On July 22, 2016, the Tackling Hunger Project, a partnership between the Public Health Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Making Food Systems Part of Your Community Health Needs Assessment: Practical Guidance from the TACKLING HUNGER Project. The Guide offers practical tools to hospitals on how to incorporate an assessment of their local food systems and rates of community food insecurity into their triannual Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Conducting a CHNA is a requirement for nonprofit hospitals as they seek to demonstrate that they are providing an adequate “community benefit” and therefore should maintain tax-exempt status.
The Guide contains practical advice on how to measure food insecurity at the community level and how to identify local food system stakeholders and invite them to be part of the CHNA process. It also points hospitals to resources that can help them form partnerships with community-based food and nutrition resource providers, including Food Banks as Partners in Health Promotion: Creating Connections for Client & Community Health (developed by CHLPI together with Feeding America, a national network of thousands of food banks and food pantries). The publication of this Guide is an important step in helping hospitals effectively address the significant impact that food insecurity has on the health of their patients and broader communities.