Food to Overcome Outcome Disparities

Many immigrants and other medically underserved people lack the resources to obtain food. In fact, 61 percent of patients served by the Integrated Cancer Care Action Network (ICCAN) are food insecure. Such patients often have worse treatment outcomes and a poorer quality of life than those who have enough to eat. (1)

Food to Overcome Outcome Disparities (FOOD) is working to improve food security among immigrants and other medically underserved people who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Food Pantries for People with Cancer

Since 2011, the FOOD Program has distributed more than 19,000 bags of nourishing food to more than 2,400 patients and their families through our eight pantries in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

In 2017, the FOOD Program partnered with Green Bronx Machine and GrowNYC to source and distribute farm fresh produce to patients at our pantries. Without access to these free fruits and vegetables, many patients would not have the resources to purchase fresh items.

FOOD is currently conducting a clinical trial to study the impact of food vouchers, grocery home delivery, and hospital-based food pantries on cancer treatment, quality of life, food security, and nutritional status.

Food and Nutrition Resources

In addition to food distribution, the Program connects patients with a variety of emergency food resources. Through the Food Bank for New York City’s Tiered Engagement Network, eligible patients are referred for assistance with completing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (previously food stamp) applications. Patients are also directed to pantries and soup kitchens in their neighborhoods for additional food resources. Patients can attend nutritionist-led workshops on how to eat healthy on a budget through our partnerships with New York Common Pantry and Columbia University Teachers College.

FOOD Provider Training Course

The FOOD Provider Training Course is designed to educate clinicians about the importance of addressing food intake and access during clinical patient encounters. This training module offers strategies and resources to help providers ensure that patients are food secure throughout their treatment. View our training course and provide feedback on the course. You can also test your knowledge from the course using our curriculum questionnaire.

Partner Organizations

Contact Us

For more information about FOOD program activities, please contact Julia Ramirez at ramirej1@mskcc.org.

For more information about FOOD research, please contact Nicole Roberts at robertsn@mskcc.org.