By Madeline Hawkins – Health Policy Intern
Last week, Community Servings had the honor of hosting Congressman James McGovern, Chair of the Rules Committee, and Rules Committee Members Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). Their visit was part of the Committee’s current exploration of strategies to end hunger in the United States by 2030. It began with a tour of our state-of-the-art kitchens and concluded with a discussion with two of our clients and a graduate of our foodservice job-training program – The Teaching Kitchen. During the visit, we shared our support for three of the Rules Committee’s initiatives— the convening of a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health, the passage of Chairman McGovern’s Resolution around Nutrition Education Requirements in Medical Schools, and the Medically Tailored Meals Pilot Demonstration Act of 2021.
We are excited to share that the House and Senate budgets include funding for a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health! The conference is necessary to establish a united, national approach to hunger. The last meeting was held in 1969 and resulted in creating SNAP, WIC, and other monumental nutrition programs. However, given the growing evidence establishing the connection between hunger and health, we believe it is beyond time for a second conference. Such an event has the potential to create a comprehensive plan for the country to address the issue of food and nutrition insecurity with policy solutions focusing on the impact of nutrition on health and well-being through the lens of social, racial, and economic justice.
Community Servings enthusiastically supports nutrition education requirements for medical students. Currently, medical students devote less than 1% of their lecture hours to nutrition, despite the fact that physicians have an opportunity to play an extensive role in their patients’ diet. Therefore, we applaud Chairman McGovern’s push for medical schools to include nutrition education in their curriculum.
The MTM Pilot Demonstration Act would substantially expand access to the Medically Tailored Meals (MTM) intervention. Specifically, the legislation would provide MTMs to individuals experiencing diet-related illness enrolled in Medicare after being referred by a healthcare professional or plan. Designed by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, MTMs provide customized nutrition to individuals based on their medical needs. Community Servings supports this legislation because it would expand access to MTMs, improve the health of Medicare recipients, and yield significant cost-savings to the Medicare program.
We are grateful for Congressman McGovern and the Rules Committee’s commitment to addressing hunger and nutrition insecurity. We look forward to continuing the conversations about future legislation and innovative policies to improve individuals’ health, well-being, and quality of life in Massachusetts and across the country.