The Food is Medicine Coalition engages in research to prove that food truly is medicine, especially for those who have serious and chronic illnesses. 

Completed FIMC Agency Research


Association Between Receipt of a Medically Tailored Meal Program and Health Care Use

The rigorous study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Evidence for Action program, utilized Massachusetts’ insurance claims database and found that participation in a medically tailored meals program was associated with fewer hospital admissions and nursing home admissions, and less overall medical spending. The study team was led by Dr. Seth A. Berkowitz, a physician and assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. Community Servings collaborated with researchers at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Mongan Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. Results of this study were published in the April 2019 issue of the journal JAMA – Internal Affairs.




Small Intervention, Big Impact: Health Care Cost Reductions Related to Medically Tailored Nutrition

Utilizing medical claims data from the Colorado All Payers Claim Database, Project Angel Heart examined the cost patterns of medically tailored meal recipients, and compared costs to a control group. Emergency room utilization and all-cause 30 day readmissions were also analyzed. Results were segmented by line of business (total, inpatient, outpatient, professional, pharmacy), payer and disease. The study found that the rate of all-cause 30-day readmissions was reduced by 13% when individuals received meals, and per person per month total medical costs for individuals living with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes were significantly reduced by an average of 24%. To review the full-scope of the study findings, visit

The Food is Medicine Model

This inspiring report details how a groundbreaking partnership between Health Partners Plans and the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance has provided medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling to chronically ill Medicaid and Medicare members. Researchers found improved health outcomes and reduced medical costs. Lower HbA1c scores for 26% of members. Reduction in inpatient admissions by 26% and reduced ER visits by 7%. Overall drop in medical costs by 19%/mo.


Meal Delivery Programs Reduce The Use Of Costly Health Care In Dually Eligible Medicare And Medicaid Beneficiaries

This study examined whether home delivery of either medically tailored meals or nontailored food reduces the use of selected health care services and medical spending in a sample of adults dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Compared with matched nonparticipants, participants had fewer emergency department visits in both the medically tailored meal program and the nontailored food program. Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient admissions and lower medical spending. Participation in the nontailored food program was not associated with fewer inpatient admissions but was associated with lower medical spending. These findings suggest the potential for meal delivery programs to reduce the use of costly health care and decrease spending for vulnerable patients. (Health Affairs)


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Project Open Hand, San Francisco, UCSF School of Medicine/Center for Vulnerable Populations, Food=Medicine Study: Pub, Journal of Urban Health

In 2014 Project Open Hand partnered with UCSF to launch a pilot program to study and evaluate the intervention in Type 2 Diabetes, HIV and co-morbidly diagnosed populations. The completion of this study provides scientific data to demonstrate that Project Open Hand’s food does indeed equal medicine for diabetes and HIV clients.

Key Results: 63% reduction in hospitalizations, 50% increase in medication adherence and 58% decrease in client emergency room visits.


Examining Health Care Costs Among MANNA Clients and a Comparison Group: Pub. Journal Of Primary Care and Community Health

This study explored health care claims data on 65 MANNA clients over time in comparison with a matched set of Medicaid patients who did not receive MANNA services. This peer-reviewed research found that over the course of a year the MANNA clients accumulated an average of almost $12,000 less in medical expenses per month than the control group. The MANNA clients were hospitalized half as often, and, if they were hospitalized, the stay was 37% shorter and they were 23% more likely to be discharged to their home rather than sub-acute care. The cost savings among those who were hospitalized was dramatic with the mean monthly costs averaging $132,000 in the MANNA client group versus $220,000 in the comparison group.


The policy team at God's Love We Deliver, teamed up with Dr. Angela Aidala at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health to analyze food-related questions in a longitudinal study of people living with HIV.

Food as Medicine White Paper- Community Servings

Provides extensive information on medically tailored home delivered meals and their positive effect on health outcomes.