ProMedica, Alliance Continue Addressing Hunger as a Health Issue

March 1, 2014

Julie McKinnon, Senior Writer, Marketing Communications, ProMedica

Participant looking at ProMedica’s Witness to Hunger photo exhibit (Julie McKinnon/ProMedica)

More than 150 people – including several Congressional Hunger Champions – joined ProMedica and the Alliance to End Hunger on Feb. 27 to discuss how hunger affects Americans’ health and ways to solve the problem. Called Come to the Table after ProMedica’s collaborative advocacy initiative to address hunger as a health issue, the national summit featured an array of speakers on hunger and health as the partners continue working to end U.S. hunger by encouraging joint efforts nationwide.

“This is a huge health issue in this country. We need to connect the dots,” ProMedica President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Oostra told the Capitol Hill audience. Based in Toledo, Ohio, ProMedica is the Alliance’s first healthcare organization member, and the non-profit system was honored with the 2013 Alliance to End Hunger Partnership Award.

ProMedica and the Alliance are encouraging healthcare organizations, social service agencies, businesses, and government leaders to work together in their communities to end U.S. hunger. The partners want to collaboratively develop and deploy sustainable solutions, as well as ensure ending hunger remains a national priority.

Summit attendees view a short video produced by ProMedica (Julie McKinnon/ProMedica)

The Capitol Hill summit featured presentations by Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary, USDA; Deborah Frank, MD, Professor of Child Health and Well-Being, Boston University School of Medicine, and Founder of Children’s HealthWatch; David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World; and Erika Kelly, Chief Advocacy Officer, Meals On Wheels Association of America.

“There is no reason a child, or adult for that matter, should go hungry in this country,” the USDA’s Concannon said.
Concannon and others pointed out that U.S. hunger often is linked to obesity because of poor nutrition. U.S. hunger often involves not having access to nutritious food, experts said.

“Hunger/food insecurity and obesity often are two sides of the same coin,” Concannon said.

On May 14, the partners will hold a Come to the Table regional summit on hunger and health at The University Club in downtown Chicago, Ill. Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will be keynote speaker for the 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. event.

For more information about ProMedica’s Come to the Table initiative, please watch this video first unveiled on Capitol Hill or visit promedica.org/cometothetablesummit. For questions, please contact Barbara Petee, ProMedica’s Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer, at 419-469-3894 or barb.petee@promedica.org.