Regional Hunger Summit to Address Hunger As a Health Issue


Experts and Regional Service Providers to Discuss Best Practices, Policy Change

DENVER (April 27, 2017) – With 1 in 7 Americans living in food-insecure households, the effects of hunger are hitting our nation’s health care system hard. There are clear associations between food insecurity and poor health status among children, adults, and seniors. In fact, U.S. health care costs resulting from hunger are $130.5 billion per year, according to the Center for American Progress.

Two local organizations, Colorado Prevention Alliance and Project Angel Heart, are partnering with the The Root Cause Coalition and Alliance to End Hunger to host Diagnosis: Hunger, a regional summit in Denver on Thursday, May 18. The summit aims to educate attendees on the relationship between hunger and health, highlight efforts to increase access to affordable, healthy foods in Colorado, and advocate for more highly prioritizing food and nutrition in the health care industry.

It is part of a series of regional summits held across the United States to encourage health care industry leaders to tackle the nation’s hunger crisis through creative collaborations with government leaders, social service agencies, businesses, and community partners. The event will feature experts on hunger and health, including:

  • Darlene Barnes, Regional Administrator, Mountain Plains Region, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Barbara J. Petee, Executive Director, The Root Cause Coalition, and Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer, ProMedica
  • Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President, AARP Foundation
  • Rebecca Middleton, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger
  • John Steiner, MD, Senior Investigator, Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
  • Erin Pulling, CEO, Project Angel Heart

The Diagnosis: Hunger summit is Thursday, May 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Rita Bass Trauma and EMS Education Institute in Denver, Colorado. The event is free and registration is available under the Events section of

“There is a need for an ongoing national dialogue about this issue,” said Barbara Petee, executive director, The Root Cause Coalition. “We are emphasizing involvement of the healthcare industry as we believe it is part of the solution to addressing the most basic needs of individuals; going back to our early roots in health care, and providing effective education, prevention, and resources to tackle the most basic issues. Increasingly, communities are working collaboratively to address the needs of their most vulnerable citizens, and health care should – and must be a part of these collaborations and solutions, so that we are not simply the last resource when needs exacerbate to a critical point.”

About The Root Cause Coalition
The mission of The Root Cause Coalition is to address the social determinants of health, with specific emphasis on hunger as a public health issue, to improve the health status of individuals and communities. Founding partners include AARP Foundation, ProMedica; Inaugural partners include American Hospital Association, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Loma Linda University Health, Connecticut Mental Health Center, Community Servings, and Paramount.

About Alliance to End Hunger
The Alliance to End Hunger is a coalition of nearly 100 organizations—corporate, non-profit, universities, foundations, healthcare, and individuals—committed to building the public and political will to end hunger in the United States and around the world. 

About Project Angel Heart
Project Angel Heart prepares and delivers medically tailored meals, free of charge, to men, women, and children living with cancer, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening illnesses. This year, the organization will provide meals for more than 2,900 people in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.

About the Colorado Prevention Alliance
The Colorado Prevention Alliance (CPA) is a collaborative of public and private health insurers and other partners, working together to promote evidence-based disease prevention strategies to improve population health.

Media Contact
Amy Daly, Director of Marketing & Communications
Project Angel Heart