Doctors for a Hunger Free America (DHFA) engages physicians in activities that advance public policies and programs aimed at eradicating domestic hunger. Food insecurity currently affects 37.2 million Americans (including 11.1 million children) with devastating physical and mental health consequences. As physicians, we deal with these devastating consequences on a daily basis, which makes it more important than ever for us to collectively address domestic malnutrition.
DHFA is a project of Hunger Free America, a nationwide, nonpartisan 501c3 nonprofit direct service and advocacy organization that is helping to lead the movement to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.
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Doctors for a Hunger Free America Initiatives:
- Compile and publicize existing studies on the prevalence of food insecurity, particularly among children and elderly Americans, and the negative impact of hunger on physical and mental health.
- Encourage more outpatient facilities and hospitals to screen patients for hunger and introduce these vulnerable patients to programs by Hunger Free America that provide government and private food assistance.
- Raise public awareness of the effectiveness of federal nutrition assistance programs, such as SNAP (formerly called the Food Stamp Program), WIC (which provides nutrition supplements to pregnant women and children under 5), school lunches, school breakfasts, summer meals, afterschool snacks/suppers, in combatting hunger and improving human health.
- Recruit other doctors to join.
- Advocate for federal, state, and local policies to reduce poverty and hunger. Such advocacy includes lobbying elected officials, speaking to the media, and testifying before governmental bodies. Most immediately, we will be advocating for a strong federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill in order to make meals for all U.S. children universal, free, and nutritious.
- Raise money for these specific programs and for the broader efforts of Hunger Free America.
Doctors for a Hunger Free America Co-Chairs:
Marc S. Eisenberg, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center and Attending Physician at Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Suja Mathew, MD, Chair of Medicine at Cook County (Illinois) Health
Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Mathew, along with HFA CEO Joel Berg, recently published an op-ed in City Limits about the policy steps that need to be taken to end child hunger.