The Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan

In a small but growing number of cases, Food is Medicine interventions are becoming integrated into holistic, patient-centered models of care for individuals with complex chronic illnesses. While Massachusetts has an impressive number of pioneering programs and providers that are working together in innovative ways to ensure that people living with serious illness have the specific nutrition they need to heal and thrive, these interventions are not evenly available across the state.

Project Goals:

1. Assess the need for Food is Medicine Interventions

Examine the town-level burden of food insecurity, vehicle access, and diet-related chronic diseases across MA to help stakeholders identify high-priority areas for Food is Medicine efforts.

2. Examine the access to Food is Medicine Interventions

Gather information regarding the reach and availability of these interventions, screening and referral practices, and financial engagement of insurers.

3. Develop a strategy to increase access and capacity of Food is Medicine interventions to meet need

Identify sustainable funding models for Food is Medicine and opportunities for replication or expansion.

Planning Council

In order to ensure that each step of the Food is Medicine State Plan process was grounded in the needs, capacity, and expertise of stakeholders, our data gathering, analysis, and strategic plan development were guided by a multi-sector Planning Council. The Planning Council consists of over forty representatives from health care systems, health insurers, community-based organizations, academic programs, and advocacy organizations from across the state.

Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAS

American Heart Association

Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA Foundation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan

Boston Medical Center

Boston Public Health Commission

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center

Cape Cod Healthcare

Children’s HealthWatch

Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI)

Commonwealth Care Alliance

Community Health Center of Franklin County

Community Servings

DentaQuest Foundation

Elder Services of Merrimack Valley

Emerald Physician Services

Feeding America

The Food Bank of Western MA

Greater Boston Food Bank

Harvard School of Public Health

Health Care Without Harm

Just Roots

Krupp Family Foundation

Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative

Massachusetts Food Systems Collaborative

Massachusetts League of Community Health

Massachusetts Medical Society

Mayor’s Office of Food Access, Boston

Meals on Wheels America

Minuteman Senior Services

New England States Consortium Systems Organization (NESCSO)

The Open Door

Project Bread

Sustainable Cape

Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

University of Massachusetts Medical School

University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center

Victory Programs

Wholesome Wave

In addition to conferring regularly with the Planning Council, the Food is Medicine State Plan initiative sought input and feedback on the recommendations in this report from relevant state agencies whenever possible.