Aramark and Morrison Healthcare will also partner with the Clinic to provide food vouchers and grocery delivery services to patients and families who are food insecure.
Additionally, the Clinic plans to establish five Nourish Plus Food Pharmacies, which will prescribe health food options for pediatric and pregnant patients and the public.
Finally, the Clinic will provide support to community food partners with donations to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Children’s Hunger Alliance and a grant to the Nourishing Power Network.
“Caring for our community is a top priority at Cleveland Clinic and we embrace our role as a local leader, working to make a real difference in the lives of our patients and neighbors,” said Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and president of the Cleveland Clinic, in a statement.
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“We are investing our resources to address this important issue and are proud to join forces with our partners to ensure that every child in Greater Cleveland has access to nutritious food. Together, we can strengthen the neighborhoods we call home and build a healthy community for everyone.”
The MetroHealth System, meanwhile, plans to open a new health clinic early next year at the Greater Cleveland Good Bank’s Community Resource Center, which is located in the city’s Collinwood neighborhood. The healthcare system also made a $1 million, five-year commitment to the food bank to help provide one million meals to Greater Clevelanders experiencing food insecurity.
“A lack of access to enough nutritious food can have a devastating impact on a person’s health,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Airica Steed, in a statement. “As Cuyahoga County’s super-safety-net hospital, we see the devastating effects of food insecurity every day in our clinics. If we truly want to improve the health and well-being of our community, if we truly want to eradicate health disparities, we must work collaboratively to address this crisis. I am delighted and encouraged to work in a community where all the major health systems share that commitment. Together, I know we can make a difference.”
UH intends to open new Food for Life Markets in the community of Richmond Heights as well as Lake County in 2024. The Food for Life Market initiative started in 2018 in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. The program, which stems from a partnership with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Sodexo, addresses food insecurity by providing free healthy food and consultations with dietitians to Clevelanders in need.
UH opened its fifth Food for Life Market last month at the UH Community Wellness Center at Glenville. It’s part of The Davis, an affordable housing complex in partnership with the NRP Group and the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority.
UH CEO Cliff A. Megerian said in a statement that between ongoing efforts and plans for the next five years, the health system has committed an estimated $18 million toward combatting food insecurity.
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The Clinic, MetroHealth and UH announced these new efforts Friday at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank alongside Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. In a statement, Megerian said the three health systems demonstrated during the pandemic that working together to solve societal problems creates a more impactful response.
“Together, we create scale and a more powerful response if we collaborate when an urgent community need arises. This spirit of 'cooperation' is now part of our ongoing business model,” he said.
Kristin Warzocha, president and CEO at Greater Cleveland Food Bank, said in a statement that it’s important for organizations to work alongside each other to address food insecurity in Northeast Ohio.
"The city of Cleveland is committed to a community-led all-of-government approach to food justice for all residents,” Mayor Bibb said in a statement.
“This includes making it easier to acquire vacant land for urban farmers, transforming the West Side Market to support local food vendors, and recruiting healthy grocers to areas in Cleveland in historically redlined neighborhoods. Our communities continue to struggle with financial and food insecurity, and it is imperative that we address these issues collaboratively as it has significant implications for our future.”
This story first appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.