Innovation Fights Food Insecurity at Unity Care NW
In 2019, Unity Care NW participated in a pilot prescription program to provide produce for food-insecure patients with type 2 diabetes. A partnership with Bellingham Food Bank, The Community Food Co-op, Unity Care NW, and other health providers, allowed medical providers to prescribe participants with $40 of fruit and vegetables a month for one year. With the support of health educators, nutritionists, and care coordinators, patients were provided access to nutrition and cooking classes, and individual supports based at each healthcare agency.
Kasey Langley and Bert Stover, both clinical faculty at the University of Washington found that, out of 116 participants for whom data existed:
- The average participant’s consumption of fruits and vegetables increased
- The average A1c score (a measure of blood sugar that helps predict serious negative health outcomes) over participants’ 12 months in the program dropped from 10.7 to 9.0
- 54% of participants reported an improvement in their attitude toward self-care of their diabetes
Since the initial pilot of Whatcom Veggie Rx, Unity Care has implemented our own vegetable prescription program, with funding support from PeaceHealth funding. Veggie Rx continues to provide $40 per month for fresh and frozen produce for eligible patients. The program will continue in and has grown to provide produce from 67 to 100 patients in 2021. With the addition of an in-house dietitian, Unity Care continues to provide individual and group support for learning lifestyle skills, to reach the health goals for our patients.
Interested patients with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to ask their health care provider about Veggie Rx.
April is STI Awareness Month
If you are sexually active, getting tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health! Have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider about your sexual history and STI testing. This will help them understand what STI tests you may need.
Which STI Tests Should You Get?
- All sexually active people younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. People 25 years and older with risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has an STI, also should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
- All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy. At-risk pregnant women also should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea starting early in pregnancy. Testing should be repeated as needed to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple partners should be tested more frequently for STIs and HIV (i.e., at 3- to 6-month intervals).
- Anyone who has unprotected sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
Give us a call at (360) 676-6177 to schedule an appointment and make a plan to get yourself tested.
Syphilis is on the rise both nationally and locally, find out more here.