The president hosted a conference on nutrition and health. Some health groups are investing money and resources to expand access to food and training to physicians.
President Joe Biden says he wants to end hunger in America by the end of the decade, and the White House touted commitments from healthcare organizations to address food insecurity.
Biden hosted a conference on hunger in Washington Wednesday. It was hailed as the first conference on hunger at the White House in 50 years.
Healthcare leaders say that it’s impossible to improve health equity without helping the millions of Americans who are hungry. One in 10 U.S. households had food insecurity in 2021, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
“Everyone, everyone has an important role to play, local, state, territory, and Tribal governments and the federal government as well; the private sector; civil society; agriculture; philanthropy; academia,” Biden said.
Several health organizations pledged to do more to fight hunger. Here's a rundown of the healthcare groups, hospitals and companies who are making commitments to expand access to healthy food and training for healthcare providers.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine committed to donating $24.1 million in education coursework in nutrition and food as medicine to doctors nationwide.
The ACLM will donate $22 million for continuing medical education to 100,000 doctors and other medical professionals. The ACLM will also donate $2.1 million to cover half the cost of training in lifestyle medicine for one primary care provider at each of the nation’s 1,400 Federally Qualified Health Centers.
"It is clear that simply managing the symptoms of chronic disease with ever-increasing quantities of expensive medications and procedures without addressing the root causes of those diseases is a failure of our health care system,” ACLM President Cate Collings said in a statement.
The Rockefeller Foundation and the American Heart Association, with the Kroger grocery chain, announced a plan to mobilize $250 million to build a national Food is Medicine Research Initiative. The effort is slated to launch in the spring of 2023. The groups said it would develop tools to address health equity, expand access to food and reduce healthcare costs.
Mass General Brigham announced a commitment of $8.4 million to promote nutrition equity and security. Anne Klibanski, president and CEO of Mass General Brigham, said the system is eager to join a national effort. "We know that access to healthy, nutritious food can have a monumental impact on patients’ health outcomes and it is disproportionately impacting underserved communities in every city and state,” she said in a statement.
The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville will invest $4.8 million to help implement a Lifestyle Medicine curriculum in all interested medical schools, the White House announced.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation will launch a two-year, $3.5 million initiative to expand access to healthy food and the “food is medicine” movement in North Carolina.
Nemours Children’s Health, the pediatric health system, plans to expand access to donation programs and develop educational tools to reduce food insecurity and health disparities.
Boston Medical Center plans to build farms at two new facilities in 2023, the White House said. The farms will supply produce to hospital patients, cafeterias, and its food pantry, where doctors can refer their patients for free food.
The Association of American Medical Colleges participated in the conference. The AAMC plans to work with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to hold the inaugural Medical Education Summit on Nutrition Practice. It’s slated to take place in 2023.
The American Academy of Pediatrics will work with Share Our Strength, a nonprofit focused on ending hunger, to offer training to all 67,000 pediatricians who are members of AAP. The training will involve screening for food insecurity and helping educate doctors on resources that can help patients.