Telluride Med Center + Tri-County Health: FoodRx!

For more information about FoodRx or to inquire about participation contact Melzer at smelzer@tellmed.org

The Telluride Regional Medical Center, in partnership with Tri-County Health Network, has announced a program to put more fresh food into the kitchens of those facing chronic disease or without reliable access to nutritious food.

FoodRx is a seven-week initiative designed to provide access to fruits and vegetables at Clark’s Market in Telluride or the Fresh Food Hub in Norwood.

Participants receive $120 in vouchers over the course of seven week. They also get coaching, recipes, and support.

FoodRx was first piloted by Tri-County Health Network at Basin Clinic in Naturita and the Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood. To date, 40 people have participated.

According to Rasa Kaunelis, director of strategic initiatives at Tri-County Health Network:

“All of the participants in the FoodRx pilot reported that the program helped them eat more fruits and vegetables and made them feel healthier. The extra money and new recipes make it possible for people to try new foods and indulge in produce they may not normally afford.”

Sydney Melzer, a care manager at the Telluride Regional Medical Center, is overseeing the program and intends to recruit dozens of participants throughout the new year.

“I believe we too can improve health outcomes in our community by removing barriers to healthy food and resources,” said Melzer.

Participants — who are recommended to the program by their primary care provider — will maintain a food log and meet with medical center care managers, like Melzer, twice a month to discuss their experiences and input health measurements.

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to examine the impacts we can make by reducing economic barriers and providing nutrition resources and supportive services,” added Melzer.

Funding for the three-year grant was awarded to Tri-County Health Network by the Heath Resources and Services Administration. Tri-County Health Network will continue offering the FoodRx program to patients at the Basin Clinic and Uncompahgre Medical Center and will look to expand the program to another clinic in 2021.

“I expect our participants will try new foods, develop new cooking skills and also grow their community connectedness and awareness of resources,” concluded Melzer.
“We know that small changes in diet and a heightened sense of community can have great impacts in people’s lives. I feel very optimistic about this program.”

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