Kaiser Permanente and Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Assemble Experts for National Convening Ahead of White House Conference

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Jun 27, 2022

Assembly of Diverse Voices Will Develop Recommendations to Inform First White House Conference on Food Issues in 50 Years, Conference Takes Place This September

Oakland, C.A.  – Today, Kaiser Permanente co-hosted a national convening on the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in Oakland’s Preservation Park. The one-day event – part of a series of national convenings also co-hosted by the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health – brought together a broad array of non-partisan stakeholders, including policymakers, academics, industry leaders, nonprofit representatives, and individuals with lived experience to discuss strategies for ending hunger, improving nutrition, reducing the prevalence of diet-related diseases, and promoting equity throughout the food system.

Statement from Bechara Choucair, MD, chief health officer and senior vice president for Community Health at Kaiser Permanente.

“For too long, many Americans have had to choose between basic needs such as paying rent or putting food on the table. And we know that without proper access to nutritious foods, it is nearly impossible to stay healthy. More must be done to ensure all children and adults – regardless of their income – have enough food to eat, and that nobody goes to bed hungry. Kaiser Permanente is proud to host this convening, bringing together critical thought partners from the West Coast and across the U.S. as we look to turn these conversations on social health into action.” 

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden announced that the White House will host a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this September — the first national conference of this kind in more than 50 years. To inform and achieve the critical goals of the conference, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Food Systems for the Future, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and World Central Kitchen formed the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, along with an accompanying Strategy Group on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to advise the task force. These efforts — while not formally endorsed by the White House — seek to elevate diverse voices across the United States to help develop equitable, transformational policy solutions to some of the issues at the heart of this year’s conference.

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Senator Bill Frist, Former Majority Leader of the United States Senate; Global Board Vice-Chair, The Nature Conservancy; Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Adjunct Professor of Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Cardiac Surgery

Our Task Force is working to provide critical insight that will guide how our country approaches the current hunger, nutrition, and health crisis. Overcoming this challenge starts during these community listening sessions where we can engage and listen to our local communities and those of us who have lived experiences with hunger.

Statement from Task Force Co-chair Dean Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean and Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University; Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Division of Cardiology, Tufts Medical Center

“We face a national food crisis — harming our health, families, communities, economy, natural resources, and national security. Many more Americans are sick than are healthy, caused by diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancers, poor gut health, and more. And millions of Americans face uncertainties when they think about how they are going to afford their next meal. These problems are crushing — and entirely fixable. The coming White House Conference is a historic chance for government, communities, and the private sector to come together to find ambitious and achievable solutions. I am delighted Kaiser Permanente is partnering with us to co-host today’s event — a powerful acknowledgement of the inextricable ties between food, nutrition, and health.”

This effort is supported by the Bia-Echo Foundation, HAND Foundation, World Central Kitchen, and Yun Family Foundation. 

About the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health: The 1969 Conference brought the nation together to address widespread hunger in America and was chaired and organized by Dr. Jean Mayer — a leading nutrition scientist, the tenth president of Tufts University, and the namesake of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts. The conference established much of the current U.S. food policy framework, including major expansion and harmonization of the National School Lunch Program and the Food Stamp Program (now SNAP), creation of the School Breakfast Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and new consumer protections like nutrition labeling. These policies together greatly reduced caloric hunger and vitamin deficiencies in the U.S. It’s time for a second national coordinated effort to update and modernize our food and nutrition policies and systems. 


About the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Founded in 1922, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing knowledge and engagement in global affairs. Our in-depth analysis and expert-led research influence policy conversations and inform the insights we share with our growing community. Through accessible content and open dialogue of diverse, fact-based perspectives, we empower more people to help shape our global future. Learn more at thechicagocouncil.org.  

About Food Systems for the Future

Food Systems for the Future (FSF) was founded to catalyze, enable, and scale market-driven agtech, foodtech, and innovative businesses across the value chain to improve nutrition outcomes in underserved and low-income communities. Through wraparound support to enterprises and broader ecosystem building, FSF addresses barriers to affordability, availability, and awareness of healthy, nutrient dense foods through our core services: financing, business acceleration, public policy & education, partnerships & community engagement, and nutrition expertise. FSF currently operates in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more at fsfinstitute.net.

About the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is a leading U.S. institution focused on education, research, and public impact around the food system, from soil to society. The School’s five divisions and additional centers and institutes are renowned for the application of scientific evidence to national and international policy. Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier teaching and research universities in the U.S.  Learn more at nutrition.tufts.edu/ 

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

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