Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub has been named Vice Chair of the California Food is Medicine Coalition for 2023. Angela Farley, CEO of Teen Kitchen Project in Santa Cruz County, will serve as Chair. Established in 2017, as an outgrowth of the national Food is Medicine Coalition, CalFIMC is the leading association of Medically Tailored Meal providers for Californians with chronic or severe illnesses and serves as a resource for health plan partners, healthcare providers and policymakers.
Under Ayoub’s leadership, Project Angel Food became a founding agency of CalFIMC and has worked tirelessly to develop, refine and sustain models where food and nutrition services are an integral part of cost-effective and high-quality healthcare to improve health outcomes.
In 2017, CalFIMC inspired California to establish the first-ever statewide pilot program in the country testing the efficacy of Medically Tailored Meals. The Congestive Heart Failure Pilot, a four-year study, offered a 12-week intervention designed to improve the health outcomes and reduce medical costs of people living with CHF through Medically Tailored Meals and individualized nutritional counseling. The CHF Pilot results will be published sometime in the second quarter of 2023 with preliminary data showing positive results, far exceeding expectations.
At that time, Ayoub said, “This pilot program will go a long way to make sure that people who are sick and hungry can get the food that not only keeps them alive but will help them heal. We applaud the State of California for being visionaries in reducing food stress in the state, while bringing down the cost of healthcare.”
Based on the results in programs like this, President Joe Biden announced increasing access to Medically Tailored Meals as a key pillar of the nation’s strategy for improving equitable health for all Americans at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. As Vice Chair of CalFIMC, his leadership at Project Angel Food, his speaking engagements, and national media appearances, Ayoub continues to advocate for a world, and a California, where all people have access to appropriate nutrition services that address their medical needs.
CalFIMC member agencies include Ceres Community Project, Food for Thought, Fresno Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), The Health Trust, Mama’s Kitchen, Project Angel Food, Project Open Hand, and Teen Project Kitchen, collectively serving more than 17,000 seriously ill people currently in eight counties throughout the state. Project Angel Food has delivered 16 million meals since its founding in 1989 and currently delivers 1.5 million Medically Tailored Meals per year to 4,000 unduplicated clients annually.