Rita Nguyen

Civic Innovation Fellow

Food insecurity — independent of income — is associated with worse health outcomes, especially for chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. … If we are to truly influence health for an entire community, we must refocus our efforts on prevention.
— Rita Nguyen

Dr. Rita Nguyen has been working for much of her life to unite the humanitarian promise of medicine with the pursuit of social justice. As an undergraduate at Stanford, she helped start a student-run free clinic near her hometown on the east side of San Jose. During her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she led physician advocates in the greater Boston area to champion reforms that would create a better healthcare system for all.

Now the Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at San Francisco General Hospital and a member of the University of California San Francisco faculty, Rita has led several projects that blend transition care, food environments and physician advocacy. She leads efforts to create a therapeutic food pantry and teaching kitchen where patients can fill prescriptions for healthy diets and learn healthy cooking techniques and recipes. As a d.school fellow, Rita will focus on growing the therapeutic food pantry model, to continue to address health inequities faced by underserved communities.

Meet the rest of the d.school fellows