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County Mobile Food Pharmacy program earns prestigious NACo National Achievement Award for Health
May 10, 2019
SOLANO COUNTY – The 'We're All Family! Mobile Food Pharmacy,’ a first-of-its-kind food delivery program, has been selected to receive a National Association of County Governments (NACo) National Achievement Award for Health at the NACo Annual Conference and Exposition in July. The awards honor innovative, effective, county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
The Mobile Food Pharmacy employs a mobile food truck to deliver fresh produce and healthy cooking resources to Family Health Services clinics throughout Solano County. Made possible through a grant from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the program eliminates many barriers patients face – such as lack of transportation, access and time – by prescribing healthy food options and having these prescriptions ‘filled’ at the nearby food truck right after their appointments.
"The launch of the Mobile Food Pharmacy is the first step towards the ‘food as medicine’ approach to show how food can help heal and prevent chronic diseases," said Erin Hannigan, District 1 Supervisor and Chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors. “And now, being selected to receive the NACo National Achievement award means that our vision of creating a healthier and more vibrant Solano County is being recognized, acknowledged, and appreciated in the national spotlight.”
Providing patients with adequate amounts of nutritious food is made possible through a unique partnership with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, whose employees stock, transport and deliver fresh produce to Family Health Services clinics throughout Solano County via the MFP program on a weekly basis.
“A healthy diet is extremely important in living a longer, healthier life,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Health Officer. “People are more likely to make a behavior change if the recommendation comes from their healthcare provider, and this program takes advantage of this relationship. When providers talk to their patients about nutritious food options, it raises the role that nutrition plays in their overall health, which then encourages them to develop healthy eating habits.”
Grant funding from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, an independent, self-governed nation that holds ancestral land within the boundaries of Solano County, has allowed Solano County to establish the MFP program, in addition to a multi-pronged public health campaign and basic needs support programs.
“We are proud to support Solano County in its innovation and determination to deliver quality food and produce as part of its overall efforts to build a healthy community,” said Anthony Roberts, Yocha Dehe Tribal Chairman. “Like many tribes, Yocha Dehe experienced the impact of poor nutrition and hunger not that many years ago. Now, we are fortunate to be able to partner with Solano County on its work to combat this problem locally and we commend it for the program’s growing success."
From March 2018 to January 2019, including an eight-month trial period, the MFP has distributed more than 27,000 pounds of fresh produce to nearly 2,000 patients. Family Health Services staff anticipates the MFP program will serve between 3,500 and 7,500 families per year, and as demand for services continues to grow, so will the program.
Nationally, the NACo National Achievement awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information, health and civic engagement.
County officials will officially accept the 2019 NACo National Achievement Award for Health for the Mobile Food Pharmacy program at the annual conference and exposition event in July in Clark County, Nevada.
For more information on the Mobile Food Pharmacy program, visit http://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/fhs/mobile_food_pharmacy.asp