Catholic Medical Center (CMC), in partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities NH, and the Parish of the Transfiguration Food Pantry, has launched a transformative, first-in-the-state program. The Preventative Food Pantry helps patients with chronic medical conditions obtain wholesome foods and nutrition counseling in an effort to improve their overall health.
“There is a paradigm shift that’s been brewing for years, recognizing food as medicine,” says Dr. William Goodman, CMC’s Chief Medical Officer. “Access to healthy foods is a major social determinant of health. This program can be a turning point in the lives of our patients.”
CMC social workers and nutritionists will work to identify patients who have conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, who suffer from food insecurity. Those patients will receive a prescription for the Food Pantry, which they can visit twice a month to collect a box of healthful food that complies with their diet restrictions. Patients will also check in with volunteer nurses who will track key indicators of health, including weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
“Imagine knowing what’s in front of you isn’t healthy, but it’s all you have to eat,” says Eileen Liponis, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Food Bank. She notes that 1 in 9 New Hampshire residents, including 11-percent of children, are food insecure.“We hope this is the first of many programs like it across the state.”
The New Hampshire Food Bank will supply the food to the Parish of the Transfiguration Food Pantry, which will receive the prescription for each patient directly from CMC. A grant from the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund helped get the program going, funding the purchase of a new, commercial grade refrigerator and freezer to store vitamin-rich, fresh foods.
“We first started talking to hospitals about this idea more than a year ago,” says Thomas Blonski, President & CEO of Catholic Charities New Hampshire which operates the New Hampshire Food Bank. CMC and the Parish of the Transfiguration were quick to respond. We’re all in this together to make this happen to get people where they need to be, to help them be well.”
(From left) Marc Guillemette, Director, CMC Office of Catholic Identity; Thomas Blonski, President & CEO, Catholic Charities NH; William Goodman, MD, MPH, CMC Chief Medical Officer; Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank; Tim Brockway, Director, Parish of the Transfiguration Food Pantry; Andrew Cernota, Board Member, Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund.
The Preventative Food Pantry will provide patients with a supply of wholesome foods for restricted diets, including fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.
CMC, a member of GraniteOne Health, is a nonprofit regional health system, with a commitment to delivering the highest quality and most advanced healthcare to patients across New Hampshire. CMC is the home of the nationally-renowned New England Heart & Vascular Institute, rated among the top cardiovascular programs in the country. Our doctors were the first in the state to perform a mechanical heart/left ventricular assist device implant and first in New England to implant the WATCHMAN™ for atrial fibrillation. CMC was also one of the first hospitals in New Hampshire to establish a joint venture with independent medical staff members when it became a partner in the freestanding Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center and imaging center. CMC’s birthing unit, The Mom’s Place, was the first hospital in the country to have a neonatal unit based on "couplet care.” Our nationally-accredited Breast Care Center was the first in the state to use contrast enhanced mammography and SAVI SCOUT® localization for breast surgery. With primary care practices that care for the very young to the young at heart and our dedication to community outreach programs, CMC is helping to foster a healthier community, everyday. CatholicMedicalCenter.org
About the New Hampshire Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, has been working to relieve hunger in the Granite State since 1984. The New Hampshire Food Bank receives no federal or state funding for food distribution. In 2017, as the state’s only Food Bank, the New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently procured and distributed 13.7 million pounds of food to people in need through more than 425 non-profit registered agencies. Agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and day care centers. For more information about the New Hampshire Food Bank, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.