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Ellis Med program targets obesity, food insecurity

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Patients with diabetes, hypertension, other conditions can now access on-site 'Food Farmacy'


SCHENECTADY — Ellis Medicine health care practitioners are now writing patients prescriptions for food, as part of a new effort to address food insecurity and inadequate nutrition among the community's low-income residents.

The Schenectady hospital system first launched the effort last fall in partnership with Catholic Charities and the Alliance for Better Health, providing recently discharged patients who were unable to cook or leave their home due to illness with meals tailored to their specific health needs.

Last week, the program expanded to include a so-called Food Farmacy — a mini grocery store run out of the system's McClellan Street Health Center where patients can shop for healthy, diet-specific foods at a discount with the help of a nutritionist. Patients are eligible if they are uninsured or on Medicaid, and receive a referral from an Ellis Medicine practitioner. 

"Food insecurity and inadequate nutrition go hand-in-hand, and have a big impact on the overall health of a community," said Ellis President and CEO Paul Milton. "Ellis is proud to host the Food Farmacy to find solutions to make for a healthier Schenectady County."

The program was inspired by Boston Medical Center's Preventive Food Pantry, which launched in 2001 to address nutrition-related illness and under-nutrition among the hospital's low-income patients. Over the years, the pantry has been used by patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

The Schenectady program will be similar, catering to patients whose health or chronic conditions depend upon a specific diet that may be difficult for them to maintain or afford, said Jenn Hyde, executive director of Catholic Charities Tri-County Services.


  Read the full story here

Ellis Medicine | Newsroom

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