Seth Berkowitz, MD, MPH
Seth Berkowitz, MD, MPH

Seth Berkowitz, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the division of general medicine, is principal investigator for a five-year “R01” grant to support a randomized clinical trial involving 200 individuals with Type 2 diabetes and food insecurity. In partnership with Community Servings and Massachusetts General Hospital, the $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will expand a study of medically-tailored meal delivery as an effective health care intervention.

“While medically tailored meal delivery programs are gaining increased public attention and acceptance by health care providers, there has yet to be a full-scale clinical trial to test its effects on diabetes outcomes when compared to other food insecurity interventions,” Berkowitz said.  “We will be looking for improvements in hemoglobin A1c levels as well as patient-reported outcomes such as hypoglycemia, diabetes distress and quality of life.”

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, 20 percent of whom have insufficient access to enough food to sustain an active, healthy life.  Food insecurity is associated with poor diabetes control, increased medical complications and higher costs of care.

“This study takes our research efforts to another level – building on previous analyses of claims data that found positive patient outcomes and lower health care costs associated with our meals, to launching an advanced clinical test involving individuals living with diabetes and lacking food resources,” said David B. Waters, CEO of Community Servings.  “We are grateful for the support of the NIH and look forward to working with our research partners on this exciting project.”

Other study members include Linda Delahanty, MS, and Deborah Wexler, MD, at Mass General.

Berkowitz previously led a pilot randomized clinical trial that found medically-tailored meal delivery was successful in improving diet quality and control of the disease among recipients with diabetes and food insecurity.

Learn more about the new grant award here.