CREATING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES – FOOD IS MEDICINE

Food is Medicine (FIM) is a collaborative initiative that seeks to decrease rates of food and nutritional insecurity within Erie County. Our mission is to increase access to nutritionally dense meals for all populations, therefore fighting food insecurity and chronic disease in Erie County.

The Food is Medicine Steering Committee consists of local physicians, dieticians, nonprofit workers, and public health professionals who are in a role to develop and adopt Food Access Policy and Planning initiatives at participating hospitals, medical facilities, and health centers. From 2021 to present, CHC has partnered with the FIM Committee to focus on a new and exciting initiative within Erie County: a Produce Prescription (PRx) program.

WHAT IS A PRODUCE PRESCRIPTION (PRx) PROGRAM?

By definition, a prescription is a recommendation from a medical practitioner that authorizes a patient to be provided a medicine or treatment. A produce prescription, therefore, conveys the message that nutrition is just as important and effective as medical treatment.

The National Produce Prescription Collaborative defines a “produce prescription program” as “a medical treatment or preventative service for patients who are eligible due to a diet-related health risk or condition, food insecurity, or other documented challenges in access to nutritious foods, and are referred by a healthcare provider or health insurance plan.” Eligible patients are referred to the PRx program by a provider, where they are given nutritious foods at no cost and they are monitored to assess changes in health outcomes.