MD H2E's food work will continue under the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Integrative Medicine. Please contact Gina Navarro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-706-6162 and Tarah Ranke email@example.com 410-706-6160 for more information on their new program, Food and Community Health.
MD H2E works with health care professionals interested in increasing local sustainable food procurement through healthy food initiatives. This growing interest is also supported by the expanding demand and public attention on rebuilding our regional food systems through reduced dependence on industrialized agriculture and by supporting local farmers to reduce environmental exposures and impacts on human health.
As a result of the large purchasing power of health care facilities and their authority as health care providers, these initiatives are redirecting our food supply and our food system back towards a regional food system using health promoting, prevention-oriented agricultural practices that promote public health for everyone.
MD H2E engages hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region in implementing the national Healthy Food in Health Care Program of Health Care Without Harm through a variety of initiatives. There are a variety of ways to participate (include in side box)
More hospitals are now recognizing that implementing judicious use of antibiotics when prescribing medications for medical care and implementing rigorous hand washing policies is not enough to curb the growing epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in humans. As a result, hospitals are now shifting their food purchasing practices away from conventional meat and poultry towards sustainably produced meat and poultry raised without the routine use of antibiotics. There are now 12 hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland currently serving meat and poultry without added antibiotics.
Educating hospitals about the health risks of pesticides that are commonly used in conventional agricultural practices for growing vegetables and fruit and for growing the feed that is provided to animals for the production of meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and eggs.
Additionally, health care providers and hospitals are working with the Smart on Pesticides Campaign and the Maryland Pesticide Network to support public policies that track and monitor pesticide use so that public health researchers can identify risks to public health in our communities, especially among vulnerable populations.
Most of the farmers at the farmers markets and farm stands at hospitals and nursing homes in Maryland accept WIC and Senior Checks, which allow people on these federal benefit programs to access fresh, local foods in their surrounding community.
Additionally, University of Maryland Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have SNAP (formerly food stamp) Programs where they have an Electronic Benefits Transfer machines (EBT) to accept SNAP benefits.
These programs exist thanks to the work of the Eat Fresh Maryland Program and the new Maryland Farmers Market Association and a grant from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States.
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