federal nutrition policy, programs, standards, and education for the general public. Issued voluntarily by USDA and HHS in 1980, 1985, and 1990, the 1995 edition of the DGA was the first statutorily mandated guidelines followed by subsequent editions in 2000, 2005, and 2010.

This Committee is a discretionary one and solely advisory in nature. It has been established for the single, time-limited task of examining the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and determining topics for which new scientific evidence is likely to be available that may inform revisions to the current guidance or suggest new guidance. The Committee will place its primary focus on the systematic review and analysis of the evidence published since the last DGAC deliberations. The findings of this review and resulting recommendations, with rationales, will be published in a report developed by the Committee and submitted to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA. The Secretaries or their designated representatives may act upon the Committee's advice and recommendations.

The Committee has been formed to support implementation of Public Law 101-445, Section 3 (7 U.S.C. 5341, the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, Title III), which directs the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to issue jointly at least every 5 years a report entitled Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The administrative role for revising the Dietary Guidelines rotates between USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and HHS's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; for the 2015 edition HHS has the administrative lead.

Section II: Authority

The DGAC operates under the regulations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Public Law 92-463 (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2, the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972), as amended) as outlined in its charter which is filed with Congress. This process ensures independent review in an open public manner, with opportunities for public participation.

Section III: Membership Selection and Appointment

The Committee shall be composed of not more than 17 members, including the Chair and Vice Chair, with the minimum number being 13. All members will be knowledgeable of current scientific information in the field of human nutrition and chronic disease and be respected published experts in their fields. Expertise is sought in specific specialty areas, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease; type 2 diabetes; overweight and obesity; osteoporosis; cancer; pediatrics; gerontology; maternal/gestational nutrition; epidemiology; general medicine; energy balance, which includes physical activity; nutrient bioavailability; nutrition biochemistry and physiology; food processing/science, safety and technology; public health; nutrition education and behavior change; and/or nutrition-related systematic review methodology. The Secretaries of HHS and USDA will appoint Committee members as Special Government Employees who shall, with the exception of travel and per diem for official travel, serve without compensation.

Equal opportunity practices, in line with HHS policies, will be followed in all membership appointments to the Committee. Ethical conduct training will be provided.

Section IV: Meeting Procedures

The Committee shall meet at the call of the HHS Designated Federal Officer (DFO), in consultation with the Chair. It is estimated that the 2015 DGAC will meet approximately five times during the projected period for its operation. More meetings will be held if it is necessary to accomplish the mission of the Committee and funds are available to support additional meetings. Committee meetings will adhere to all the requirements set forth by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). With approval of the Federal official to whom authority has been given, the Committee shall be authorized to establish subcommittees and/or working groups as necessary, which are consistent with the overall mission and operate under the provisions of FACA and other appropriate Federal Regulations; subcommittees must report all of their activities back to the DGAC in a public forum.

  1. Agenda

    The DFO will approve the agenda for all Committee meetings. Information regarding the agenda will be included in each Federal Register Notice announcing the meeting, be distributed to Committee members, and be posted online prior to each meeting.

  2. Quorum

    In order for a Committee meeting to take place, at least two thirds of the DGAC members must be present.

  3. Minutes and Records

    All documents pertaining to the DGAC deliberations will be available for public viewing. Minutes and transcripts of the meetings will be made available online.

  4. Open Meetings

    Unless otherwise determined in advance, all DGAC meetings will be open to the public, either in person and/or via web technology.

  5. Closed Meetings

    Closed meetings of the DGAC are not expected. Should a closed meeting become necessary, it would be held only under limited circumstances and in accordance with applicable law. Requests for closed meetings must be approved by HHS' Office of General Counsel (OGC) 30 days in advance of the session. Notice of a closed meeting would be published in the Federal Register at least 15 calendar days in advance of the meeting.

Section V: Public Comments

Written comments from the public will be accepted throughout the Committee's deliberations; all comments will be shared with the Committee. An opportunity for public oral testimony at one Committee meeting will be provided as well. Notification of comment opportunities will be included as part of the Federal Register Notice published 15 days prior to each meeting. If members of the Committee are contacted by any groups or individuals for matters related to the Dietary Guidelines or the work of the Committee, the contact should be referred to the DFO or other Co-Executive Secretaries; the HHS and USDA staff will arrange to share the information with the full Committee, as appropriate.

Section VI: Voting

Most Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee decisions are made by consensus. However, formal voting may become necessary with certain issues. In order for the Committee to take a vote on any issue, a quorum (i.e. two thirds of the members) must be present. When the issue at hand pertains to a final decision or key recommendation, the Chair is responsible for requesting the motion to vote. Any DGAC member, including the Chair, may make a motion to vote at any other time. A second after a proper motion will be required to bring any issue to vote. Two-thirds of the members present are required to approve a motion.

Section VII: Role of Board Officials

Chair: The Chair works with the DFO to establish priorities, identify issues which must be addressed, and determine the level and types of staff support required. The Chair serves as the primary liaison between the Committee and the HHS/USDA Co-Executive Secretaries. The Chair is responsible for certifying the accuracy of minutes/transcripts developed to document the DGAC meetings, and for requesting motions to vote on final decisions or key recommendations.

Vice Chair: The Vice Chair works in partnership with the Chair and can act on behalf of the Chair in his or her absence.

Co-Executive Secretaries/Designated Federal Officer: There shall be four Co-Executive Secretaries, two from HHS and two from USDA, who will support the 2015 DGAC. One of HHS' Co-Executive Secretaries will be the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) and have lead oversight of FACA compliance and the DGAC. By law, the DFO must: (1) approve or call a meeting of the Committee; (2) approve agendas; (3) attend all meetings; (4) maintain records on costs and membership; (5) adjourn the meetings when such adjournment is in the public interest; and, (6) chair the DGAC meetings when so directed by the Committee Management Officer. The four Co-Executive Secretaries are as follows:

Richard Olson
DGAC Co-Executive Secretary/DFO
HHS/ODPHP

Colette Rihane
DGAC Co-Executive Secretary
USDA/CNPP (lead)

Kellie Casavale
DGAC Co-Executive Secretary
HHS/ODPHP

Shanthy Bowman
DGAC Co-Executive Secretary
USDA/ARS

The DFO will oversee management and support services that shall be provided by the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). These support services will include, but are not limited to: (1) providing notification of meeting times and locations; (2) overseeing the preparation of minutes and transcripts, and maintaining records of all DGAC meeting deliberations, as well as subcommittee or working group activities, as required by law; (3) managing official correspondence; and (4) overseeing travel and per diem reimbursements of DGAC members. Technical support will also be provided by USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), who serves as the lead for USDA, and Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Both Departments shall ensure compliance with FACA requirements. The DFO will be responsible for submission of FACA reporting requirements.

Section VIII: Expenses and Reimbursement

Committee member official travel and per diem related to the DGAC will be the responsibility of HHS-ODPHP and paid according to Federal allowable charges and rates. DGAC members shall serve without compensation. Expenditures of any kind must be approved in advance by the DFO.

Section IX: Additional Information

The HHS Committee Management Officer (CMO) is responsible for oversight of advisory committees within HHS. The CMO will provide advice and guidance as needed to ensure the DGAC's success.

Unless renewed by appropriate action prior to its expiration, the 2015 DGAC will terminate after delivery of its report to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA or two years from the date its charter is approved, whichever comes first.