The link between obesity and debilitating chronic illness is well-established, but access to healthy food remains problematic for many suffering from chronic illness. Healthy food is a key care component in handling an individual's overall health, especially when managing diabetes. For these individuals, food is medicine. Low income populations often bear a disproportionate burden of chronic disease. There are significant benefits to be realized by incorporating healthy food in a medical treatment plan, both in terms of improved health outcomes and significant cost savings to insurers. This Web Forum will address:

  • the definition of “food is medicine” and the need for a strong movement to integrate food into routine health care delivery;
  • the growing body of research that demonstrates the link between malnutrition and diet-related disease and the efficacy of low-cost nutrition interventions for health outcomes;
  • current and future opportunities to incorporate healthy food into medical treatment plans, enabling greater access to good nutrition for people who have a particular need for this support;
  • the potential of the Affordable Care Act to encourage integration of food into whole person health care; and
  • ways to make customized dietary plans a reimbursable and sustainable part of treatment, whether it responds to acute health care needs or is part of a plan for patient lifestyle change.

We invite hospital administrators, insurers, providers who focus on diet-related chronic disease, diabetes advocates, community health workers, legislators and state agency personnel to join us for a discussion on how incorporating food-based interventions into health care can improve patient outcomes while dramatically reducing public and private insurer cost.

Closed captioning will be available for this Web Forum.

Presenters

Sarah Downer, JD

Clinical Instructor on Law, Health and Food Law and Policy Clinics, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Harvard Law School

Jamaica Plain, MA

Sarah Downer, JD is a Clinical Instructor at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School, where she focuses on policy projects at the intersection of health and food law. Her primary areas of expertise are diabetes policy, childhood obesity, physical activity and the built environment,…

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Maggie J. Morgan, JD, MA

Health Law and Policy Fellow, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Harvard Law School

Jamaica Plain, MA

Maggie Morgan is a Clinical Fellow at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, where she works on national and state-based health law and policy initiatives to increase access to care for low-income Americans suffering from diabetes, HIV and other chronic conditions. Currently, Maggie serves…

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Malinda Ellwood, JD

Clinical Instructor of Law, Health Law and Policy Clinic, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Harvard Law School

Jamaica Plain, MA

Malinda joined the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation in September 2011. Her work focuses on health care reform implementation, with a focus on increasing access to care for individuals living with HIV and/or hepatitis C, including increasing access to food and nutrition services (“food is medicine”). Prior to…

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