270968 HIV/AIDS: The Food As Medicine Advocacy Initiative

Monday, October 29, 2012

Karen Pearl, MA , Executive/Government Relations, God's Love We Deliver, New York, NY
The medical efficacy of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is often overlooked in public health and policy decisions. The Food as Medicine Advocacy Initiative used new research to secure increased public support within healthcare reform for expanded access to medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and prescribed food coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). The project educated care providers, community leaders and public officials about medical outcomes associated with food insecurity among PLWHA and the impact of healthcare reform on services for PLWHA. Through effective messaging and other advocacy strategies, project staff advocated with administration and elected officials and the NYC Health and Human Services Planning Council to ensure that Medicaid reform provided access to MNT and prescribed food for PLWHA, and for a stronger position for FNS within Ryan White priorities and funding. Finally, we conducted outreach to expand the number of PLWHA who have access to FNS regardless of their insurance provider. These efforts were successful in promoting greater access and better health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS. We learned that research is an effective and essential tool in successful advocacy efforts, and that healthcare reform provides multiple opportunities to expand the delivery of services to PLWHA to produce better health outcomes. Our next step is to add to the current data on the positive health outcomes of food and nutrition for PLWHA by examining the cost-effectiveness of FNS in reducing healthcare costs, and using this data effectively in advocacy.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.) Define effective public health messaging around the medical efficacy of food and nutrition for PLWHA 2.) Identify local, state and federal opportunities within the changing landscape of healthcare reform for advocacy for food and nutrition services for PLWHA 3.) Demonstrate the impact of research findings on advocacy for food and nutrition services for PLWHA

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Karen Pearl is President & CEO of God's Love We Deliver, an organization that responds to the urgent food and nutrition needs of people living with severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. Karen has increased program size by 49%, significantly grown the advocacy program, and been the principal or co-principal of multiple federal, NYS and NYC grants for services to at-risk populations. In 2010, God's Love won a New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Award.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.