Steering Committee Offers Statement of Support for Announcement of a Major Expansion of PRx

WASHINGTON, DC. JUNE 1, 2022 Today, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced an expansion of produce prescriptions (PRx) within the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) in addition to a major new framework for shoring up the food supply chain and transforming the food system to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient at Georgetown University in the District of Columbia.

NPPC’s Steering Committee members offered the following remarks supporting this special announcement.

“When we think about transforming the food system, there is no better way than supporting policies that focus on health outcomes for the consumer. With 9 out of 10 Americans failing to meet the government’s fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations, USDA’s investment in produce prescriptions recognizes the need to advance systemic approaches to address nutrition insecurity through the healthcare system. We are excited about this positive step forward that will help make the case for systems-wide changes.” – Mollie Van Lieu, Vice President, Nutrition and Health, International Fresh Produce Association.

“The link between whole foods and improved health is clear and compelling. This additional funding will help everyone involved in the food and healthcare systems better understand how to use food as a core component of quality healthcare, and deepen the case for mainstreaming food as a preventative and therapeutic tool that improves healthcare equity and outcomes, while reducing costs and enhancing the patient experience.” – Adam Shyevitch, Chief Program Officer, About Fresh, Inc.

“As Americans begin to recover — physically, psychologically and economically — from the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for produce prescription programs has never been higher. Healthcare providers are eager to offer this incredible resource as part of their comprehensive care for patients experiencing or at risk of diet-related diseases, and consumers need to be able to find and afford the foods that support health and happiness. Bolstering nutrition security through incentive programs benefits the community beyond individual health, too: Farmers and small businesses gain new customers and more food dollars stay in the local economy.” – Julia Koprak, Associate Director, The Food Trust.

“All American children should have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, chosen and prepared by their families. Expanded access to produce prescriptions is a critical step in bringing this dream of nutrition security, food equity, and, ultimately, health equity to fruition.” -Senbagam Virudachalam, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania.

“It is very encouraging to see such a deep commitment to equity from Secretary Vilsack’s administration, with today’s announcement being just the latest action among many taken since taking leadership of the USDA. We know that produce prescriptions offer the dignity of choice and empowerment of a patient-directed healthcare treatment plan, which was stressed as critical by Dr Sharica Brookins, a nephrologist in Augusta, GA who joined today’s announcement. Wholesome Wave and our colleagues at NPPC are deeply committed to ensuring that this GusNIP PRx expansion helps providers across the country reverse the tide of diet-related illness for the communities they serve.” – Ben Perkins, CEO, Wholesome Wave

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