University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is opening a UH Food for Life Market to provide nutritious foods and education for patients who struggle with access to basic food necessities.
Located in UH’s Bolwell Center at 11100 Euclid Ave., the market is part of a holistic nutrition program that addresses food insecurity and the medical conditions that are impacted by nutrition and access to healthy food, according to a news release. It will be stocked with nutritious foods, including whole grains, dairy, fresh and frozen produce, canned fruits, vegetables and meat products.
“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the structural systems of oppression in our country, only compound the disproportionate risk of food insecurity for our Black and Brown neighbors,” said Celina Cunanan, interim executive director of the UH Office of Community Impact, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, in a provided statement. “University Hospitals understands that addressing these social determinants of health will have greater impact on the overall health outcomes of our community than the actual treatment of disease.”
UH Cleveland Medical Center patients identified as food-insecure will receive a referral from their health care provider to visit the UH Food for Life Market.
Eligible patients will receive a week’s worth of healthy food at no cost and a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian. Healthy recipes, meal preparation tips and cooking demonstrations will also be available at the market, which will initially be open Monday through Friday, with appointments encouraged.
“The UH Food for Life Market focuses on the direct connection between food and a person’s health,” said Anne Leach, a registered dietitian and director of clinical and community nutrition at Sodexo Healthcare, who has worked on behalf of UH to establish the market, in a provided statement. “UH has implemented a preventive food-as-medicine model to address food insecurity, which we know, if prolonged or repeated, can have negative health consequences.”
UH opened its first Food for Life Market in October 2018 within the Otis Moss Jr. Health Center in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, an area that the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Creating Healthy Communities program and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission had designated a food desert, according to the release. The market at the Moss center has distributed nearly 86,000 pounds of food to 1,425 individuals since opening.
UH opened a second Food for Life Market in 2021 at UH Portage Medical Center, where it has served 90 households so far.