Geisinger Fresh Food Farmacy Program: Coolbaugh, Brecht & Strauch Talk Food Insecurity

Photo Credit / ESU Flickr Food insecurity has affected 11.8 percent of American households in 2017, according to the USDA.

Leah Fuls

Staff Writer

Geisinger Health Care System held a Fresh Food “Farmacy” presentation at the Innovation Center on Nov. 8 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Stacy A. Coolbaugh educated the audience on food insecurity and how it affects others especially those with diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Professor Christina Brecht and Jennifer Strauch (who is a part of United Way of Monroe County) coordinated this event. Brecht, Coolbaugh, and Strauch all presented and their purpose was to gather others involved in businesses related to food and healthcare.

All three women spoke about the importance of food farmacies in eliminating food insecurities.

According to the USDA, food insecurity is defined as, “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

Those with food insecurities tend to consume a nutrient-poor diet which leads to problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

After they develop these diseases, it is difficult for them to manage the diet they need to follow, so as not to cause any further health issues.

Geisinger has helped their patients with this issue by providing them with two dietician approved meals a day. Their goal is to be able to provide nutritious food to anyone who does not have easy access to it.

Their main mission for the event was to come up with a solution on how to get more people involved and also how to get those people into one room so that they are also informed on the importance of programs like these.

One solution they all discussed was to try to get more grants to be able to support programs like this.

Although they did not come up with an answer to every question they addressed, they did know where they needed to start to make a difference.

To eliminate both chronic illness and food insecurity people need to have education, links to health care, support, access to nutrient-rich foods and referral to community assistance.

Every person in the room agreed that they would love to be a part of it and also inform others on how to be a part of it. This would not only keep people healthier, but it would also be a cost saver for insurance systems.

Geisinger has areas planned out to have food farmacies, but the only current one is located in Shamokin, Pa. The plan is to have food farmacies all over Pennsylvania especially in Monroe County.

Coolbaugh says, “You can’t put dollars and cents on the importance of access to healthy food for the best quality of life.”

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