Dr. Kurt Hager’s research focuses on the effectiveness of nutritional interventions and policies on chronic disease in the U.S., including evaluations of produce prescriptions and medically tailored meals integrated into clinical care. He has been involved in policy initiatives at the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, as steering committee member of the National Produce Prescription Collaborative, and with the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. He is currently an instructor at University of Massachusetts Medical School where is evaluating the effectiveness of novel programs addressing food and housing insecurity under Massachusetts’s Medicaid Section 1115 Waiver.
Dr. Hager's third and final doctoral dissertation study was published recently in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes and featured in the Washington Post! The Authors found that receiving produce prescriptions for an average of 6 months was associated with improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar control, and weight among adults with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Authors also observed improvements in fruit and vegetable intake and food insecurity, including among children, which could lay an important foundation for child development.
Dr. Kurt Hager will start us off with the sourcing of food science research protocol for the HFP and expound on how he collaborated with faculty and partners to design a program with evaluation in mind from beginning to end. The IRB process, consents, standardizing repeatable experiences and packages, screeners pre-, mid-, post all come together at program implementation launch.
Elsa Konieczynski is a master’s student at the Tufts Friedman School pursuing her degree in Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science. She also works as a research coordinator at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center where she supports research on healthy aging. Her research interests include food security, dietary patterns, and health equity.
Elsa Konieczynski will present the final evaluation of the successful program. Elsa will walk through the data deep-dives, her process and decision making, the outcomes, and final report review. Elsa will share the actual evaluation results & next steps of communications and collateral for policy and community impact.
Clinical and community-based partnerships are essential to bringing equitable health outcomes to patients throughout Florida. Mel Downey-Piper, National Senior Community Health Lead for the American Heart Association, will open our presentation with a 15-minute overview about how achieving health equity requires intentional focus on reducing health disparities and how implementing Food is Medicine initiatives can improve community health outcomes.
Mel has been working in public health for 20 years, with experience ranging from violence interruption to sexual health to heart health. In her time at the American Heart Association, Mel is proud to have increased direct funding to the community based on their identified needs, including food insecurity initiatives and promotoras de salud or community health workers. She also launched a local health equity committee and Food is Medicine National Collaborative. Mel was previously the Health Education Director at the Durham County Department of Public Health in North Carolina leading a team of 35 health educators and violence interrupters and co-led Durham’s successful application to be one of six national RWJF Culture of Health award recipients. Achieving equitable health outcomes through clinical and community-based partnerships is the work of the American Heart Association (AHA). As National Senior Community Health Lead, Mel Downey-Piper presents Health Equity in a 15-Minute overview from health disparities to health equity.
Thursday, August 17th from 2:00 PM Eastern.
Tom Pietrogallo is a national FiM All-Star for over a decade right here in Florida. Poverello’s Pop Up Eat Well Center, a “Harkin on Wellness” designee, collaborates throughout South Florida’s vulnerable communities with other non-profits seeking to improve the health of their clients through learning to eat well. Senator Tom Harkin echoes Poverello’sefforts saying“We believe innovative and progressive wellness and nutrition initiatives that address nutrition security can have a larger impact on catalyzing real solutions that provide not only food but also well-being for everyone.”
Thomas Pietrogallo is the innovator CEO of Poverello, who started the Pop Up Eat Well Center. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker MSW/LCSW, he also brings business mind with an MBA. Tom is the mover and shaker leading FiM in Broward and Palm Beach County having launched the Food Farmacy & Whole Teen Healthy programs with Living Hungry in PBC, among many others. Tom cranks up the dial on innovation in nutrition security through clinical interventions like produce prescriptions; innovative tech tools for client-choice pantry options, with a focus on reducing the disparities in healthy food access and purchasing, with dignity and community at the heartbeat of it all. Don't niss this FiM dyanamo and his presentation.
Thursday, August 17th from 2:00 PM Eastern.
Anna Meszaros is the UF/IFAS Extension Agent for commercial vegetable and tropical fruit production in Palm Beach County. She will share a 15-minute overview of fruit and vegetable production in Florida with an emphasis on tropical fruits and fresh winter vegetables grown in South Florida. Anna will also talk about the diverse group of local growers who have been farming in the area for generations.
Anna Meszaros is the UF/IFAS Extension Agent for commercial vegetable and tropical fruit production in Palm Beach County. She is responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating educational programs to support vegetable and fruit production and offer continuing education units (CEUs). In collaboration with stakeholders, including growers, industry members, and UF/IFAS faculty, she designs, conducts, and evaluates studies that assess vegetable variety performance, crop response to fertilizers and soil amendments, and improved weed and pest management tactics. She collaborates with other extension agents to respond to clientele training needs regarding the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). She prepares “extension-friendly” publications while promoting agriculture via multiple platforms.
.Thursday, July 13th from 3:00 PM Eastern.
Kristin Sukys from DC Greens together with The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School recently released a new report, Mainstreaming Produce Prescriptions in Medicaid Managed Care: A Policy Toolkit and Resource Library. This toolkit is the third report of a series exploring ways to increase access to produce prescriptions in the US healthcare system.
Kristin Sukys is a freelance consultant looking to boost nutrition security and health equity across our food and health care systems in the US. She manages DC Greens food as medicine portfolio, focusing on increasing access to produce prescription programs in the district and she also co-facilitates the National Produce Prescription Collaborative (NPPC) State Policy Working Group to equip produce prescription advocates with the education, tools and resources necessary to successfully advocate for state-level policy change.
Thursday, July 13th from 3:00 PM Eastern.
FLORIDA HEALTH AND NUTRITION COALITION
On Mission for All Floridians to experience the power of food is medicine for a more efficient and equitable healthcare system.