Mid-Ohio Farmacy Aims to Address Food Insecurity

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Ohio State Family Medicine providers are on a mission to put fresh produce in the hands of as many patients as possible on a regular basis to improve the health of central Ohioans through a Mid-Ohio Farmacy pilot program that starts this month.

A partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Family Medicine Department and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the Mid-Ohio Farmacy program addresses food insecurity among Columbus’ most vulnerable populations, whose access to fresh, healthy produce is limited by location, transportation availability or poverty.

At Family Medicine Outpatient Care East, Family Medicine Thomas Rardin and Obstetrics and Gynecology McCampbell, primary care providers will screen individuals to determine whether they qualify. The project seeks to include 500 food-insecure patients who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled diabetes (hemoglobin A1C >9%), gestational diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension (>140/90) or obesity (BMI >30).

The patients identified through Family Medicine care teams will receive a card that provides them with increased frequency of access to fresh produce at any of 12 participating food pantries. Ohio State Family Medicine will analyze usage data from the scanned cards, along with patients’ A1C, blood pressure, weight and other health outcomes, to gauge the effectiveness of the pilot program.

The Mid-Ohio Foodbank has worked with grocery stores, food companies, local farmers and the USDA since 1980 to obtain and distribute food to 650 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs and senior housing sites throughout central and eastern Ohio. The new Mid-Ohio Farmacy provides a way for the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to partner with a well-established, beneficial community program to achieve our goals of supporting underserved populations and meeting their health and wellness needs.