National Progress on the Food Is Medicine Movement

The September 28th White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health was truly a historic gathering in our country with so many national leaders in food and nutrition security in attendance to present research findings and advancements in the food is medicine movement. 

I am pleased that the Biden/Harris administration’s national strategy for addressing hunger, nutrition and health includes ample focus on incorporating medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling into our healthcare system. The conference included two sessions that featured discussion about the value proposition of medically tailored meals. 

The conference has already inspired some significant initiatives that result in increased investment in nutrition services: 

  • The day after the conference, Kaiser Permanente announced that it is committing $50 Million dollars to bolster programs that increase nutrition and food security and increase health outcomes that impact our countries most vulnerable populations. 
  • Medicaid programs in two states announced additional investments in coverage of medically tailored meals (I am hopeful that this will one day happen in Georgia). 
  • The President of the United States encouraged congress to pass H.R. 5370 introduced by congressman Jim McGovern (D) of Massachusetts. If passed, this research pilot would study the economic impact if Medicare was to include medically tailored meals as a fully reimbursable benefit for members battling or at risk for chronic disease. 

As Congressman McGovern has been a tremendous champion of the food is medicine movement, I will be meeting with him next week in Massachusetts on how I may offer my voice of support for his Bill and to hear his thoughts about how we can all best leverage the White House Conference. I also will soon be meeting with leadership at the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity to learn more about initiatives they have planned to help advance the food is medicine movement. I look forward to sharing other positive outcomes that will be unfolding over the next few months as a result of the White House Conference. 

We know food is medicine, and Open Hand Atlanta is eager to see the recommendations within the national strategy implemented and continue to be at the forefront of expanding crucial nutrition access for vulnerable Georgians.

Matthew Pieper, Executive Director

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