Valleywise Health Recognizes “World Diabetes Day” with Continued Success of The Arizona Women’s Board Food Pharmacy
By Nicole Lavella -
Monday Nov 15, 2021
The pandemic has impacted many across the state in various ways, including limiting access to quality food. According to a recent study, food insecurity is on the rise in the state of Arizona, with 32% of Arizona households experiencing food insecurity since the onset of COVID-19. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of food insecurity, which is why quality ingredients are essential. In recognition of World Diabetes Day (November 14) and in line with the holiday’s 2021 theme, “Access to Diabetes Care,” Valleywise Health is pleased to report the continued success of its Arizona Women’s Board Food Pharmacy project.
Thanks to grant funding from the Arizona Women’s Board, the Food Pharmacy at Valleywise Community Health Center – South Phoenix/Laveen is a pilot program that launched last year with the aim to prevent kidney disease and improve diabetes outcomes through diabetes education, nutritional instruction and the availability of healthy food choices. With support from St. Mary’s Food Bank and the Valleywise Health Diabetes educators, the program provided access to care and services to a group of patients with diabetes while monitoring their progress.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the program thus far. The Food Pharmacy has served over 150 Arizona families and over 800 individuals just in the last six months,” says Tina Younger, MD, a program coordinator with the pharmacy. “By preselecting healthy food items to choose from, patients have been given access to foods and cooking methods that they may not have previously known, helping them improve their diabetes control.”
After a year of following the initial cohort of patients who were food insecure and with uncontrolled diabetes, the Food Pharmacy study showed an average of a 1.5% decrease in A1C, with the largest drop of 6.0%. Statistics show that even a 1% drop in A1C can reduce patients’ risk for eye disease by 75%, kidney disease by 50% and nerve disease by 60%.
The Arizona Women’s Board is committed to the prevention of kidney disease through awareness, education and research and to improve the quality of life of Arizonans with kidney disease. Over the past four years, grants from the AWB have supported the Valleywise Health Dialysis Clinic with nutritional supplements and transportation and helped launch the Arizona Women’s Board Food Pharmacy program at Valleywise Health with $200,000 in support.
“I was here almost every day with all my kids, even my grandkids,” said Karina, a patient who has been visiting the food pharmacy. “I love how everyone knows my kids and me, every time we come, they give us everything we need. I’m so happy for my kids that they have a chance to have that.”
About Valleywise Health
Located in Phoenix, Arizona and named one of the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation by IBM Watson Health in 2020, Valleywise Health (formerly Maricopa Integrated Health System) has a proud tradition of being the community safety net health care system with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved. Valleywise Health consists of Valleywise Health Medical Center, Arizona’s only public teaching hospital, the only trauma center in Maricopa County verified by the American College of Surgeons to treat adults and children. and Arizona’s only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States. Other services include the McDowell Healthcare Center, the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, three behavioral health centers, and 12 community health centers. To learn more, please visit www.ValleywiseHealth.org
About Arizona Women’s Board
Arizona Women’s Board was established as the Women’s Board in 1973 by the Arizona Kidney Foundation to raise funds for kidney patient programs. In 2010, the Women’s Board applied for and received its 501(c)3 non-profit status, becoming independent of the Kidney Foundation. The Arizona Women’s Board is now its own granting organization, committed to keeping 100 percent of event proceeds in Arizona. To learn more, please visit authorsluncheonaz.org.