Reflections on PHA's 2019 Work and Impact

By: Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America

Date: Dec. 23, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, I want to thank our partners around the country – for their partnership, for the things we have learned together, and for our shared impact. As we collectively look ahead to 2020 – a new decade for the calendar as well as for PHA – I want to reflect on the progress and trends that stood out to me in 2019.

Together, we have broadened this movement and expanded PHA’s reach. In 2019, we:

  • Welcomed seven new corporate and non-profit commitments:

    Harbor Wholesale Foods, Kwik Trip, Kum & Go, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), Produce Marketing Association & NACS, Sprout Foods, and the YMCA of the USA.

  • Added 11 new campus partners to our Healthier Campus Initiative:

    Barton College (Wilson, N.C.), Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.), Dillard University (New Orleans, La.), Illinois State University (Normal, Ill.), Madison Area Technical College (Madison, Wisc.), Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va.), Marymount University (Arlington, Va.), Shaw University (Raleigh, N.C.), University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah), University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.), and University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.).

  • Expanded our Food Assistance Partnership Program by eight:

    Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (Charlottesville, Va.), Central California Food Bank (Fresno, Calif.), Feeding South Florida (Pembroke Park, Fla.), Food Bank of the Southern Tier (Elmira, N.Y.), Galveston County Food Bank (Texas City, Texas), Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine (Auburn, Me.), Greater Chicago Food Depository (Chicago, Ill.), and Philabundance (Philadelphia, Pa.).

This has been an important year for our shared vision of shifting the food and nutrition environment in America. I am particularly heartened by a few key trends:

  • We at long last saw good news on obesity, as childhood rates dropped. That is in large part due to important changes in the WIC program – and PHA has been active in looking for ways to leverage this positive development.

  • The long-awaited inclusion of infants and children in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, coupled with our own observations and learnings about how critical this area is, has prompted PHA to take a hard look at the food supply for our youngest children. In 2020, we expect significant movement and traction on a new initiative to shape children’s palates with nutritious, vegetable-forward food.

We have also made great strides on two bodies of work serving low-income populations:

  • Our partnerships in the convenience store industry continue to grow and thrive.

    In addition to the nine chains and six distributors we partner with to supply underserved populations, we will be issuing a call to entrepreneurs who want to develop better-for-you prepared meals and meal kits at a price point that will make healthier foods more accessible.

  • Our work with food banks serving 48 million low-income Americans nationwide is taking off.

    This will culminate in 66 million pounds of fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious food flowing to those most in need, as well as the elimination of 12 million pounds of junk food from food bank streams nationwide. We continue to see an opportunity to work on doubling fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes in foods grown, harvested, processed, sold, and consumed – in other words, the entire production chain. Those good-for-you and planet-friendly foods must become ever more important.

As you know, our 10th Anniversary is approaching this spring, and we look forward to reflecting and sharing our learnings as we move into the next decade. We hope to see you all in Chicago, April 27-28, 2020 for PHA10: Accelerating a Healthier Future.