Grocery Voucher Pilot: Reimagining Diabetes Self-Management Among Low-Income Patients
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Food insecurity is a major barrier to diabetes self-management among low-income individuals. The distribution of grocery vouchers has been shown to improve diet and food insecurity in various settings. We developed a grocery voucher program to address food insecurity, increase clinical engagement, and enhance diabetes self-management among patients with poorly controlled type II diabetes at a community health center in New Haven, Connecticut. Over three months, each participant had diabetes nurse educator visits, obtained individualized nutrition education, and received gift cards to a local grocery store. The program was evaluated using a mixed-methods approach. We enrolled 38 patients in the grocery voucher program over eight months. There were significant improvements in final HbA1c values among study participants. Participants could not only better afford healthier food but also felt more confident in controlling their blood glucose levels. By developing and implementing a program that addresses both the medical and social needs of patients with poorly controlled diabetes, we have provided an infrastructure to better engage patients in their care and address health inequities in the community setting.
- Janani Arangan, BS, Medical Student, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University
- Mellisa Pensa, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Director of Residency Training and Development, Health Equity Clinical Lead, Fair Haven Community Health Care