https://www.glwd.org/blog/alissa-wassung-to-present-at-american-public-health-association-conference-on-a-coordinated-network-approach-to-food-insecurity/

10.26.20 / Policy

Alissa Wassung to Present at American Public Health Association Conference on a Coordinated Network Approach to Food Insecurity

This week, the American Public Health Association’s conference begins, meeting online as most conferences do these days. God’s Love’s Senior Director of Policy & Planning, Alissa Wassung will present with Zachariah Hennessey, Vice President of Neighborhood Health, Public Health Solutions on the second phase of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Bundle a coordinated network approach to addressing food insecurity in NYC.

Food insecurity, defined as poor nutrition and a lack of access to healthy food, leads to increased use of health services and higher healthcare costs. The FNS bundle aims to connect community-based food and nutrition services to hospitals and community centers to help direct participants to the appropriate services available in the local community, such as SNAP, WIC, food pantries and medically tailored meal providers.

The Food and Nutrition Services Bundle is a coordinated and accountable network that bridges healthcare and local community food and nutrition resources for food insecure persons in the Bronx.

This program was developed to respond to the frustration of multiple parties:

  • The frustration of of hospital staff who saw food insecurity and did not know where to refer their patients.
  • The frustration of patients who were referred to services that they did not need or for which they were not eligible.
  • The frustration of community-based food providers who received an abundance of ineligible referrals- taking up time and resources.

In Phase I, the Bundle helped participants access SNAP, WIC, food pantries and medically tailored home-delivered meals. The report on Phase I of the initiative demonstrated that 57% of referrals resulted in enrollment in food and nutrition services. In other words, it works!

In phase II, the FNS bundle expanded, increased evaluation efforts, and added in a COVID-19 response.

Expansion

  • Four more hospitals in the Bronx
  • Three hospitals in Manhattan
  • Two insurers.
  • Introduction of Senior Meals on Wheels
  • Introduction of a health education component: Diabetes Self-Management Program

Evaluation

  • Analysis of enrollment rates and the accuracy of the tool
  • Qualitative survey with clients, demonstrating that the percentage of participants with a high quality of life rating significantly increased when accessing the FNS

COVID-19 Response

  • Partnership with the Unite NYC model to migrate the project from within hospitals to dispersed throughout the city
  • Partnership with NYC emergency food delivery program GetFoodNYC to help all community based organizations rise to the extremely increased need for food services and in-home services during the COVID-19 crisis.

As phase II continues, the FNS Bundle project will continue to prioritize evaluation so that they can demonstrate their impact in the NYC food insecurity landscape.

The more data collected, the more we see that this coordinated effort will increase the health and quality of life of more New Yorkers, decrease the administrative burden on emergency food service providers, and make our city healthier and safer.