The Diabetes Wellness Program serves 412 people per month on average through a mobile clinic that conducts screenings, dispenses food and provides nutrition education.
Fall 2011, the REFB received a 3-year grant through Feeding America and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to establish and pilot a Diabetes Wellness Program.
For this project, the REFB collaborates with health care providers to improve the health outcomes of individuals who are food insecure and also affected by type 2 diabetes. The pilot creates food bank - health center partnerships that provide diabetes screening, care coordination, nutrition and disease education, and healthy foods.
Feeding America will evaluate how well the project improves the diagnosis of diabetes, adherence to diabetes treatment, increases self-care skills, maintains or increases mental wellness, lowers risk or presence of depressive symptoms, and improves specific clinical outcomes related to type 2 diabetes.
The goal of the REFB Diabetes Wellness Program is to improve the health, wellness, and outcomes of low-income adults in Sonoma County who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and who face food-insecurity.
In order to reach our goal, the REFB works to:
- Conduct community screenings to identify low-income adults who are at risk for T2DM.
- Distribute a monthly Diabetes Wellness food box to project participants that includes fresh produce and healthy staple foods.
- Collaborate with local community health centers to refer food bank clients with T2DM into primary care and enroll existing health center patients into the food box program.
- Provide a range of diabetes self-management education materials to Diabetes Wellness food box recipients.
- Conduct group Diabetes Self-Management Education classes.
- Operate a mobile food pantry and diabetes education center to reach rural and underserved communities affected by food insecurity and diabetes.
- Track aspects of participants’ health, diabetes self-care, and food security status by administering surveys and conducting A1c testing throughout the duration of the project.
- Contribute to the body of knowledge on food insecurity and diabetes management by participating in a national pilot project with two other food banks.
Healthcare Provider Partners
The REFB has forged alliances with multiple Sonoma County healthcare providers including St. Joseph Health System's Mobile Health Clinic, Vista Family Health Center, Alliance Medical Center, Petaluma Health Clinic, West County Health Centers, Sonoma County Indian Health Project, the Sonoma County Department of Human Services, Jewish Community Free Clinic, Santa Rosa Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Sutter Home Health Program, and Redwood Coast Medical Services, based in Gualala. Partners identify clients with diabetes who are also food insecure and refer them to the Food Bank. In turn, REFB refers food bank clients not receiving primary medical care to appropriate healthcare partners.
The new Diabetes Wellness Program expands and enhances an existing program developed by the REFB. In 2008, the REFB launched its own innovative Diabetes Wellness Pilot Project with start-up funding initially provided by Community Foundation Sonoma County. The Pilot has been sustained through the REFB’s general funds. The project enabled 100 low-income seniors living with diabetes, who qualify for senior food boxes, to receive monthly Diabetes Wellness food boxes. Five interactive workshops were also presented to recipients on topics related to diabetes self-management, such as the “General Nutrition & Basic Diabetes Information” workshop.