Boston Medical Center (BMC) created the Nutrition Resource Center including its Preventive Food Pantry & Demonstration Kitchen in October 2001 to address nutrition-related illness and under-nutrition in its low-income patient population. The Food Pantry fills the therapeutic gap by linking physicians and nutritionists to patients. Individuals with special nutritional needs are referred to the Pantry by BMC primary care providers who write “prescriptions” for supplemental foods that best promote physical health, prevent future illness and facilitate recovery.
Boston Medical Center is 2012 Varnum Award Recipient
BMC's Food Pantry and Demonstration Kitchen is the proud recipient of the 2012 James W. Varnum National Quality Health Care Award, established by the Trustees of Dartmouth-Hitchcock to recognize an outstanding national leader in health care quality improvement initiatives.
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Options for Patients with Unique Nutritional Needs
Families can visit the Preventive Food Pantry twice per month and receive three to four days worth of food for their household each time. A key feature is the provision of perishable goods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter, and meats all year round – items that are often costly and therefore often lacking in a low-income family’s diet. In 2011, the Preventive Food Pantry provided food to more than 6,700 patients and their household members each month. The Pantry Manager is a registered Dietetic Technician, qualified to determine what foods correspond to a patient’s dietary needs, as prescribed by a BMC physician.
The Demonstration Kitchen complements the work of the Pantry by educating patients about nutrition through cooking methods that are compatible with their medical and dietary needs, as prescribed by their physician. The chef/dietitian who teaches the classes develops her own recipes and lesson plans. She works closely with the physicians to determine which classes would best benefit BMC patients and plans her schedule accordingly.
2012 James W. Varnum National Quality Health Care Award Recipient