Food Institute Part of BHS Health & Wellness Center at Trinity Point
(Pictured above: Dr. Kathy Selvaggi, Bridget Thornton, and RN Erin Stewart presented a program about the new BHS Health & Wellness Center at Trinity Point to Clarion Rotary on Monday.)
The BHS Food Institute at Butler Hospital stresses building healthier communities by solving food insecurity. Institute personnel shared information about their start and plans associated with the new Clarion location with Clarion Rotary Club members on Monday.
In addition to a food institute, the state-of-the-art building will include:
• BHS Women’s Care Associates & Fran M. Shope Women’s Imaging Center, including women’s ultrasound and 3D mammography, and also an outpatient lab all in one convenient location.
• BHS Family Healthcare of Clarion, Family Medicine Residency Clinic, where residents, alongside seasoned physicians, and providers, treat patients and guide them in healthy lifestyle management.
• Enhanced cardiac services-Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery Consults, Cardiac Rehabilitation Gym.
“One of the themes is that we are here for our community,” said Steven Davis, president of Clarion Hospital.
“What you’re going to hear about today (Monday) is part of what differentiates us as your community healthcare provider. And, what that means is that we want to help get this community healthy,” added Davis.
Dr. Kathy Selvaggi, BHS’s chief community health officer, said patients now throughout the health system are asked three questions when they enter:
• Do you have difficulty accessing fresh fruits and vegetables?
• Do you run out of money to buy food before the end of the month?
• Do you run out of food by the end of the month?
“If any of the answers to these questions is yes, it doesn’t have to be all three, you are then referred electronically to our Food Institute,” said Selvaggi.
Not to be confused with a food pantry, the relatively new Butler Health System Food Institute gives eligible clients the ingredients to make 10 healthy meals per month.
The clients can receive the distribution and lessons once per month for up to six months, explained Selvaggi.
“Not only do the clients receive the monthly food for the recipes, they will learn how to prepare the meals from a professional chef at the institute.”
“We learned that you could hand somebody a zucchini, and they don’t even know what it is, and they don’t know how to cook it,” continued Selvaggi. “They know nothing about preparation, so it ends up in the garbage.
“When we started in April, we were hoping to educate about 200 people. Well, we’re close to 300 in about six months.
“You learn about label reading. You learn what the low sodium diet is, what a low glucose diet is, because I will tell you people don’t know, and there are food demonstrations. The dietician goes through all of the recipes and then gives you the food for those recipes.”
BHS would like to duplicate the effort at Clarion, and they are working on a grant application to assist in the program, according to Selvaggi.
“We’ve been writing grants, grants, grants, and more grants. We also coordinate one through US Senator Bob Casey’s office, and ours is at $268,000.00.
Our grant was one of three that got through the first round. Stay tuned and hope that we get this grant because this money would go to fund similar activity here in Clarion County.”
RN Erin Stewart explained that the health system has taken on the expense and the grant writing continues.
“We plan that when the medical office building opens these classes will be offered in a kitchen demonstration, which is a part of the conference room. We’re excited to see the final product, but I’ve seen the renderings, and it’s beautiful, and it’s everything that we’ve ever wanted. The dietician was able to actually build out the space and kind of her dream kitchen.”
Another component of a healthy lifestyle is exercise and the new health and wellness center includes that, as well.
“We’re partnering with the YMCA and Seth Babington of the Clarion Rehabilitation Center,” said Bridget Thornton.
“Dr. Jan Kennison, Steven, and I have been working on this initiative. We just spoke to the medical staff at last week’s meeting, so we’re really laying the groundwork for getting this program off the ground. Once this new building is open, it’s important that, just like the food Institute seeking support from physician referrals, we seek physician support for exercises to get people healthy.
“Looking back to the community health needs assessment, fighting chronic disease is about nutrition, healthy eating, and also physical activity and exercise. You’ll see more and more information coming out about the exercise institute.”
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