Google Joins Forces with Tufts University to Transform Nutrition – Food Tank

During a recent event, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University launched its Food is Medicine Institute. Google also announced their plans to collaborate with the Institute to explore how technology can help provide consumers with accessible, evidence-based nutrition information.

Led by its inaugural Director Doctor Dariush Mozaffarian, the Food is Medicine Institute will serve as a catalyst to drive change, improve health, reduce health disparities, and establish a more equitable health system that prioritizes the power of food. The Institute’s projects will help integrate Food is Medicine into electronic health records, clinical care pathways, and referral systems. It will also engage public health advocates in its mission to inform, implement, and promote federal nutrition policy.

“Food is Medicine is the first real, meaningful, major intervention that I’ve seen in my career that can actually improve health and reduce healthcare disparities,” Mozaffarian says.

Google is supporting the Food is Medicine Institute by using their technology to advance and optimize nutrition information available to consumers online. Nira Goren, Head of Health Information Quality at Google, is leading Google’s Food is Medicine initiative which aims to facilitate the development of products and programs that will improve nutrition information quality. Google also hopes to better enable access to high quality food through collaboration with leaders in the food quality space.

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, and that includes nutrition information,” Goren said on a panel at the event.

The World Health Organization has long classified social and structural factors, including income and housing, as determinants of health. However, Goren highlights how the pandemic has revealed another fundamental health determinant: information.

“Nearly three-quarters of people in the US turn to the internet first for information about health and wellness,” Goren says.

By partnering with the Food is Medicine Institute, Google plans to utilize their technology to provide up-to-date, accurate, useful information so individuals and organizations can make optimal decisions about food. According to Goren, the launch of this Institute is pivotal for efforts to educate and empower the public to make informed nutritional choices.

“We know that nutrition is critical to health and if we can empower people and organizations to make optimal food choices, then we can make billions of people around the world healthier,” Goren says. “We recognize Food is Medicine as critical to this mission and we’re excited to be part of this community and accelerate this important field together.”

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Photo courtesy of Gareth Hubbard, Unsplash