Community Partner Visit: InterFaith Health Clinic and Truck2Table

Walter D. Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation, is visiting each Strategic Community Investment Program (SCIP) partnering organization in 2020. Here are some of his thoughts about his recent visit to Knoxville and the InterFaith Health Clinic, an organization that serves residents of low-income housing facilities in Knoxville neighborhoods that have the least access to healthy foods.

 

Left to right: Walter Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation, Gwen, a Truck2Table participant, and Dr. Glory Ledbetter, Food as Medicine Program Director

Gwen has a long list of food allergies, and she's always felt that those allergies really limit her ability to eat, enjoy and try new foods. Today, Gwen is one of T2T's most consistent participants, constantly commenting about how much fun she is having.

Knoxville, Tenn., is a Bold Goal community, a place where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to improve health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond. It’s also the location of one of the Foundation’s most innovative and exploratory Strategic Community Investments, proving that relationships drive results.

Humana routinely brings together partners in Bold Goal communities to discuss important issues via local Health Advisory Boards. At a meeting of the Knoxville Healthy Advisory Board Nutritional Committee, executive directors from InterFaith Health Clinic and Synergasia Health Technologies met. That’s where they developed the idea for an innovative and tech-enabled program that would be able to help increase food security and social connectedness.

The Humana Foundation partnered with the InterFaith in 2018, funding its Truck2Table pilot program to address social determinants of health and health equity barriers. Truck2Table (T2T) is a mobile food concept that uses a healthy eating approach to close gaps in the East Tennessee food security system, focusing on food deserts and communities with barriers to health. As part of the program, T2T collaborates with farmers, grocers, restaurants and others to reduce food waste, selling excess produce and supplying T2T participants with healthy meal kits.

Our investment in T2T is testing the idea that multisector partnerships that advocate for whole community food systems result in greater food security for those with the greatest need.

InterFaith recently received a continuing Humana Foundation investment for T2T because of the specific, measurable results it achieved in its first year. To benchmark progress, InterFaith measures the number of T2T participants who made progress to greater food security though nutritional education and social connectedness experiences.

Gwen and Regina, two Truck2Table participants, at a community tasting event in Knoxville

In 2019, 2,000 InterFaith patients screened positive for social determinants of health needs. Of those patients:

  • 626 enrolled in programming for increased food security
  • 428 participated in at least one new social activity per month to achieve their personal goals around social connectedness
  • 288 increased their nutrition education by engaging in two or more nutrition classes
  • 240 increased their household food budget by participating in a T2T-sponsored Farmers Market SNAP Doubling program
  • 126 enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

Initial T2T results are promising, and so our learnings are strong from the first year of the program. We’ve learned the importance of knowing your audience and understanding the barriers and behaviors that create a healthy ecosystem. We’ve learned that when paired together, teamwork and technology are an amazing combination and help create a more comprehensive approach to addressing community needs.

And, we’ve learned about the personal impact T2T has made in community members’ lives.

“I went to my doctor last week, and my triglycerides have come down 60 percent since I started coming to Truck2Table and changed my cooking. I really want it to keep coming down to normal, so I’m looking forward to learning more new recipes and information.” – Margie, Truck2Table participant

“It literally brings me to tears to see the lives being impacted by this important partnership with The Humana Foundation. Seeing clients faces light up and hearing their feedback, I realize we are giving more than food – hope, too.” – Diane Smith, InterFaith Health Clinic and Truck2Table pilot project liaison

InterFaith Health Clinic and Truck2Table host tasting events in community spaces in the Knoxville area, serving health nutritious foods that are easy to prepare and helping people make social connections as they dine together

Going forward, T2T will collaborate with community leaders, local farmers, restaurants, grocers, distributors and other businesses to increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables in places where food deserts and barriers exist. This approach will revitalize communities and promote an improved and sustainable food system.

I look forward to seeing what InterFaith and T2T will accomplish in 2020.

 

We know health is local. Creating change and greater health equity takes time, a deep understanding of the community, and strong relationships between partnering organizations. That’s why The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program (SCIP) partners with local organizations for up to three years, depending on specific, measurable results, to address social determinants of health in eight of Humana’s Bold Goal communities, places where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to improve health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond. Visit the SCIP page on HumanaFoundation.org for more information.

CategoriesBold GoalKnoxvilleNutrition and Food SecurityStrategic Community Investment Program
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