Allegheny Health Network Healthy Food Centers: Food Pharmacy Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: The Allegheny Health Network (AHN) in Western Pennsylvania has six Healthy Food Centers, located at network hospitals, that support food-insecure patients. The centers provide patients with free, healthy foods along with education on disease-specific diets and connections to other social support services within the community.

How they do it: AHN providers screen patients for food insecurity and social challenges, such as a lack of transportation, that would make it difficult for them to access nutritious food. Providers then give food-insecure patients a referral to the Healthy Food Center, where they can shop for fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious food items and take home up to three days’ worth of food for themselves and their families. Referrals allow patients to shop at the Healthy Food Center once every 30 days for six months, after which time they may receive another referral from their provider. The quantities of food allotted are based on patients’ household sizes. 

The first time a patient visits a Healthy Food Center, a registered dietitian will ask about their dietary needs and show the patient where to find recommended food items. Dietitians may also provide recipe ideas, tips for shopping on a budget, and information about health and weight management. Individual nutrition counseling is also available to patients who receive a Healthy Food Center referral.

AHN purchases food for its Healthy Food Centers from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Mission: To make sure all patients have access to healthy foods and nutrition counseling to help them manage their overall health, regardless of income or budget.

Major Funding: Allegheny Health Network, Center for Inclusion Health, Highmark, Jennie K Scaife Charitable Foundation, PNC Bank

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Not disclosed

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: Since the first Healthy Food Center opened in 2018, the centers have provided more than 275,000 meals to 27,500 patients and their families.

FACT SHEET:

Locations:
West Penn Hospital
School of Nursing (back entrance)
4921 Mend Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Allegheny General Hospital
Allegheny Professional Building
First Floor, Suite 103
490 East North Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Jefferson Hospital
Medical Office Building
575 Coal Valley Road
Suite 200, Second Floor
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

Forbes Hospital
Professional Office Building One, Ground Floor
2566 Haymaker Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

Saint Vincent Hospital
Medical Office Building
Professional Building-Lower Level
311 W. 24th Street
Erie, PA 16502

Allegheny Valley Hospital
Café Conference Room
1301 Carlisle Street
Natrona Heights, PA 15065

Core Programs: Food pharmacy

Number of staff: 10

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: Western Pennsylvania

Year Started: 2018

Program Manager: Colleen Ereditario, MPH, RD, LDN

Contact Information: Phone: (412) 578-5922

Learn More:

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