What We Do: With Health Care Partners

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the issue

Across the country, health educators, medical practitioners and community leaders have identified diet-related health problems as a major threat to the well-being of the communities they serve. Low consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as diets high in sodium and saturated fats have been identified as risk factors for developing certain chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Chronic disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with 6 of out 10 adults suffering from one chronic disease and another 4 in 10 adults suffering from two or more chronic diseases. This dilemma is exacerbated by the fact that 17% of women and 28% of men report lacking a primary care provider and therefore do not have easy, direct access to professional medical aid and guidance. With health disparities on the rise, there is an opportunity for healthy food access advocates and health care providers to work together and reach more people in need. 


the food trust solution

The Food Trust partners with hospitals, health systems, clincians, insurers and medical students in an effort to link primary care to public health. By leveraging resources, relationships and expertise, The Food Trust can provide residents with much needed services and education that they otherwise may not have had the opportunity to access. Innovative partnerships and programming such as these put the focus on the community in addressing the association between food insecurity and poor health, empowering residents to take control of their own wellbeing.

how we work with health care partners

Health Screenings: The Food Trust has partnered with health care institutions such as hospitals, universities and county health departments to provide free health screenings, counseling and referrals in a variety of retail settings, including corner stores and farmers markets. Bringing these services into settings where people buy food allows customers to not only shop for healthy, affordable food and receive nutrition education but also meet with health care professionals, all in one outing. This combination of programming makes it easier for residents to understand their risk profile and access needed services, all within a familiar environment. Check out the Community Health Hubs report or Heart Smarts Toolkit below to learn more. 

Produce Prescription Programs: The Food Trust connects health care partners with fresh food retailers around a common goal of increasing access to affordable fresh produce. Hospital providers give eligible patients “prescriptions” that can be redeemed at participating corner stores, farmers markets and supermarkets for fresh produce. The Food Trust’s Food Bucks Rx program can be custom designed to best fit each individual clinical setting. 

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Nutrition Education: The Food Trust provides nutrition education to patients in different hospital settings, such as pediatric waiting rooms. Educators present on a variety of important nutrition topics, and patients are fueled with the information and support they need to make healthy decisions. In addition, The Food Trust’s educators train hospital staff on nutrition topics so that they can also present this information to their patients. 

Farmers Markets: The Food Trust collaborates with health care partners, community partners and local farmers to increase healthy food access through farmers markets. By co-locating near health care institutions and clinics, farmers markets provide an opportunity to reach the larger community while also promoting employee wellness. 

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