Prescription for Health
The Prescription for Health Program connects patients at medical clinics to their local farmers' market. Participants receive nutrition education and support, and they also receive tokens to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers' market!
The overall purpose of the Prescription for Health (PFH) program is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among patients with low income, and to build capacity of clinics to expand the traditional medical model to include the food system.
How does the program work?
- Clinicians identify potential participants when patients come in for a regular visit.
A clinician reviews the patient's chart for chronic disease risk and food access difficulty, and asks the patient if he/she would like to participate. If a patient is eligible and interested, the clinician refers the patient to a group enrollment visit.
- Patients attend a group enrollment visit.
The patient attends a group enrollment visit, where he/she receives information about the program and engages in a discussion about the link between health, chronic disease and food choices. The patient sets specific goals for healthy eating, and is written a "prescription" for fruits and vegetables. The prescription may be filled at the local farmers' market and is worth a total of $50.
- Patients take their prescriptions to the Prescription for Health booth at the farmers’ market.
Program staff provide individual nutrition education and support, and give the patient $10 in tokens at each visit, up to 5 visits. The tokens can be used the same as cash at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
2013 Clinic and Farmers' Market Partners:
- Neighborhood Family Health Center
"[This program is a] win-win – it links people who need access to food with those who grow it locally."
-Clinic Staff Member
- Packard Health
- Faith in Action
- Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market
- Ypsilanti Depot Town Farmers' Market
- Chelsea Bushel Basket Farmers' Market
- Chelsea Saturday Farmers' Market
Program Evaluation and Outcomes:
Washtenaw County Public Health staff conducted pre- and post-program surveys of patients and clinic staff. We also tracked patients’ use of coupons on a weekly basis throughout the season.
- 2011 Outcome Report
- 2012 Outcome Report
- Final Report for 2-year Kresge Foundation Grant
- Program Overview & Results Presentation
The Prescription for Health program began in 2008 as a pilot project. Thanks to a 2-year grant from the Kresge Foundation, the PFH program was expanded and enhanced for 2011 and 2012.
- Press Release - 1/20/11
- "$294,000 Kresge Foundation grant aims to connect Washtenaw County needy to healthy food options" - Article on annarbor.com, 1/20/11
- "Prescription for Health makes access to fresh fruits and vegetables easier for those on a limited budget" - Inside Washtenaw County Public Health Blog on annarbor.com, 6/1/11
- "5W Wednesday - Prescription for Health" - MLibrary Healthy Communities Blog, 6/8/11
- "Eat a carrot and call me in the morning" - Article on HealthyCal.org, 1/18/12
- "Prescription for Health: Program makes fruits & vegetables more accessible for patients on a limited budget" - Inside Washtenaw County Public Health Blog on annarbor.com, 4/11/12
- "Washtenaw County receives national award to boost Prescription for Health program" - Article on annarbor.com, 6/4/12
- "Our Community's Health - Prescribing Produce" - Article on Concentrate, 3/13/13
- "How and when we decide to eradicate hunger" - Article on annarbor.com, 4/2/13
- Press Release - 4/4/13
- "Street Beat: Prescription for Health" - Interview on CW50 television, 4/21/13
- "From Good to Great: Using QI to Standardize Prescription for Health" - article on Public Health Foundation, 10/30/13 (link to full case story)
For More Information:
Sharon Sheldon, MPH
Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Program Administrator