Thundermist Health Center Pilots National Nutrition Program

Friday, August 19, 2011


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Bringing physicians and farms together for healthier kids and families

This week, Thundermist Health Center of Woonsocket officially cut the ribbon in celebration of an innovative pilot program the center is participating in nationwide.

Called the Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx), the pilot reflects a diverse partnership: the Health Center, Thundermist/Woonsocket Farmers, Farm Fresh RI, Wholesome Wave, and Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited (CAVU). It is one of only seven such pilot sites across the country. 

"Prescriptions" for fruit and vegetables

Approximately 40 Thundermist families are enrolled and receiving “prescriptions,” written by healthcare providers, which are redeemed for local, fresh fruit and vegetables at the weekly farmers market. The Thundermist Farmers Market is also open to the general public and well attended.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Farm Fresh RI, Wholesome Wave, and Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, who have been truly committed partners," said Chuck Jones, Interim President/CEO of Thundermist. "This Prescription Program exemplifies the collaborative and innovative programming that Thundermist enjoys in the community.  Additionally, Covidien is a great partner; we appreciate the support during our Health Center Week celebrations.” Thundermist joined centers throughout the US this week to celebrate National Health Center Week.

Partners in health for children and families

Most RIers may already be familiar with FarmFresh RI, the non-profit organization that is behind a number of powerful initiatives and events in the state, including the ever-growing farmers market movement. Wholesome Wave, another nonprofit, partners with farmers markets, community leaders, healthcare providers, like-minded nonprofits and government entities to implement programs that benefit consumers in under-served communities and the farmers who provide for them. CAVU (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited) is a public charity that identifies and supports innovative community programs that enhance the healthcare of underserved children. 

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program

The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) fosters partnerships between health care providers and organizations working with farm-to-market retail venues to measure the health effects of increased consumption of fresh produce. The goal is to improve health outcomes by providing community members at-risk for diet-related diseases (such as diabetes and obesity) with the resources to increase consumption of fresh, locally grown produce.

Wholesome Wave invented the FVRx Program and collaborated with CAVU in 2010 to focus on children and families. Through work with three healthcare partners and a statewide network of farmers markets, a total of 246 participants were served in 2010. Preliminary results indicate that the program has had a significant effect on participants’ shopping and eating habits as well as on their knowledge about the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diet. A similar program was also tested by Wholesome Wave in Maine in 2010.


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