'Food As Medicine' Facility Opens for Patients in Hartford
Friday, May 27, 2022
One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious foods free of charge.
The Healthy Food Resource Center is located on Hartford Hospital's campus, and is open to patients with a doctor's referral. When they walk in, they'll find a refrigerator and freezer, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which are locally sourced.
Dr. Jessica Mullins, director of gynecology at Hartford Hospital, said it's about treating "food as medicine," which can help patients address food insecurity.
"They can try these foods, they can try different ways to cook them, and really finding that it's delicious to them or make it in a way that incorporates it into their cultural backgrounds," Mullins outlined.
Mullins reported half of the patients she sees report being food insecure. Better nutrition is connected to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems and lower risk of diabetes. A nutritionist is also on site to provide information based on recommendations from the doctor.
Greg Jones, vice president of community health and engagement at Hartford Hospital, said at the center, patients will find pineapple, kale, papayas, healthy grains, olive oil and much more. He said many food-insecure communities in Hartford and elsewhere are overexposed to highly processed food with a lot of salt, sweeteners, and saturated fat.
"By providing produce and fruits, we can help people understand the issues that they face around health," Jones emphasized. "They start to feel better, they start to be able to supplement their diet with some real food, and then they can start to see a large improvement."
An estimated 12% of Connecticut residents are food insecure, according to a 2019 report by Feeding America.
With a referral, patients will have access to the Center for six months. Hartford Healthcare will also keep track of the food patients take as part of their medical records, to see how it changes their health outcomes.
get more stories like this via email
Gov. Kathy Hochul has approved a new law, requiring schools to consider installing a silent, panic-alarm system. Approval of what's known as …
Democrats, Republicans and other political parties in Utah hold primary elections Tuesday, and advocates for older voters are promoting the …
A report from leaders in Washington state lays out how the services of four dams on the lower Snake River could be replaced in order to save ailing sa…
There are fewer than five months to go until the November General Election, in which Pennsylvania voters will select a new governor and U.S. Senator…
Health and Wellness
The State of Indiana wants to learn more about Hoosiers' experiences with substance-use disorder and addiction-recovery services. Administered by …
Seven in 10 Americans view inflation as the most pressing issue facing the nation right now, and in Maine, a new report seeks to explore the causes…
Iowa is getting more than $9 million to improve its system of care for stroke patients, and to address staffing issues among public-health workers in …
Health and Wellness
The Food and Drug Administration could soon ban the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes, a move advocates in Ohio said could have a positive …