Food is Medicine Initiative

Supported by The Rockefeller Foundation

American Heart Association logo | The Rockefeller Foundation logo

Older couple smiling, cutting vegetables together in kitchen

The Food is Medicine Initiative, announced in September 2022 by the American Heart Association and The Rockefeller Foundation, with inaugural supporter Kroger, at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, seeks to provide the large-scale clinical evidence required to ensure patients receive medical prescriptions for healthy food to help prevent and manage chronic disease.

Our vision is to accelerate a future in which millions of patients receive the benefit of a more holistic approach to diet and health, health care professionals and practitioners know how food is medicine programs can help prevent and manage disease, and payors have sufficient, objective cost and effectiveness evidence for reimbursing food is medicine programs.

This national initiative will help identify, support and implement the most viable food is medicine strategies.

We're building on critical evidence that the health care system can help patients access and consume healthy food.

Initial Request for Proposals – Open September 19, 2023

The initiative’s first FIM Request for Proposals focuses on feasibility and implementation science: achieving high rates of enrollment and engagement, using input from the lived experiences of patient participants or practitioners to guide program design, and testing ways to achieve significant short-term changes in healthy eating behavior.

Funded studies will be short term rapid cycle studies (18 months or less) that address challenges in feasibility and implementation or test approaches to achieve short-term behavior change.

Example research questions that illustrate the intention of this RFP include:

  1. What are the most effective ways to enroll diverse patients from the standpoint of increasing the population health effectiveness (i.e., reach) of programs (for instance, different ways of utilizing physician referral, direct outreach to patients, health plan outreach)?
  2. What are effective ways of increasing the proportion of patients with chronic disease who are screened for unmet social needs and food and/or nutrition insecurity within health systems?
  3. What are ways to increase the proportion of eligible participants for FIM programs signing up and, following enrollment, staying engaged and utilizing program components (including incentives if offered) at high rates?
  4. How are patients’ individual and cultural preferences best supported in program design to achieve high rates of patient engagement, satisfaction, adherence, and post-intervention sustained effects?
  5. For studies that involve incentives, what is the dose response for different incentive amounts or proportions of food costs? Are there behavioral strategies that can be used to make a given incentive amount more effective dollar for dollar?
  6. What types of behavioral coaching or educational strategies are useful as complements to FIM provision in achieving short- and long-term behavior change? What are the intervention differences required in populations facing food insecurity compared to those with adequate resources? What is the incremental cost effectiveness of different components of multifaceted interventions?

Studies and trials conducted during later phases of this Food Is Medicine Initiative will focus on sustained behavior changes leading to more definitive changes in clinical outcomes and assessment of cost-effectiveness.

RFP applications are open through November 6th, 2023 and a webinar will be held on October 4th at 3pm CT to answer questions.

For questions or for Food Is Medicine practitioners interested in collaboration, please contact us using this Practitioner Form. For other questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Our Work

Read about the American Heart Association’s longtime commitment to both food and access to health care, as well as The Rockefeller Foundation’s commitment to Food is Medicine.

Meet our Leadership & Participants

Meet our esteemed Research Planning Group and Participant Organizations.

Follow our Work

Statement by Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, and Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, on New Food Is Medicine Research Initiative | American Heart Association