Summit Medical Group Foundation (SMGF) was recently one of seven non-profits to earn a $50,000 grant – the largest sum bestowed – by the American Medical Association Foundation (AMA Foundation). This grant was the first of its kind to be awarded under the AMA Foundation’s new mission of bringing physicians and communities together to foster focused, measurable health improvements.
“The American Medical Association Foundation is truly excited about welcoming Summit Medical Group Foundation into the 2018 Community Health Program Cohort,” says Tiffany V. Seay, Senior Program Officer of the AMA Foundation. “We were extremely impressed by SMGF’s ability to engage strategic and innovative partnerships to serve vulnerable populations in their community. We look forward to seeing SMGF’s demonstrated impact on reducing and managing type 2 diabetes and hypertension,” she adds.
Summit Medical Group Foundation received the grant to help fund the Food, Health and Hope: An Answer to Diabetes (FHH Diabetes) initiative – a program working to help reduce the impact of diabetes in New Jersey urban municipalities in Essex, Passaic and Union counties, where adults with diabetes account for up to 10.6 percent of the population. Seven community/faith-based organizations have come together to execute FHH Diabetes, including SMGF and its longtime partner, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ).
“Winning the AMA Foundation grant is an incredible honor,” says Joe Finocchiaro, Executive Director of SMGF. “These funds will help us continue to take a direct leadership role in improving the health and wellness of the underserved throughout New Jersey.”
In seven CFBNJ food pantries in Essex, Passaic and Union counties, food pantry clients are offered an opportunity to participate in FHH Diabetes. If clients are unsure if they have diabetes, they can take advantage of free medical screenings provided by SMGF volunteers. FHH Diabetes is building upon its pilot project last year, which provided more than 2,500 screenings and exemplified a true willingness of consumers to participate in local, free medical screenings at the site where they received food. Participants in FHH Diabetes receive vast benefits, all of which are free, including:
- Healthy, diabetes-appropriate food boxes with fresh produce, whole grains and lean meats
- Culturally and ethnically sensitive recipes
- Diabetes and healthy lifestyle education (both in-person with educators and via brochures)
- Quarterly monitoring of blood pressure and Hba1c (average blood sugar level over 3 months)
- Annual multi-specialty screening in bodily areas affected by diabetes, including feet and vision
- Facilitation for quick appointments at local health clinics
- Access to low-cost prescription assistance for diabetes-related medications.