Community Benefit Programming To Improve Healthy Food Access And Reduce Risk Of Diet-related Disease: A National Survey of Hospitals

Changes to IRS regulations governing nonprofit hospitals' community benefit obligations have created a new impetus for hospitals to collaborate with other stakeholders to implement community health improvement plans that address social determinants of health, including increasing access to quality, affordable food.

Health Care Without Harm has undertaken a three-year project, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to examine hospital community benefit programming to increase healthy food access, promote healthy and sustainable food systems, and reduce risk of diet-related health conditions. The project includes primary research as well as developing and disseminating tools and resources to support replication of promising community benefit practices.

This report, the first in a series of research reports and other resources that will be released in 2017, summarizes findings from a survey of a random sample of community benefit directors at not-for-profit, general medical and surgical hospitals throughout the United States. The survey investigates how hospitals organize community benefit activities and how they include food insecurity, healthy food access, and diet-related disease in their community health needs assessments and implementation strategies.