Home > Blog > J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Volunteers an Important Reminder of the Growing Influence of Food Is Medicine in U.S. Healthcare
By Kimberly Kollwitz, Manager of Marketing and Communications

The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the largest healthcare investment symposium in the industry, met this week in San Francisco for its 42nd annual event. A dedicated group of conference attendees volunteered at Project Open Hand during the event, assisting with food preparation and packaging in our San Francisco location.

In total, this group of conference attendees helped to prepare over 1,300 medically tailored meals in our kitchen, as well as helping us cook, package, and portion out thousands of ingredients for our Grocery Center and medically tailored meals.

While Project Open Hand’s services fill a nutrition need among older adults and people living with complex illnesses, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference volunteers are a reminder of the important healthcare that medically tailored meals provide, too.

Medically Tailored Meals and the “Food is Medicine” Movement

Medically tailored meals, a key component of the Food is Medicine movement, are specifically formulated to help meet the needs of people living with critical health conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and heart disease.

Steadily gaining traction in the public for the last few decades, the “Food is Medicine” Movement has gained notoriety as a cost-effective healthcare solution with government agencies, insurance providers, and private companies as a way to help patients recover from illness, grow stronger, and lead healthier lives. An economic evaluation published in 2022 by a team of authors from Tufts University, Tufts Medical Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation found that the national implementation of medically tailored meals could net $13.6 billion in savings annually for healthcare insurers.

Increasing Public and Private Investments

This gaining traction is evident in the increasing government and private investments in the movement. For example, in 2018, the State of California launched a four-year pilot program to measure medically tailored meals and their impact on Medi-Cal healthcare in the state.

In 2022, The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health placed medically tailored meals and “Food is Medicine” strategies as a top solution to ending hunger and reducing the prevalence of chronic disease in the United States by 2030. That same year, the Rockefeller Foundation committed $4.6 million in grants for Food is Medicine initiatives in the U.S.

Even as recently as in late 2023, American retailer giant Kroger launched a “food-as-medicine program” in late 2023 through Kroger Health, delivering medically tailored meals for customers living with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Project Open Hand and Community-Based “Food is Medicine” Providers

As the largest provider of medically tailored meals and groceries in the Bay Area, we are proud of our community-based approach, focusing on connecting people who are low-income and living with complex health conditions to our services. Through medically tailored meals and nutritional support, Project Open Hand fills a gap in nutritional needs for our clients and provides critical, cost-effective healthcare that helps them to recover from illnesses, grow stronger, and lead healthier lives. It’s one piece of the puzzle to creating more affordable, effective, and integrated healthcare.

Thank you to IDEA Pharma for organizing this group of conference attendees. Special thanks go out to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference attendees for volunteering with us and learning more about how Project Open Hand is helping to advance “Food is Medicine” initiatives in the Bay Area.

If your organization is interested in volunteering as a community or corporate group, visit our Volunteer page for more opportunities. To learn more about Food is Medicine and Project Open Hand's role is advancing Food is Medicine throughout California, visit the California Food Is Medicine Coalition's website.

Additional Resources


1921 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-0221
Email Us

San Francisco

730 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 447-2300
Email Us