Nurses, doctors, and pharmacists are considered by the general public to have the highest levels of ethics and honesty compared to any other professions. This level of trust makes health professionals ideal advocates for action on public policy and hospital operations policy to build healthy and sustainable food systems. They can leverage their knowledge about and commitment to protecting public health and influence elected officials and hospital leaders to support food policy that is better for people, communities and the planet.
Within hospitals, clinicians, food service staff and others can join together to advocate for sustainable food purchasing policies. Whether it is establishing guidelines for purchasing meat raised without routine antibiotic or committing to buy a certain percentage of the hospital’s food from local farmers, there are many opportunities to get involved. With climate change recognized as the biggest public health threat of the 21st century, hospitals can lead by example by creating climate action plans that incorporate food purchasing and menuing strategies to encourage healthy and sustainable diets.
Beyond the hospital, health professionals can influence elected officials and support sustainable food policies through sign-on letters, providing testimonials, and participating in legislative visits. Agriculture policy is health policy. Health Care Without Harm’s fact sheets show how agriculture policy is directly linked to health with key points to include in advocacy for change:
- Farm Bill
- Reforming policy for a healthy animal agriculture system
- Reforming markets for equitable access to food
- Engage in innovation happening in your region
- Join our Physicians Network
- Support your hospital in:
- Signaling your support for sustainable food systems
- Joining Practice Greenhealth, the leading nonprofit leadership and networking organization for sustainable health care
Health Care Without Harm is a founding member of the Clinician Champions in Comprehensive Antibiotic Stewardship (CCCAS) Collaborative, which aims to increase knowledge within the clinical community of the link between antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use in agriculture and to promote policy action that supports judicious use.