According to the USDA’s latest report, more than 38 million people in the United States experienced hunger in 2020.
The United Nations Secretary-General has called for a Food Systems Summit to unleash the power of food and deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In preparing for the Summit, community stakeholders in Florida will discuss challenges, via a virtual consultative forum, to sustainable food systems by connecting homeless people, low-income families, and the senior population with access to resources by leveraging technology. Addressing food and shelter insecurity has revealed this vulnerable population also suffers from healthcare access and prolonged care.
A presented solution will be UniteX, a landing site platform to help connect resources to people who are at-risk for food, shelter, and healthcare needs.

This virtual consultative forum aims to foster dialogue in Florida through an inclusive stakeholder approach to examine the relationship between food insecurity and social determinants of health. 

• The conversation will be grounded in identifying needs, challenges, current resources, and interventions to secure sustainable practices.

• We will reveal grounded solution approaches that create sustainable change alongside working to address evidence-based, scalable results; including using an integrated digital eco-system to make the world more connected through partnerships.

Blue Ridge Consulting is the official convening partner with the United Nations; they are the social impact firm. American TelePhysicians is invited by Blue Ridge Consulting as an official UN Food Systems partner to host this event through their relationship.
Dr. Waqas Ahmed, Nephrologist, Founder, and CEO of American TelePhysicians, states, “To achieve a hunger-free world, we must address the root causes of food insecurity and systemic inequities, identify their impacts on healthcare, and should utilize technology to build viable solutions and ecosystems that are sustainable and scalable.”

Our Panelists

Waqas Ahmed MD, FACP,  Nephrologist, Founder and CEO of American TelePhysicians

Dr. Waqas Ahmed is a practicing nephrologist based in Jacksonville, Florida. He is the founder and CEO of American TelePhysicians, a physician-led digital healthcare and telemedicine company with expertise in building healthcare ecosystems. 

Dr. Ameena Zia

Dr. CEO & Founder of Blue Ridge Consulting.


Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO, LSF Health Systems and EVP, Lutheran Services Florida

Dr. Christine Cauffield is CEO of LSF Health Systems, the Managing Entity comprised of 60 Behavioral Health Care organizations that span a 23-county region. The network serves over 350,000 clients annually, with a budget of $155 million in North Central and Northeast Florida.

Jennifer Spear, Population Health, Provider and Business Integration Leader, Humana

Jennifer Spear is an Associate Director of Business and Provider Integration with Humana’s population health team. Jennifer oversees executing interventions and programs that address the integration of health-related social needs throughout Humana’s core business

Dr. Lauri Wright, Chair, Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition Co-Director, University of North Florida

Dr. Lauri Wright is an associate professor at the University of North Florida, co-director of the Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition, director of the Center for Nutrition and Food Insecurity, and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Melanie Patz, VP of Community Investment and Impact, Baptist Health

Melanie Patz is Vice President of Community Investment and Impact at Baptist Health; she assists with the development of the Community Health Needs Assessment in collaboration with the surrounding Jacksonville healthcare organizations

Brian Snow, Chief Program Officer at Sulzbacher Centerh

Brian Snow is Chief Program Officer of the Sulzbacher Center, a nonprofit on a mission to empower homeless and at-risk women, children, and men through health, housing, and income services. Snow has worked for this organization for almost two decades in various positions. Previously, he worked for the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Snow works with the fastest-growing homeless population segment and is the largest homeless resource provider in Northeast Florida. Furthermore, Snow helped spearhead the expansion of the village set-up, which offers a range of services, including job training, pediatric, medical, dental, vision, and behavioral health care