Governor’s Food Security Council

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Via Zoom

Minutes (Subject to FSC Approval)

Members Present via Zoom:  Dr. Phillip Knight (chair), Lewis Roubal (vice-chair), Patrice Brown, Alex Canepa, Juan Escareno, Diana Marin, Steffany Muirhead, Ken Nobis, Todd Regis, Tammy Rosa, Laurie Solotorow, Wade Syers, Pam Yager

Non-voting Members Present: Brianna Egan (on behalf of Senator Winnie Brinks), Chelsea Fraley (on behalf of Representative Witwer), and Amanda Wright) on behalf of Senator Daley

Members Absent: Dr. Diane Golzynski, Dawn Medley, Dr. Delicia Pruitt, Michelle Schulte

Non-voting Members Absent: Representative Wendzel

Members via Teleconference:

Public Comment: 


  • Welcome and Introduction – Dr. Phillip Knight, Chairman of Food Security Council
    • Meeting called to order at 1:02 p.m. by Lew Roubal
  • Approval of 2-9-21 minutes and 3-9-21 agendaLewis Roubal, Vice-Chair of Food Security Council
    • Motion by Todd Regis to approve 2-9-21 FSC meeting minutes and the 3-9-21 agenda, supported by Laurie Solotorow. Motion unanimously carried.


  • Presentation on the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), and FSC Q&A – Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and author of “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City”
    • Mona Hanna-Attisha explained that there are so many components of a healthy child and how we must address other determinants if we want to care for the entirety of the patient. She discussed that clinical healthcare only contributes to 10-10% of health outcomes, and described social determinants of health (SDoH) such as:
      • Economic stability
      • Education
      • Neighborhood and built environment, i.e. zip codes [these can determine life expectancies]
      • Social and community context
    • Mona Hanna-Attisha launched the Nutrition Prescription program approximately 6 years ago. Transportation being a large barrier for many, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and her team chose to move the Hurley Children’s Clinic inside the Flint Farmers Market building [conveniently across the street from a bus stop], this eliminated one extra step to seek medical care and receive healthy and nutritious foods.
      • How it works: Parents of the children receive a $15 prescription that may be filled for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Flint Farmers’ Market or through the Flint Fresh Mobile Market with delivery to a home or business within the city.
      • To read more:
      • The Nutrition Prescription program is now a national $25M program.
      • We must expand eligibilities / expand food access as many people who are using Emergency Food Assistance Programs are working more than one job, but still need assistance. We must lift them up for working, not punish them.
      • Mona Hanna-Attisha recommends that we expand access to breastfeeding mothers, as this is the child’s first form of nutrition.


  • Q & A
    • Lew Roubal: Within the healthcare community, what is the receptiveness of pediatricians and others to look at food as one of the main SDoH [also asked for recommendations on how to infuse this into the medical community at a greater].
      • Mona Hanna-Attisha shared that physicians understand that food is a SDoH, but they need more education on it. Medical Education only requires 1 hour of Nutrition Education. The younger generations are demanding more training in Nutrition Education and Public Health Education. More often than not, physicians are focusing on nutrition education when it’s too late, i.e. chronic diseases.
    • Patrice Brown: How are we moving the conversations around the curriculum change and adding nutrition education in the medical setting / students? How RX program changing the conversation?
      • Mona Hanna-Attisha discussed that this is a challenge given the small amount of time designated for Nutrition Education in the medical school curriculum, but we have partnered at the state level to bring awareness of its importance and to offer more opportunities for nutrition education.
    • Ken Nobis: People in general do not have a good awareness with nutrition in the country; have you thought more about how educate said people?
      • Mona Hanna-Attisha: A lot of industries don’t want people to know about nutrition. More than likely, if people had the resources, they would eat better. Ensuring people have the resources and their dignity is respected are the basic fundamentals.
    • Alex Canepa: Pertaining to the Nutrition RX, how can we make the messaging clear on dietary advice? How can we make it easier to understand?
      • Mona Hanna-Attisha: Make it as simple as possible, leave the medical jargon out of the messaging.


