Our mission:

Doctor with patients

The Childhood Hunger Coalition (CHC) is a network of health care professionals, anti-hunger advocates and other interested Oregonians working together to educate the medical community, policy makers, and the general public about the medical, developmental and psycho-social impacts of childhood food insecurity and hunger. We believe childhood hunger must be understood as a public health issue, not simply a social issue.

Mission: To eliminate public health problems arising from childhood hunger through prevention, identification of families at risk and intervention.

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Take action and learn more about the health consequences of childhood hunger.


In 2007, the coalition completed a survey of nearly 200 healthcare providers in pediatric and family practice settings in the Portland Metro-area to determine the extent to which physicians and nurse practitioners monitor household food insecurity of families with children, and to examine factors that influence food insecurity monitoring. Most respondents did not routinely inquire about food insecurity. However, most (89%) expressed willingness to use a standardized screening tool, if available.

Coalition members also conducted focus groups of families at risk for food insecurity to assess their experiences with food insecurity and their comfort level addressing hunger with their healthcare provider. Families expressed willingness to address hunger and food access with their healthcare provider when a trusting relationship was established.

Based on this information, the coalition developed an online continuing medical education (CME) course “Childhood Food Insecurity: Health Impacts, Screening and Intervention,” with over 2,000 course registrants as of 2015. Increased funding in 2009 brought the opportunity to expand the healthcare provider survey statewide, leading to the creation of a clinic toolkit. The CME course and other resources are available to providers and the public at www.childhoodhunger.org.

In 2013, CHC successfully piloted clinic-based screening and patient assistance at OHSU Doernbecher Pediatric Clinic. Pilot results revealed a significant level of food insecurity (about 14%), challenging providers’ assumptions about who is food insecure. After the pilot, screening expanded into community and public health settings including Head Start and WIC. Insights from these community interventions have in turn informed training materials for medical clinic outreach.

The successful pilot led to a grant for a full-time clinical outreach and training coordinator at Oregon Food Bank to implement Screen & Intervene statewide. Within the first 15 months of the program, Screen & Intervene was implemented in 200 clinics and hospitals across Oregon. In addition, Screen & Intervene staff are working with health care allies and the Oregon Health Authority to propose food insecurity screening and intervention as an Oregon Medicaid Performance Metric. Successful adoption would result in expansion of screen and intervene to almost all Oregon health care facilities.

Participating organizations



Coalition Members:

Elizabeth Adams
PhD, RD, Oregon
Health & Science University
Cheryl Alto
MS, RD, Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, Office of Family Health, WIC Program
Dana Hargunani
MD, Oregon Health & Science University
Molly Haynes
MPH, RD, Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Anne Hoisington
MS, RD, Oregon State University Extension, Family and Community Health
Lynn Knox
Oregon Food Bank
Marcella Miller
MA, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
Charlette Navarre
RN/BC, Providence Health System
Joy Rowley
MSW, Oregon Child Development Coalition
Ginny Sorensen
MA, Oregon Food Bank