Prescription for Health
Our Prescription for Health Program connects patients to their local farmers market though their medical clinic. Health care providers write "prescriptions" for their patients to eat more fruits and vegetables, and patients redeem their prescriptions at the farmers market!
The Prescription for Health program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and improve health among patients with lower incomes. Washtenaw County Public Health works closely with safety-net clinics in Ypsilanti and Chelsea to build systematic support for healthy behavior changes and to create stronger partnerships between health care providers and the local food sector.
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. If a patient is 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 receives a "prescription" for fresh fruits and vegetables. The prescription may be filled at the local farmers market and is worth a total of $100.
- Patients take their prescriptions to the Prescription for Health booth at the farmers market.
Program staff provide individual nutrition education and support, and they give the patient $10 in tokens at each visit, up to 10 visits. The tokens can be used the same as cash at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
2015 Clinic and Farmers Market Partners:
- St. Joseph Mercy Neighborhood Family Health Center
- St. Joseph Mercy Academic Internal Medicine Clinic
- Packard Health
- Hope Clinic
"[This program is a] win-win – it links people who need access to food with those who grow it locally."
-Clinic Staff Member
- Faith In Action
- U of M Chelsea Health Center
- Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS)
- Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market
- Ypsilanti Depot Town Farmers Market
- Chelsea Bushel Basket Farmers Market
- Chelsea Saturday Farmers Market
- St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor 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.
- 2014 Outcome Report
- 2013 Outcome Report
- 2011-2012 Program Overview & Results Presentation
- Final Report for 2011-2012 Kresge Foundation Grant
- 2012 Outcome Report
- 2011 Outcome Report
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. We continued to refine the program in 2013, and then received an additional 2 years of funding for 2014-2015 from the Kresge Foundation.
- "Washtenaw County Public Health Wins Kresge Foundation Grant: Funding Expands Prescription for Health" - Press Release from Washtenaw County Public Health, 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
- "Prescription for Health Connects Local Health Clinics, Patients and Farmers Markets: Participants Report Eating More Fruits and Vegetables" - Press Release from Washtenaw County Public Health, 4/4/13
- "Prescription for Health Makes a Positive Difference" - Article on Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, 4/10/13
- "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)
- "Community Health Advocates expand services to include assisting in Prescription for Health program" - Article in Ypsilanti Farmers Markets 2013 Annual Report
- "Washtenaw County to Accept Kresge Grant" - Article on The Ann Arbor Chronicle, 2/19/14
- "Fresh Prescription: Instead of pills, doctors prescribe fruits and vegetables through program that unites health care with local food systems" - Article in Hour Detroit magazine, 9/22/14
- "Growing Local Food Systems: A Case Study on Washtenaw County-Ann Arbor, Michigan" - Report from the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, 4/14/15 (link to full report)
For More Information:
Sharon Sheldon, MPH
Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Program Administrator