A Nutritious Route to Health Equity
WACO – Tantalizing aromas of fresh ingredients waft through the air as doctors and staff at Waco Family Medicine’s (WFM) Elm Avenue location roll up their sleeves. The clinic’s main hallway has transformed into a mobile kitchen where Chefs Sheri and Delsia are cutting up colorful veggies for protein-filled power bowls. Staff can’t wait to create their own bowls and dig in.
Welcome to the WFM Culinary Roadshow, a unique blend of culinary arts and health education, and it’s as delicious as it is enlightening.
“Food is a fundamental driver of health,” says Dr. Burritt Hess, WFM’s lead clinician dedicated to impacting non-medical drivers of health (NMDOH). “This is one way we’re showing our team how affordable access to healthy food and other factors outside the clinic affect everyone, including our patients and staff. It’s helping change the way we all think about health.”
The WFM Culinary Roadshow, made possible with funding from EHF, is a project emphasizing the importance of improving #HealthNotJustHealthCare by serving up lessons on NMDOH to clinic staff in a digestible format. The recipe is simple:
- Food as the Main Course: By delivering a mobile kitchen to clinic sites, food is placed at the heart of the health conversation, emphasizing its crucial role in our well-being.
- A Taste of Experiential Learning: The hands-on approach of the roadshow makes learning about health as engaging as cooking a new recipe.
- A Side of Community Building: The roadshow fosters a sense of community, encouraging open conversations about NMDOH among all staff positions.
Each session is a feast of knowledge. Clinicians and staff learn from local chefs how to prepare foods that are high in vegetable content and flavor but low in salt, fat, and sugar. Over this shared meal, clinicians lead discussions about NMDOH, inviting group members to reflect on how these factors influence their own lives.
“From Culinary Roadshows to produce prescriptions to hosting Walk with a Doc events, Waco Family Medicine has created a culture of going beyond the exam room to impact health,” Barnes says.
The WFM Culinary Roadshow is an example of how EHF grantees are creatively addressing health disparities and promoting wellness in their communities.
More about Waco Family Medicine:
Since 1969, Waco Family Medicine (WFM) has been a cornerstone of health in Waco. WFM became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 1999 and provides a lifeline for underserved residents of McLennan and Bell counties. WFM challenges a health care system that often overlooks those without private insurance.
In 2022, WFM made a difference in the lives of over 61,000 patients across 14 clinics, providing not just medical care, but also dental and behavioral health services. WFM doesn’t stop at healthcare – they’re actively breaking down social and environmental barriers to wellness through inventive programs and strong community partnerships. The Waco Family Medicine Residency Program is a hub of excellence, training the region’s top family physicians in compassionate, culturally sensitive care. At WFM, they’re not just providing healthcare – they’re building a healthier community.