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CHLPI Highlights Food Is Medicine at the 2016 National Public Health Law Conference

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On September 17, 2016, CHLPI’s Staff Attorney Katie Garfield presented on the Center’s innovative research and advocacy work on the role of food as medicine at the 2016 National Public Health Law Conference in Washington, D.C.

 The Conference, organized by The Network for Public Health Law and American Society for Law, Medicine, and Ethics, brought together a wide range of experts and leaders in public health law, including many academic researchers, local and state public health officials, advocates, and representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and White House. At the conference, these experts explored current opportunities and challenges in addressing public health priorities such as the opioid epidemic and social determinants of health.

Katie presented with Mathew Swinburne, Senior Staff Attorney for the Network for Public Health Law, and Aliza Wasserman, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Wholesome Wave, on “Nutrition Programs and the Public’s Health.” Over the course of this panel, Katie, Mathew, and Aliza examined the close relationship between food security and patient health, and highlighted the roles that health care providers and government programs can play in breaking the cycle of food insecurity, poor health outcomes, and escalating costs. In particular, the panel highlighted promising initial evidence on the use nutrition incentives, fruit and vegetable prescriptions, and medically-tailored meals to improve patient health. However, the panel noted that without greater support from hospitals, health insurers, and policymakers, such interventions may not reach their full potential. Panelists therefore advocated for expanded support of nutrition interventions via insurance coverage and non-profit hospital Community Benefit activities as well as broader recognition of the impact of food insecurity in state and federal policies, such as the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

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