Teresa Gets a Prescription for Healthy Food
Teresa* has always considered herself to be a healthy, active person. The 65-year-old Buffalo, Minn., resident opened her own home décor shop in 1988. Between the shop and raising a family, she’s kept busy over the years.
Yet even for a successful business owner, being self-employed isn’t always easy. For more than a decade, Teresa went without health insurance — a precarious situation for someone with chronic health issues.
“I have chronic health problems that have escalated with age,” she said. “Crohn’s disease, anxiety and high blood pressure. I went uninsured for over 10 years and used that as an excuse to not visit a doctor.”
When Teresa was able to afford health insurance again, she visited the Stellis Health clinic in Buffalo, where she’s lived for nearly 20 years. It was there that she learned about the FOODRx program.
“The food is nutritious, and it tastes good,” she said. “It made me think of new ways to use grains and vegetables so I could eat healthier.”
Second Harvest Heartland’s FOODRx program delivers tailored food prescriptions and education to low-income people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The food is culturally specific, and the price tag is closer to what you’d see at your local market than your local pharmacy.
At Stellis Health, Teresa worked with Home Health Coordinator Deb Ordorff, who encouraged her to try FOODRx.
Teresa has visited the clinic once a month for the past six months to pick up a box of nutritious food. The boxes are created by registered dieticians and are designed to meet the dietary and nutritional needs of people living with certain conditions. They contain healthy food items like canned fruits and vegetables, whole grains and quality protein sources. Each box also contains educational materials, including delicious recipes that can be prepared using the contents of the box.
“Having the boxes saved me time, and money spent at the store,” Teresa said. “And Deb’s [Stellis Health’s home health coordinator] interest and support for my health was a definite added benefit.”
Second Harvest Heartland’s Kristen Williamson, FOODRx product manager and a registered dietician, customizes the boxes for patients with diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Our hope with FOOD Rx is that we will not only impact the patients’ access to nutritious food but encourage lifestyle changes to help manage their chronic disease,” she said.
FOODRx is built on an integrated care framework that is supported by patient engagement specialists with expertise in underserved populations, medically-tailored and culturally relevant food prescriptions, clinical research and evaluation, and the highly efficient food logistics operations of Second Harvest Heartland.
FOODRx is currently integrated into Hennepin Healthcare, Lakewood Health System, North Memorial Health Care, Mayo Clinic-Mankato and UCare.
Check out these healthy recipes and learn more about FOODRx.
*Photo used for illustrative purposes only.