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St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

Advancing Excellence

Aug 5 2013
Food Policy and Our Community

Last week I had the opportunity to have lunch with the president of the Rescue Mission, Alan Thornton. It was a great update on the work the organization does to help provide a safety net for food and shelter, as well as help the homeless find housing.

This weekend I am at the annual Syracuse University retreat for alumni and faculty at Minnowbrook. The lectures surround food policy and are being led by Professor Catherine Bertini, a senior fellow from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a professor at the Maxwell School.

Her insights around food policy are connected to the challenges we heard with the homeless at the Rescue Mission. Food policy requires first producing enough food, then distributing it and helping people have enough resources to buy it.  

Those living with poverty often do not have access or resources for healthy food and suffer from malnutrition, obesity and other health complications. 

We have an abundance of food in our community, yet there are still many areas of the community where people cannot access or afford nutritious food.

In our own way St. Joseph's is trying to connect with these issues through the project we are piloting on the West side of Syracuse with Nojaims and Syracuse University.  When launched we will connect our primary care center with nutrition education and access to healthy food.   We also continue to provide support to the Health Train, a job training program that helps people move from poverty to employment. The focus our great team in nutritional services has on bringing us fresh food and nutritional content is helping us role model our own access to healthy food.

We understand that access to health care must also be connected to jobs, good housing, access to healthy food and a clean environment. As we move into a future where we will be responsible for population health management, understanding how food and health care are intertwined is important.


3 Comments so far

Adam Labonoski August 6, 2013 at 01:22 pm

With all the facilities that St. Joseph's has around the hospital now, I would love to see a nice little area built for the homeless and low income to come an enjoy a meal. With all the awesome nurses, doctors and other staff available, you could entice them to volunteer some time in exchange for an extra day off or something along those lines. This would be right in line with the Franciscan Orders mission!

Ann Ferro August 6, 2013 at 01:55 pm

Access to fresh, wholesome food also includes the knowledge and resources to prepare this food. Education about the "how to" is an important part of any program that attempts to change eating habits. Just because one ate potato chips doesn't guarantee that one knows how to cook a potato. While this may seem to be an oversimplification, it most assuridly is not based on the experience of those who have worked with poorly nourished children and adults.

Jamie Nicolosi August 6, 2013 at 01:00 pm

Great topic. So many facets to this issue. It's encouraging that it's being discussed along with viable solutions.

The information provided on this site should not be taken as medical advice. As always, we strongly recommend that you consult with a physician if you have any medical concerns.