  • Workgroup Progress Reports
    • Food Supply/Systems—Co-Chairs: Todd Regis and Jamie Somers-Zmitko
      • Members: Amy Baker, Ken Nobis, Wade Syers and Kath Clark
      • Jamie Somers-Zmitko shared that their group has had a number of guest speakers
      • Emerging recommendation: Keep a co-packing list so we do not get in a situation similar to spring 2020, when our packing resources were limited.
      • The workgroup is researching and running analyses on the following programs:
        • Victory gardens: worked with extension with their state to distribute boxes / seeds along with instructions to help people plant their own food.
        • Restaurant that have been impacted: Pay restaurants to make meals for those in need.
        • MASS contract: $2M per fiscal year to help purchase MI products. Processing meat does not fall under this program – ideally would like to change.
      • Policies – Co-Chairs: Kim Edsenga and Lew Roubal
        • Member: Anna Almanza
          • Lew Roubal shared that they are benefitting from the U of M Ford School grad students working on a food security policy scan and collecting data at the state and federal level.
          • They are interviewing approximately 40 subject matter experts to try and understand the promising practices and food policies.
          • Looking at activities /recommendations for Michigan that will improve enrollment processes for food assistance and WIC, interest in looking at grocery delivery with SNAP benefits.


  • Special Populations – Co-Chairs: Diana Marin and Tammy Rosa
    • Member: Dawn Medley
    • Tammy Rosa provided the following updates:
      • Added three more at-large members to add wide representation to the group.
      • Anticipate more public comment as they have done a lot of listening to testimonials.
      • They are focusing on barriers that people face when applying for food assistance. [Will be in the Shared Google Drive FSC folder].


  • Racial Disparities – Co-Chairs: Alex Canepa and Patrice Brown
    • Member: Dr. Diane Golzynski
      • Alex Canepa shared that Shiloh Maples, professor at Eastern Michigan University presented to their group last month [Lecture was recorded and will be in shared Google folder].
      • Focusing on incarcerated group – suggested as an area of focus for special pops. Group
      • The group is crafting recommendations in careful and thought out ways to make sure no one feels neglected by the state government
      • Need for culturally appropriate food in food assistance.
    • Healthcare – Co-Chairs: Laurie Solotorow and Pam Yager
      • Members: Dr. Delicia Pruitt and Dr. Dawn Opel
        • Pam Yager shared that they are having a lot of conversations around RX for health
        • Looking at 1115 waivers
        • They met with Alexander Plum with Henry Ford Health Systems around Henry Groceries Program – he will be joining the workgroup.
        • Amy Saxe-Custack – willing to share data / white papers [referring to cost analysis, Patrice’s question for Dr. Mona].
      • Client Perspectives – Co-Chairs: Lew Roubal and Michelle Schulte
        • Member: Anna Almanza
        • Lew Roubal shared the following updates:
          • Focused on local client perspectives and heard from the disability network. Challenges with getting groceries on buses (large grocery chains are not in the inner city locations and limit pounds due to ability to carry)
          • Online EBT not offering delivery services.
          • MI SNAP population runs a higher rate of being disconnected – figuring out why and how to improve.
          • 49% of respondents are paying Feb. rent late or not at all
          • MI Youth opportunity initiative (MYOI) – teens that were foster care and then age out of the system
            • Concerns of how to shop for groceries as well as follow recipes and cook. Barrier of how to turn food into nourishing meals.


  • New Business
    • Dawn Opel discussed that while all of the workgroups are in the evidence- based gathering stage of research [where we should be], over the next couple of months, we will be transitioning into policy recommendations and will need to create a process by which policy driven solutions are being created.


  • Review of next steps and action items
  • Reminder to everyone to update their documents. Dawn will help keep organized.


  • Meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.