Program Spotlight: Prescription for Health

The Prescription for Health Program connects patients at medical clinics to their local farmers’ market. Participants receive nutrition education and support, and they also receive coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market!   This year in Chelsea, patients can sign up for the program if eligible through Faith in Action’s Grace Clinic.
pfh logo for webThe overall purpose of the Prescription for Health (PFH) program is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among patients with low income, and to build capacity of clinics to expand the traditional medical model to include the food system.

How does the program work?

  1. 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, and asks the patient if he/she would like to participate.
  2. The clinician gives the patient their first “dose” of nutrition education, and writes a prescription for healthy behavior.
    Clinicians have a brief conversation regarding nutrition, and fill out a “prescription” card that lists the patient’s health issues and nutrition-related goals.
  3. Clinic staff provide the patient with a “prescription” worth $50 in tokens.
    The prescription contains five $10 token dispursements to be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables at a participating farmers’ market.
  4. Patients take their prescription to the Prescription for Health booth at the farmers’ market to receive their tokens.
    A registered dietitian provides individual nutrition education and support, and gives the patient $10 in tokens that can be used the same as cash at the market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

good food good health logo for web
Program Evaluation and Outcomes:

Washtenaw County Public Health staff conducted pre- and post-program surveys of patients and clinic staff. They also tracked patients’ use of coupons on a weekly basis throughout the season.