As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many Americans are having to choose between staying safe and being able to feed themselves and their families. Food insecurity is a complex problem that disproportionately affects many of the same populations that are most affected by COVID-19, including the elderly, low income individuals and families, African Americans, and those in principal cities and nonmetropolitan areas. Lauren Shweder Biel of DC Greens, Jennifer Spear of Humana, and Richard Sheward of Children’s HealthWatch will share their perspectives on the impacts of COVID-19 on food security and what actions healthcare entities can take to overcome food insecurity in their communities while also battling COVID-19.
About The Presenters
Lauren Shweder Biel
Lauren is Executive Director and co-founder of DC Greens, a nonprofit that works to advance food justice and health equity in the nation’s capital. Since launching DC Greens in 2009, she has received many local and national awards and honors for her work as a community-builder, non-profit leader and strategic thought partner in building a healthy and equitable food system. She has served on the DC Mayor’s Commission for Healthy Youth and Schools, has co-chaired the “Diabesity” Committee for DC Health, and acts as an advisor to the DC Food Policy Council.
Richard Sheward, MPP
Richard Sheward is the Director of Innovative Partnerships at Children’s HealthWatch. In this role, Richard leads the cross-sector policy work and initiatives of the organization. In close coordination with the Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigators and Executive Director, he identifies and executes a wide range of projects grounded in research, policy analysis, and advocacy to inform and influence policy decisions that improve children’s health. Richard’s multi-pronged portfolio includes leadership of the Children’s Health Watch Social Vital Signs™ Communities of Practice, as well as strategic and innovative partnerships with other national organizations, researchers, and policy makers to advance the mission of Children’s HealthWatch.
Jennifer Spear, MBA
Jennifer Spear is a Population Health Strategy Lead with Humana’s population health team. With a diverse background in business, sales and marketing, Spear is in charge of executing interventions and programs that address food insecurity in Humana’s member population and the communities they serve. Additionally, she works closely with community partners, the clinical community and other partners to address the health related social needs, particularly food insecurity, of people, where they are receiving care. Spear previously led employee awareness strategies dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of social determinants of health and Healthy Days. Prior to her role working with food insecurity, Spear implemented member call programs that focused on Healthy Days assessments, which is how Humana is tracking progress toward its Bold Goal – that the communities it serves will be 20 percent healthier by 2020 and beyond.