A Prescription for Better Health
Meet Chinwe Onyekere, Lankenau Medical Center
25 years, 25 stories
Helping community members stay healthy has been part of Lankenau Medical Center’s mission for more than half a century, says Chinwe Onyekere.
But after conducting a community health survey five years ago, Lankenau, part of Main Line Health, recommitted itself to this critical effort, with a strong focus on food access. “Diabetes, obesity and hypertension all have a direct food-related connection,” says Chinwe, who leads community programs for Lankenau that help keep people healthy and free of chronic, diet-related diseases. “For us to take a preventive approach to these major diseases, we had to really think comprehensively around the intersection of food and health.”
A nationally recognized innovator in community health partnerships, Lankenau has teamed up with The Food Trust to offer Philly Food Bucks, coupons for the purchase of fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, to high-need patients. “Food Bucks started the conversation around nutrition and healthy eating,” Chinwe says. Lankenau health educators also conduct blood pressure screenings at several Food Trust farmers markets and at one of the corner stores in The Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Network. “We’re meeting our patients where they live, work and play,” she says.
For Chinwe, these successful projects are just the start. “One of the things that I love about The Food Trust is its ability to find solutions that can be scaled up.” The lessons learned in partnership with Lankenau can be applied to other health institutions, both regionally and nationally. “That's been a guiding principle for us: to think about solutions and interventions that can meet more and more of our patients’ needs.”
Learn more about how The Food Trust and partners like Lankenau Medical Center promote community wellness.