WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Indian Health Service (IHS), has awarded $2.5 million in funding to support the development of produce prescription programs in tribal communities. The purpose of the IHS Produce Prescription Pilot Program is to help reduce food insecurity and improve healthcare outcomes among American Indian and Alaska Native people by increasing access to produce and other traditional foods within Native communities.
“Food is medicine and nutrition is health,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “It is critical that all Americans have access to healthy food. Programs like this feed directly into our administration’s goal of building healthier communities at the local level. This announcement will help to make it easier for American Indian and Alaska Native communities to enjoy healthy eating and good nutrition.”
“This funding is not just an allocation of resources, but a resounding commitment to addressing food insecurity in American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” said IHS Director Roselyn Tso. “It is a recognition of the urgent need to empower and support tribal communities in their pursuit of food sovereignty and well-being.”
Produce prescription programs have been shown to increase access to nutritious foods in communities at risk for food insecurity. These programs help meet the needs of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and diet-related health problems by obtaining fruits and vegetables more easily. The IHS Produce Prescription Pilot Program is another action being taken to implement the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases.
The goal of this program is to demonstrate and evaluate the impact of produce prescription programs on American Indian and Alaska Native people and their families, specifically by reducing food insecurity, improving overall dietary health by increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and traditional food consumption, and improving healthcare outcomes.
The following tribes and tribal organizations received $500,000 each in 2023 grant funding to implement a produce prescription program in their communities:
|Laguna Healthcare Corporation
|Muscogee (Creek) Nation
|Navajo Health Foundation – Sage Memorial Hospital
|Pascua Yaqui Tribe
|Rocky Boy Health Center
The IHS Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention provides programmatic leadership to the Produce Prescription Pilot Program, as well as extensive training and resources, which are widely used by program sites and clinicians across the country.