Maricopa Health Foundation Receives 50K Grant From Arizona Women’s Board

Posted By on May 28, 2019
Laura Dannerbeck, Kate Fassett, Lynne Love, Sandy Katzman, April Ward, Colleen Gaia, and Susan Doria 

The Arizona Women’s Board has awarded Maricopa Health Foundation a $50,000 grant to benefit The Arizona Women’s Board’s new Food Pharmacy Project at Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS). 

The AWB Food Pharmacy program will be located on-site at the MIHS South Central Family Health Center and serve a pilot group of patients with diabetes over six months. In partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank and the MIHS Diabetes Clinic, this innovative program aims to improve diabetes outcomes and prevent kidney disease through nutritional instruction, diabetes education and the availability of healthy food choices including lean proteins, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Dietary intake, hemoglobin A1C levels (blood sugar control over a three-month period), and quality of life will be monitored during participation in the program. Food insecurity is a public health problem with many families making a choice between food, medicine or health care.

The Arizona Women’s Board is committed to the prevention of kidney disease through awareness, education, and research and to improve the quality of life of Arizonans with kidney disease. Past grants to Maricopa Health Foundation funded nutritional supplements and transportation for dialysis patients.

“The Arizona Women’s Board is thrilled to launch this innovative program with the Maricopa Health Foundation,” said Arizona Women’s Board President Lynne Love. “We are proud to continue a three-year partnership with MIHS serving Arizona kidney patients.”

Two program coordinators head the MIHS Arizona Women’s Board Food Pharmacy Project: Tina Younger, MD and Sandra Chmelnik, BS, RD, CDE. Younger is the quality improvement director for the Department of Internal Medicine at MIHS and clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. One of Younger’s goals at MIHS is to work with the diabetic patient population, so they are better able to manage their illness at home. Chmelik has been the inpatient diabetes educator at MIHS since 2013. Before MIHS, she served in various capacities as a diabetes educator, dietetic intern, community nutrition worker, clinical dietitian and researcher.

“Diabetes is the number one reason for kidney disease, and medication is not enough. Food impacts diabetes and diabetes leads to kidney disease. We are excited about the opportunity to make a difference with this pilot program grant from the Arizona Women’s Board,” Dr. Younger said. “By offering healthy food staples like proteins, cereals, and vegetables to at-risk patients, we aim to make improvements in diabetes and help prevent kidney disease in Maricopa County.” 

Funds gifted to Maricopa Health Foundation were proceeds raised by the Arizona Women’s Board through its 39th Annual Friends of Erma Bombeck Authors Luncheon in November 2018. The 40th Annual Authors Luncheon will take place on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. “We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help launch this important pilot program with support from the Arizona Women’s Board,” said Maricopa Health Foundation CEO Nate Lowrie. “Any time we can empower a person through preventative health measures, we’ve made an important impact on our community.”

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