Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills Is First-Time Recipient of Nearly $500,000 USDA Grant
December 2, 2022
Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills is proud to receive, for the first time, a nearly $500,000 grant aimed at helping residents of Sullivan and Orange counties lead healthier lives. The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides grants on a competitive basis to projects that help low-income consumers access and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables through “cash” incentives that increase their purchasing power at locations like farmers markets.
Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and various community partners, will receive close to $500,000 over the next three years. The money will help incentivize various community programs, such as Garnet Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program, designed to increase produce consumption and educate community members on how to make impactful lifestyle changes that will lead to improved health.
In Sullivan County, 11.5% of the population lives with food insecurity. In Orange County, that number is 9.8%. Additionally, 34% of Sullivan County’s adults are obese, with 28% self-reporting they do not participate in physical activity.
“We know that access to food plays an essential role in living a healthy lifestyle. But those who face food insecurity are often forced to choose between food and other essentials,” said Moira Mencher, manager of community health for Garnet Health. “What this grant does is help us reach those in the community facing these challenges, who can benefit not only from educational nutrition programs but also from access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”
To receive the produce vouchers, eligible participants must:
- Participate in or be eligible for SNAP and Medicaid
- Live in Sullivan or Orange County
- Participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program or one of the approved nutrition or physical activity classes
An example of how the program works:
Eligible participants will be screened for pre-diabetes and offered several paths to improve their health and gain accesses to the fruits and vegetables.
If a patient is diagnosed as pre-diabetic:
- They will be offered enrollment in the Diabetes Prevention Program. Throughout this year-long program, eligible participants receive vouchers in exchange for produce at local farmers markets or freshly pre-packaged boxes of produce.
- Patients can also choose to enroll in Cornell Cooperative Extension classes on physical activity and nutrition education and will receive vouchers after the completion of each class
If a patient is not diagnosed as pre-diabetic:
- They can enroll in Cornell Cooperative Extension classes on physical activity and nutrition education and will receive vouchers after the completion of each class
“Healthy diets and physical activity contribute to healthy lifestyles and overall well-being,” said Melinda Meddaugh, ag & food systems issue leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension. “With this program, we want to remove barriers, allowing community members easier access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables from our local farmers, while also teaching them how to maintain healthy habits for themselves and their family, which we ultimately hope will lead to better health outcomes.”
The incentive program will officially kick off in early 2023 with the enrollment of eligible community members, as well as access to produce being made available in the spring, when local farmers markets reopen.
We encourage the community to learn more about the education courses offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Garnet Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Thanks to the grant, everyone who qualifies, enrolls and completes the Diabetes Prevention Program can receive a free membership to the HabitNu healthy lifestyle program.
About Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills
Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills is dedicated to providing quality healthcare to residents of Sullivan County and neighboring communities. Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills is accredited by DNV GL – Healthcare. It is a recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus award, the Healthcare Association of New York State’s 2021 Pinnacle Award for quality and patient safety, and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Digital Health Level 9 Most Wired recognition.
Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills Grover M. Hermann Hospital received Press Ganey’s Guardian of Excellence Award® for emergency care in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. The hospital also received Press Ganey’s Pinnacle of Excellence Award for patient experience in its emergency department in 2020 and 2021, and has been named one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the country for patient satisfaction by the Chartis Center for Rural Health for nine years in a row.
Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills is an Academic Affiliate of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. It is also a member of Garnet Health, the corporate parent of Garnet Health Medical Center, Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, Garnet Health Doctors, Garnet Health Urgent Care, Garnet Health Foundation and Garnet Health Foundation – Catskills. To learn more about Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, visit garnethealth.org.
About Cornell Cooperative Extension
Since 1913, Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCESC) has responded to the needs of local residents with unbiased, research-based information, tools and education that people have come to depend on and trust. Our programs are developed in direct response to community input, and are based on the most current information available from Cornell and other Land Grant universities from across the nation. Our mission is to put knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. We bring local experience and research based solutions together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world.