The Root Cause Coalition and Alliance to End Hunger Host “Diagnosis: Hunger” Summit in New York City

April 10, 2016

Louisa  Schieffelin, Intern, Alliance to End Hunger

On April 4th, The Root Cause Coalition and Alliance to End Hunger hosted the “Diagnosis: Hunger” Summit in New York City that focused on hunger as a health issue. With nearly 150 representatives from different healthcare organizations, faith-based groups, education communities, and government agencies, it was a chance to better understand the link between food insecurity, poor health status, and health care in America. Aside from targeting a different region than previous summits, this event was helpful for the movement to end hunger as it emphasized the importance of increased participation from the healthcare community as a crucial component of ending hunger.

The Alliance and Root Cause invited an array of keynote speakers representing various sectors, including: Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-2), Administrator Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Ken Anderson, DO, MS, CPE, Chief Operating Officer, Health Research & Educational Trust, American Hospital Association; Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation; and Randy Oostra, President and CEO, ProMedica, and several other prominent figures in the healthcare community.

As a true hunger champion in the political sphere, Congressman McGovern reiterated hunger as a political issue that must be addressed by the state and federal government. His words served as a reminder of just how critical political action and policy revisions are for ending hunger on a larger scale. Administrator Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, echoed this sentiment while also emphasizing the need for more research, education, and partnerships among governmental agencies, community groups, hospital systems, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders. Rowe also highlighted many of the successes of the government-funded nutrition programs.

Regarding the healthcare system’s role in ending hunger, ProMedica CEO and one of the leading voices in healthcare, President Randy Oostrawho, stressed the importance of aligning healthcare and hunger relief efforts, citing several examples of the most effective practices that ProMedica has used to address the issue of hunger. Oostra also went on to discuss the implications of recent changes in healthcare on hunger in America.

Lastly, Rebecca Middleton, COO of the Alliance, spoke and expressed her excitement about the increasing collective efforts that are being made to address the devastating effects of hunger.

Following the panel was a short Q&A session, which sparked robust conversations among the audience. The level of passion and engagement at the summit was yet another reminder of the impact strong partnerships and collaboration can have in ending hunger. The Alliance is grateful to everyone who participated in this year’s summit, and looks forward to hosting more events with The Root Cause Coalition in the near future.

For those interested, please visit The Root Cause Coalition’s website for access to the PowerPoints, agenda, and other content from the “Diagnosis: Hunger” Summit.