Contagious Conversations: Food is Medicine


Millions of Americans struggle with hunger. Millions more struggle with diet-related diseases—like heart disease and diabetes, some of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. While the effects of hunger impact all Americans, that toll disproportionately impacts underserved communities, communities of color, low-income families and rural Americans. 

I discussed with two physicians the critical linkage between food and nutrition in the latest episode of our Contagious Conversations podcast

Dr. Elizabeth Petelin is a resident physician in the Family Medicine Residency Program at MercyOne in Des Moines, IA. Dr. Thea James is associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center, vice president of mission, associate chief medical officer and co-executive director of the Health Equity Accelerator. 

In this conversation, Dr. Petelin describes an unusual medical diagnosis that she was recently involved with in Iowa that had stumped several specialists and clinicians, highlighting the vital role between nutrition and health. Dr. James discusses the role of nutrition in her work as an emergency medicine physician, and the work of a nonprofit organization called Community Servings, which actively engages communities to provide scratch-made medically tailored meals to those impacted by critical or chronic illness and nutrition insecurity. 

I encourage everyone to listen to this episode to learn more about this fascinating case in Iowa, and about the vital importance of nutrition and public health. 

The CDC Foundation is proud to be working with the White House and partners to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. Learn more about this initiative and how we can all work together to end hunger and improve health. 

Judy Monroe
Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.