H2HC Participates in First HHS ‘Food is Medicine’ Summit

Feb 2, 2024

Watch the HHS Food is Medicine Summit

On Tuesday, January 31, H2HC participated in the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) first-ever Food is Medicine summit in Washington, D.C., an all-day summit for stakeholders at the intersection between food and health. Secretary Xavier Becerra opened the summit by announcing three new public-private partnerships with Instacart, Rockefeller Foundation, and Feeding America. All three partnerships will support HHS’s nutrition goals.

In addition to the three new public-private partnerships, HHS released five Food is Medicine principles that will guide the Department’s work when it comes to educating the public, changing public policies, and integrating nutrition in the services it provides. These principles include:

  • Recognizing that nourishment is essential for good health, wellbeing, and resilience.
  • Facilitating easy access to healthy food across the health continuum in the community.
  • Cultivating understanding of the relationship between nutrition and health.
  • Uniting partners with diverse assets to build sustained and integrated solutions.
  • Investing in the capacity of under-resourced communities.


“Food is Medicine” is just one part of HHS’s work to make progress on commitments made in the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease in the United States. Similarly, today’s event reflects Secretary Becerra’s vision of moving our country from an illness-care system to a wellness-care system through HHS’s broader Food is Medicine initiative and other related government initiatives.

The all-day summit featured panels from:

  • HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra
  • USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS)
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  • Danielle Carnival, Deputy Director for Health Outcomes at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Chef Sean Sherman, named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023
  • Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, Chair of the National Endowment


Background on the Biden-Harris Administration Investments in Nutrition and Food is Medicine  

Thanks to an appropriation in fiscal year 2023, HHS, led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), is in the process of developing the first federal tool kit and implementation guidance, as well as other federal resources, to help advance Food is Medicine. This congressional action, directed the Secretary of HHS in consultation with other federal agencies, aims to develop and implement a federal strategy to reduce nutrition-related chronic diseases and food insecurity to improve health, wellbeing, and racial equity in the United States. This includes diet-related research and programmatic efforts that will increase access to Food is Medicine interventions.

Background on HHS’ New Private-Public Partnerships with the Rockefeller Foundation, Instacart, and Feeding America  

HHS announced three new public-private partnerships today with the Rockefeller Foundation, Instacart, and Feeding America. These partnerships were formed in the lead-up to the Food is Medicine Summit as part of HHS’ commitment to advancing unified Food is Medicine policy and practice. These partnerships will create an exchange of research, communication, and implementation of programs and policy priorities to advance the collective understanding of Food is Medicine.

Feeding America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It is part of a nationwide network of food banks, food pantries and community-based organizations in the United States that works to address hunger.

Instacart, through its Instacart Health initiative, is leveraging its technology, partnerships, research, and advocacy to expand access to nutritious food, inspire people to make healthy choices, and scale food as medicine programs. The company will work together with HHS to support, scale, and study food as medicine interventions.

The Rockefeller Foundation is a New York not-for-profit organization that is a leader in the movement to integrate food and nutrition into health care to help fight the growing epidemic of diet-related diseases, and will work with HHS to identify how Food is Medicine programs can lead to better health outcomes for people, particularly historically marginalized communities, and save millions of dollars in health care costs.