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Food is Medicine Forum 2016

food-is-medicine-eventbriteheader.jpg“What’s for dinner?” is a phrase that may seem commonplace to many of us, but for some it can be a cause of much anxiety and stress. People who are food insecure often have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for essentials, such as heating the home or prescribed medications. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Maine has the third highest rate of very low food security in the country, affecting one in four Maine children. To address food insecurity in Maine, the EMHS Partnerships to Improve Community Health is hosting a public Food is Medicine Forum on June 7 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Click here to register

“Food insecurity is a great concern for us all in Maine,” says Doug Michael, EMHS chief community health and grants officer. “At EMHS, we know the care we provide will be most effective when our patients, families, and communities have consistent access to healthy food and other basic community resources. The Food Is Medicine Forum will bring together leading experts and community change-makers to address this important issue by expanding community partnerships and sowing solutions for a healthier Maine”.

This forum is open to anyone with an interest in helping to find solutions to the food insecurity problem in Maine. The event is free, but we have limited space. If you are planning to attend, please register to secure your seat. National and state experts will present on food insecurity’s affect on health, healthcare, public policy, and local efforts to strengthen the food security network in Maine.

Click here to view the schedule

The Food is Medicine Forum is sponsored by EMHS with support of the CDC’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH). The PICH initiative supports implementation of evidenced- based strategies that address identified community needs to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease and related risk factors. The EMHS PICH initiative is funded under a cooperative agreement with CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), which is leading the nation's efforts to prevent and control chronic diseases.


Picture of Craig GundersonCraig Gunderson, PhD, University of Illinois – Food Insecurity and Health Outcomes

Craig Gundersen is the soybean industry endowed professor in agricultural strategy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois and executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory. He is also a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Feeding America and is the lead researcher on the Map the Meal Gap project. Previously, he was at the Economic Research Service of the USDA and at Iowa State University. Gundersen's research is primarily focused on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on evaluations of food assistance programs. Among other journals, he has published in Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Econometrics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Health Affairs, Journal of Nutrition, Pediatrics, Demography, Obesity Reviews, Future of Children, Food Policy, Applied Economics Policy and Perspectives, Review of Income and Wealth, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and American Journal of Public Health. His work has been supported by external funding from various government and non-government sources including, among other sources, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH); ConAgra Foods Foundation; Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR); AARP Foundation; American Beverage Association; US Agency for International Development (USAID); Walmart Foundation; USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS); Merck Foundation; Urban Institute; and USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

Picture of Kristen MialeKristen Miale, President, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine                

Kristen Miale is the president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine’s largest hunger relief organization. Before her role as president, she was the founder and program director of Cooking Matters for Maine, a local chapter of Share Our Strength’s nationally recognized cooking and nutrition education program for low-income families. Prior to her work with food security, she worked for more than a decade in the private equity and business consulting fields. After volunteering for hunger relief organizations, she decided to make her passion for ending hunger her occupation. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her master’s in Business Administration from Boston University where she studied both entrepreneurship and non-profit management. She served as a board member and treasurer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine and on the board of the Cumberland County Extension Association.

Picture of Enid BordenEnid Borden, CEO, National Foundation to End Senior Hunger

Recognized in Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time, Enid Borden is an astonishing woman, an inspiring leader, and the preeminent authority on senior hunger in America.

For nearly three decades, Borden has relentlessly led the effort first to raise public awareness about and then to find solutions to the growing problem of senior hunger in America. She coined the term the “hidden hungry,” bringing the issue of senior hunger into the national dialogue. Under Borden’s leadership, the NFESH commissioned the first comprehensive national study on food insecurity among seniors and continues to release groundbreaking research on the causes, consequences, and future of senior hunger in America. Highlighting the problem of senior hunger has set the stage for Borden to achieve her life’s mission—formulating  creative and innovative solutions and then forging partnerships to ensure those solutions become reality.

Prior to founding NFESH, Borden held a variety of executive positions in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. As the president and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America, Borden elevated talk of local “food insecurity” into a national movement to recognize and end “senior hunger.” In doing so, Borden raised millions of dollars annually that continue to buoy that organization’s efforts today. She was the deputy commissioner for Policy and External Affairs at the Social Security Administration and the director of Public Affairs for the Office of Human Development Services in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Borden currently serves as an advisory board member of the Sesame Street Food Insecurity Advisory Committee and has been a member of the board of trustees of Alfred University. She has served in numerous capacities on nonprofit organizations and boards and has served on the faculty of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

Borden earned her bachelor’s degree from Alfred University in upstate New York, her master’s degree from Adelphi University in New York City, and pursued study through the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Picture of John CookJohn Cook, PhD, MA Ed, Children’s Health Watch

John Cook, PhD, is one of the Children’s HealthWatch co-principal investigators. His research interests include examining the effects of hunger, food security, and energy security on children’s health and well-being, as well as ways to increase access to affordable, healthy food. Research in progress is related to the effects of food insecurity at its lowest levels of severity, including “marginal food security.” Topics of greatest concern at present are global climate disruption and diminishing fossil-fuel supplies and the resulting implications for low-income families’ economic viability, for food availability and affordability, and for public health.

Prior to joining Children’s HealthWatch, Dr. Cook was the research director at the Center on Hunger, Poverty, and Nutrition Policy at Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy.  He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Cook received his bachelor of arts from the University of Alabama in mathematics and Spanish, and his master of education from Arizona State University in educational psychology.  He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in planning for developing areas with concentrations in demography and population studies and economics.

Picture of Sarah DownerSarah Downer, Esq., Harvard’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

Sarah Downer joined the Legal Services Center in 2010 as a Redstone Fellow, working in the Family and Children’s Law Practice Unit. In 2013, Downer began to practice in the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, with projects focusing on health and food law. Downer received her juris doctor from Harvard Law School in 2010, where she earned three semesters of clinical credit working in the Family Law Unit at the Center. She also served as a resident tutor at Harvard College in the areas of BGLT support, sexual assault/sexual harassment, and pre-law advising. Prior to attending law school, Downer worked in publishing and as part of a landscaping crew that restored parkland in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2004 with a BA in English literature.

Picture of Brenda JolyBrenda Joly, MPH, PhD, USM Muskie School – National CDC Evaluator

Brenda Joly, PhD, is an associate research professor at the University of Southern Maine in the graduate program in public health. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Joly leads several research and evaluation projects. She has been working as a program evaluator for more than 15 years, and she has led several national and multi-site evaluations. Dr. Joly is currently working with EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems) to evaluate a federally funded grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention known as Partnerships to Improve Community Health. Dr. Joly earned her master’s and PhD from the University of South Florida, College of Public Health.

Picture of Gary OppenheimerGary Oppenheimer, AmpleHarvest.org

Gary Oppenheimer is the founder of AmpleHarvest.org. Oppenheimer is a CNN Hero, World Food Prize nominee, lecturer and speaker (including a TED presentation and a Google Tech Talk), 2013 Purpose Prize fellow, Points of Light Tribute winner, Huffington Post’s “Greatest Person of the Day” and “2011 Game Changer”, winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s “Making A Difference” award, winner of the Glynwood 2011 “Wave of the Future” award, winner of the 2012 Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award, and Echoing Green semifinalist. Oppenheimer now makes his home in the mountains of northern New Jersey after having lived on a boat on the Hudson River in Manhattan since 1978. He is also a master gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, environmental commissioner in northern New Jersey, and long distance cyclist.