Over the last year, CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic has partnered with Houston Food Bank in the Food For Change/Food Rx program. This program provides nutritious food to diabetics and other groups with special healthcare needs.
“Patients who have a diagnosis of a chronic disease and are screened for food insecurity qualify for our Food Rx program,” Paige Boyer, Health Partnerships Liaison at the Houston Food Bank, said.
According to CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic physician Dr. Nancy Kwan, 273 of the clinic’s diabetic patients are currently enrolled in the program. “We have them see the nutritionist first. Once they get a program ID, they have access to the Food for Change markets where they can go and pick out food.”
Seeing a need to reach patients directly in their communities, the Houston Food Bank recently developed a market trailer, and the partnership with St. Mary’s Clinic marks the kick-off in the East End. The trailer provides direct access to patients who might not be able to get to a Food for Change market due to transportation issues or working hours that don’t coincide with market hours.
“It’s a great idea and hugely beneficial to our patients,” Kwan said. “First, it’s familiar to our patients. They know where to go having already visited the clinic. We have the nutritionist on-site and familiar faces that help with the whole process. Secondly, it’s a set time the second and fourth Friday of every month. They know we will always be here. Thirdly, they bring out enough food to serve 130 people. It’s specific to the needs of our diabetic patients. It caters to what they need and what they have set up with the nutritionist in our clinic. With all these things combined, it is hopefully going to be hugely impactful to our patients, getting the right types of food to help with their overall health.”
The clinic’s medical staff knows how critical having access to healthy food is to maintaining these chronic conditions. “All of our patients are super thankful for having the Houston Food Bank come to St. Mary’s Clinic,” Nutritionist Erica Vasquez said. “We are very excited to see the results of our patients having access to these foods.”
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