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New BPC “Food is Medicine” Working Group Underway

Washington, DC – Many Americans struggle with nutrition insecurity and diet-related illness, with poor diet being a leading risk factor for mortality. With that in mind, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health Program launched a new working group that will focus on the idea of “Food is Medicine.”

“The concept of food is medicine has been around for decades and has recently gained even more traction as health care providers make nutritious food a part of treatment,” said BPC’s Public Health Director Shana Christrup, who will oversee the working group and final report. “This working group will help better detail necessary policies that will help bridge the gap between health care delivery and food access.”

Under the direction of four co-chairs—former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, former Agriculture Secretaries Dan Glickman and Ann Veneman, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala—the group will work to craft federal policy recommendations regarding infrastructure, workforce training, as well as patient and public education.  

The working group consists of representatives from health systems and hospitals to insurers, patient advocacy organizations to food retailers and health care organizations. The members are:  

  • Beatrice Abiero, Senior Manager of Policy Research, Instacart 
  • Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Chief Health Officer, Elevance Health 
  • Akin Demehin, Senior Director for Quality and Safety Policy, American Hospital Association  
  • Matt Eyles, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans 
  • Holly Freishtat, Senior Director of Feeding Change, Milken Institute 
  • Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, Chief Community Health Officer, Walmart Health 
  • Dr. John Lumpkin, Executive Strategic Counselor, Corporate Social Responsibility and Drivers of Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina 
  • Dr. Suja Mathew, Regent, American College of Physicians; Chief Clinical Officer, Atlantic Health System 
  • Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean for Policy and Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University 
  • Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President, Geisinger 
  • Taylor Newman, Director of Nutrition, Kroger 
  • Pam Schwartz, Executive Director for Community Health, Kaiser Permanente 
  • Dr. Kevin Vlopp, Mark V. Pauly President’s Distinguished Professor, Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Scientific Lead, American Heart Association Food is Medicine Initiative 
  • Lauri Wright, President-Elect, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  

At the conclusion of the work, the working group will release a report detailing policy recommendations.  

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