Healthy on the Hill
Phyisicians Committee's government affairs department is committed to passing meaningful legislation that improves public health, but Congress can be a challenging place these days. The 112th Congress (2011-2012) passed only 220 bills. By comparison, the “Do Nothing Congress” of 1947 and 1948 passed more than 900 bills.
But the Physicians Committee's mission is to empower individuals to take control of their own health through nutrition, and we have a ripe audience for that message on Capitol Hill, where thousands of young staffers work long hours and need help finding time for a nutritious diet. That’s why we partnered with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association—informally known as the “Veggie Caucus”—on our “Healthy on the Hill” program to help educate staff members about the power of a plant-based diet. Through events, regular e-mails to Congress, and handy publications, we hope to make Hill staffers healthier and more productive. Hopefully, they will take our plant-based message back to their work on relevant legislation such as the Farm Bill, the Child Nutrition Authorization, and many other nutrition-oriented bills.
Briefings with the Veggie Caucus
|Noah Koch with PCRM director of government affairs Noah Gittell|
The Physicians Committee routinely holds briefings with the Veggie Caucus on Capitol Hill for interested Hill staffers. We partnered with local vegan eateries like the award-winning Sticky Fingers and Elizabeth’s Gone Raw to provide lunch, and we bring in speakers who can deliver a dynamic message about plant-based eating. In April 2013, John Pierre, Ellen DeGeneres’ trainer, spoke with staffers about how to stay fit and healthy while working long hours at their desk. Later that year, PCRM brought Noah Koch, 9-year-old winner of Michelle Obama’s and the Let’s Move campaign’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Out of 50 winners, Noah’s entry—Vegan Powerhouse Pesto Pasta—was the only plant-based recipe. You can read about Noah’s visit to the Hill here.
Eating Healthy—A Handy Brochure
At all of our Capitol Hill meetings and briefings, we make sure to hand each staffer a copy of our “Healthy on the Hill” brochure. Updated every few years, the brochure gives staffers a rundown of the best restaurants on the Hill offering low-cost, plant-based options for dining in or take-out. View the most recent update of Healthy on the Hill.