Last Updated: Oct 28, 2023
At its annual business meeting on Saturday, Oct. 28, the Pennsylvania Medical Society adopted a policy that aims to address food deserts and food insecurity in Pennsylvania.
PAMED will advocate for the implementation of initiatives that address food insecurity and access to healthy food options. This could include expansion of farmers’ markets and grocery stores in food desert areas. The policy will also enact PAMED’s support in legislative efforts that would support addressing health concerns of patients affected by food insecurity or diet.
Author of the policy, PAMED member and medical student Razeen Khan said, “I am pleased that the 'Addressing Food Deserts and Food Insecurity' resolution was passed. Social determinants of health influence about 80% of a person’s health. It is my hope that PAMED addressing food insecurity will help meaningfully reduce the burden of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease among our patients. By supporting food is medicine legislation, expansion of grocery stores and farmers markets in food deserts and encouraging adoption of routine food insecurity screening by healthcare providers, we will help reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations".
Food deserts are areas where it is difficult to access healthy and affordable food options and are a major contributor to poor health outcomes.
According to statistics from the PA Department of Human Services, nearly 1.7 million Pennsylvanians live with food insecurity and it’s a major social determinant of health, with low-income and people of color being especially vulnerable.
PAMED policy directs the organization’s efforts and continued education for its members.
Myla Merkel, Pennsylvania Medical Society