Today, I am honored to participate as an Advisor in the first convening of Food and Society at the Aspen Institute’s new Food Is Medicine Initiative. The Food is Medicine Initiative aims to expand access to proven nutrition interventions, and brings together key players from across the country to share existing knowledge and expertise, identify critical gaps and strategic priorities, and facilitate new collaborations in underrepresented regions and communities.
From the beginning of my time with God’s Love, I have been focused on Food Is Medicine in policy, research, and practice. For me, food is medicine is a justice issue. And it is an issue in every part of our society. We live in the richest country in the world and yet still food is scarce for many and that scarcity leads to avoidable, adverse health outcomes. Why would we not correct something as simple as access to the right food, when it has such an outsized effect on wellbeing?
In my last ten years at God’s Love We Deliver, I have focused on medically tailored meals (MTM) for those too sick to shop or cook for themselves – because this population is largely invisible in policy and I believe this nexus between MTM and policy is where some of the most profound impact can be made. In the field, I have led and collaborated on a variety of complex and innovative projects – healthcare contracting and policy, technology partnerships, referral tool creation and data exchange – all in service of creating a system of care that helps individuals with serious and chronic illnesses stay healthy and in their homes where they want to be.
At this critical time in our nation’s history, as the pandemic has laid bare afresh the disparities in the dual systems of food and healthcare, I could not be more motivated to engage with passionate people on how food builds health for the most vulnerable among us. At the end of our time together, Food and Society, working in close collaboration with the Advisory Board, will publish a Food is Medicine Research Priorities Action Plan that establishes concrete steps to build on existing efforts and engage new actors, advancing research across the full spectrum of interventions, from prevention to treatment. The vision is that this Plan will result in action toward systemic change for the better. I am energized and inspired to begin this work.