Saturday, May 25, 2024

ECU Health partners with Conetoe Family Life Center for Food is Medicine event in Pinetops

Must read

ECU Health and Conetoe Family Life Center hosted a Food is Medicine event at the Pinetops Community Center on May 1, to bring fresh produce and health screenings to the community. The initiative aims to bridge the gap in health care access and nutritional resources by providing essential services directly to the community.

Every Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. the Conetoe Family Life Center brings its bus of fresh produce for community members to receive free fresh produce. Paired with health screenings provided by the ECU Health team, this creates a reliable and accessible avenue for residents to prioritize their health needs.

Nurses from ECU Health provided vital health screenings to attendees. These screenings included measuring blood pressures, blood sugars and A1C levels, crucial metrics for assessing overall health. ECU Health team members engaged in meaningful conversations with community members, offering personalized insights and guidance on maintaining and improving their well-being.

A community member takes a green bell pepper to take home during a Food is Medicine event in Pinetops.

“Our overall goal is to touch the lives of our community members and improve how they feel about their overall health and well-being,” said Madison Stevens, an administrative fellow at ECU Health. “Rural areas like eastern North Carolina often lack health care resources and access to healthy and fresh foods. With Food is Medicine, we want to address the root causes of health disparities and empower individuals to make informed choices about their health.”

The program is funded by a grant from The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, and ECU Health completes surveys with attendees to collect data from these events to measure how community members feel about their overall health from the start to the end of the program, if they are spending less money at the grocery store, making recipes they receive from the Food is Medicine event and feel in control of their health.

“We also recognize the importance of access to health care services beyond events like these,” said Rob Zerniak, an administrative fellow at ECU Health. “We are actively connecting attendees with resources to become insured and connecting them with primary care providers, ensuring that the benefits of the Food is Medicine initiative extend far beyond the event itself.”

Since November 5, 2023, this partnership has made an impact on the community, particularly through ECU Health’s primary clinic in Pinetops, which plays a crucial role in understanding the needs of the patients we serve during visits by conducting social determinants of health screenings and guiding them to available resources. The event on Wednesday saw over 50 participants bring home fresh produce like bell peppers, lettuce, carrots, strawberries and onions. For more information about future events, please contact [email protected].

Latest article