Serving the needs of the community through innovative partnerships
At Lankenau Medical Center we are honored to collaborate with partners in the community who are working towards our shared vision of a culture of health and are committed to addressing the underlying drivers of chronic disease, including lack of access to healthy, affordable food.
Lankenau is differentiating itself from other medical institutions in the region by taking a partnered strategy to strengthening community-based wellness and prevention services—an approach that can serve as a model for health systems nationwide.
Our partnerships include:
Cafeteria Farmstand in partnership with Common Market and Aramark brings fresh and locally grown produce to our hospital once a week. Patients and community benefit from access to a bounty of produce options, from asparagus to collard greens, mushrooms to strawberries, along with cheese, eggs, baked goods, butters and spreads.
The Food Trust is a nationally recognized nonprofit, working throughout the United States and internationally to improve access to healthy, affordable food. In Philadelphia, where The Food Trust was founded in 1992, the organization works with partners like the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's Get Healthy Philly initiative to create a comprehensive solution to the issue of food access, improving the health of families and communities through nutrition education, improved school food environments, farmers markets, healthier food options in corner stores, new and expanded supermarkets and healthy food marketing campaigns and other programs.
Good Food, Healthy Hospitals is a four-year, multifaceted initiative to transform Philadelphia’s hospital food environment and bring healthier options to thousands of employees, visitors and patients every day. Ensuring that staff, patients, and visitors have access to fresh, healthy, and environmentally sustainable food within hospital walls is a reflection of a health system’s commitment to preventative care and an opportunity to reduce the risk of chronic disease for thousands of Philadelphians.
Greener Partners creates community farms and mobile education programs that increase and strengthen public access to fresh, seasonal and local food, especially those in need. Through its farm-to-hospital collaboration with Lankenau Medical Center, Greener Partners is taking a new approach to preventive health care by growing fresh food for patients in need, and educating young people about the joys of healthy eating.
The Junior League of Philadelphia, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health launched Get Healthy Philly, a groundbreaking public health initiative bringing together government, community-based organizations, academia, and the private sector. Get Healthy Philly envisions a Philadelphia where all residents can live, work, learn, shop, worship, and play in environments that promote healthy eating, active living, and a smoke-free existence. Get Healthy Philly works to ensure that Philadelphians can enjoy long, productive lives free from disease, disability, and premature death.
Community health hubs – Building partnerships that support access to good food and good health
Across the country, nearly 40 million children and adults are underserved by supermarkets and other healthy food retail, forced to travel long distances to purchase groceries. Many of these residents rely instead on small corner stores within walking distance—the majority of which sell very little, if any, healthy food options.
This problem impacts residents of urban and rural areas alike, especially those with lower incomes and in communities of color. In many cases, these same communities also suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases—health conditions exacerbated by both poverty and the lack of healthy food resources. Even when fresh foods are within reach, they may not be affordable, so shoppers may be hesitant to spend their food dollars on fresh produce instead of more filling—but often less nutritious—options to feed their families.
Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health, envisions a health care model in which food access and food education serve as critical components of patients’ prevention and treatment plans. Through programming, strategic partnerships and a focus on community-based preventive health interventions, Lankenau has developed an innovative approach to creating community health hubs that bring nutrition education and health prevention directly to the people who need those services the most.
One region where residents have already begun to see the benefits of this model is West Philadelphia, a 14-square-mile area that comprises several small, distinct neighborhoods with a diverse group of residents. West Philadelphia is bordered by much more affluent Montgomery County, where median household incomes are largely over $100,000; in West Philadelphia, that number is closer to $40,000. Residents are also disproportionately burdened by diet-related disease, lack of access to healthy foods and high rates of poverty. With 26 percent of West Philadelphia’s residents experiencing limited access to healthy food on foot in an area where walkability is limited, it comes as no surprise that food insecurity follows.
In 2012, Lankenau Medical Center and The Food Trust partnered to develop a community-focused approach to enhance access to nutritious foods in West Philadelphia. By linking preventive health care services and access points to healthy food retail, health hubs have emerged—spaces where communities can gather, access and learn about nutritious food, and receive preventive health care support. Together, these organizations have helped support increased access to nutritious foods while creating opportunities for at-risk community members to learn more about their health and well-being and connect to health care professionals.