Local cardiologist advocates for food and nutrition programs in nation’s capital

Alex Lynn and Dr. Prospero Gogo

Dr. Prospero Gogo, a long-time member of the American Heart Association Advocacy Committee, joined heart disease and stroke patients, survivors, caregivers, health care providers and other advocates from across the country in Washington, D.C. yesterday to ask their elected representatives to support nutrition and food security programs in the 2023 farm bill.

The advocates are part of You’re the Cure, the national grassroots network of the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives. Dr. Gogo is a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and a cardiologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Dr. Gogo and other volunteers urged their Members of Congress to support efforts to address diet quality and environmental sustainability in the 2023 farm bill, including supporting steps forward to improve diet quality in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a key component of the bill.

“For more than 50 years, SNAP has been vital in tackling food insecurity in the U.S.,” said Dr. Gogo. “This important program plays a crucial role in addressing hunger and poverty, but the program must be improved to focus on diet quality and nutrition. Making changes to the SNAP program could lead to a spillover effect that improves diet quality for everyone.”

The farm bill, which is scheduled to be reauthorized by Congress this year, has enormous influence over the food available to millions of people across the country. Essential anti-hunger and nutrition programs are projected to constitute more than four-fifths of the full cost of the legislation, including SNAP, the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentives Program and other crucial programs.

“We are fortunate that Dr. Gogo traveled to Washington with us to share his perspective with our elected representatives and to put a face to the importance of this legislation,” said Tina Zuk, the Association’s Government Relations Director for Vermont. “We hope the passion Dr. Gogo brings to Capitol Hill will move our lawmakers to support public policies that lead to longer, healthier lives.”