Gift will assist the launch of a nutrition-focused food pharmacy at UMass Memorial Medical Center
Cornerstone Bank, a community bank with 12 locations throughout Central Massachusetts, has donated $15,000 to UMass Memorial Health to help launch a nutrition-focused food pharmacy at UMass Memorial Medical Center. The aim of the on-campus food pharmacy will be to provide patients at higher risk of food insecurity with access to healthy food options that align with the diet recommendations of their physicians.
“Food insecurity is an issue that affects many people in our community,” said Todd Tallman, CEO at Cornerstone Bank. “This innovative idea will allow UMass Memorial Health to provide more well-rounded care to their patients. We are proud to donate the funding that will help start a food pharmacy to give healthy, balanced meals to those who desperately need it.”
Patients who are found to be at risk of food insecurity will be given a “prescription” for the food pharmacy. They will then meet with a registered dietician who will review their prescription and provide nutritional counseling. Once counseling is complete, patients will be provided foods that meet their unique dietary needs.
“With the generous support of Cornerstone Bank, UMass Memorial Health will soon launch a Food Pharmacy on our campus to provide nutrition-focused food for our vulnerable patients,” said Dr. Jonathan Gerber, medical director of the UMass Memorial Health Cancer Center. “In this holistic approach to care, our first focus is our cancer patients. The Food Pharmacy will provide access to healthy food options that align with diet recommendations provided by their medical team.”
UMass Memorial Health has worked with community partners, such as the Worcester County Food Bank, to secure access to healthy food. All money donated will be used to help low- to moderate-income people or families. The health care organization is also planning on partnering with a community-based organization, About Fresh, which runs a program called Fresh Connect that allows health care providers to load pre-paid debit cards for patients experiencing food insecurity. These cards can be used at most grocery stores and do not allow for the purchase of non-food or unhealthy items.