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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

VA health center selected for food scarcity innovation program

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Monday, July 1, 2024   

A Virginia community health center is part of a program addressing food scarcity.

The National Association of Community Health Centers' 2024 Innovation Incubator creates ways to expand healthy food access. Tri-Area Community Health Center's Laurel Fork location will have funding and guidance from experts to help them design and test community-based solutions.

Merrill Warschoff Press, senior vice president of partnership, development and innovation for the National Association of Community Health Centers, said the centers are uniquely suited to address local food issues.

"Health centers are highly effective and innovated with integrated models of care," Press explained. "They reach far beyond the walls of the traditional exam room, not only to prevent illness and treat it but to really address the social drivers that may cause poor health."

Food insecurity has grown since pandemic-era programs ended in 2023. Emergency allotments provided SNAP recipients with an added $95 per month for 470,000 families statewide. However, some people are above or below SNAP's qualifying threshold.

Other issues stem from food prices. The Consumer Price Index shows food prices grew between 2022 and 2023 but in recent months, prices have been declining.

A primary goal of the Innovation Incubator is to discover best practices for providing care for millions of people and share them with health centers nationwide. Press noted the methods being worked out can help varying populations.

"There are many health centers who have large populations of patients who come from other countries and are used to certain foods, and have different preferences," Press observed. "Being able to work with them in their own language with the foods that they like and trust is really valuable to improving access to food that'll make a difference in their lives."

Food pantries have been key to reducing food insecurity wherever possible. Virginia food banks saw a 5% to 10% increase in demand at the end of 2022, which is problematic since food banks nationwide are seeing donations decline and reduced commodities from the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Disclosure: The National Association of Community Health Centers contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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