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Food insecurity—the lack of reliable access to enough nutritious food—is particularly health threatening for those with chronic conditions. Many Harris Health System patients must choose between medication for themselves or food for their families in a no-win scenario that frustrates care providers and patients alike. To address this critical need, Harris Health is partnering with Houston Food Bank programs to open onsite Food Farmacies at select health centers, the first of their kind in Texas.
At these health centers, any adult patient who screens as food insecure is eligible for a prescription for at least one trip to the Food Farmacy and connection to social programs and community resources. Doctors are focusing on patients with certain uncontrolled chronic conditions for long-term participation. These patients receive a long-term prescription to the Food Farmacy where they can receive fresh fruits, veggies and other food items, along with targeted education, nutritional guidance and personal assistance qualifying for other social services. They can also take part in UTHealth School of Public Health’s renowned culinary medicine program, improving their cooking skills while learning how to make affordable, healthy, culturally-appropriate meals.
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*The Food Farmacy is not a food pantry, and food is not for sale.
Hope Galvan, associate administrator, Poplulation Health, talks about how Harris Health's Food Farmacy is helping with food insecurity.