Project Name: Comer Bien (Eat Well)

Project Overview: Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC) serves a predominantly low-income, Mexican American border community where food insecurity is prevalent and diets don’t often include fresh foods. Healthful eating is hampered by limited transportation options, high food costs and lack of familiarity with the importance of good nutrition to sustain health. Nearly 14% of the health center’s patients have been diagnosed diabetes, and more than 30% adults with diabetes had an A1C over 9%, evidencing poor control. Working with Nogales Community Development, Nogales Community Food Bank, Nogales Mercado Farmer’s Market, Garrett’s IGA Supermarket, and Villa’s Market, Mariposa CHC will launch the “Comer Bien” (Eat Well) Initiative to introduce a comprehensive, community-focused, evidence-based approach to control diabetes and improve health.

The goal of the Comer Bien (Eat Well) project is to improve health outcomes by addressing food-related social determinants and increasing access to healthful and nutritious foods.

Key Project objectives are to:

  • Increase access to healthy food through prescriptions for fruit and vegetables and coupons and collaboration with local markets and grocers;
  • Address social determinants of health that affect healthy eating and diabetic outcomes; and
  • Improve both healthful eating and blood sugar control for a pilot group of 100 patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
    • 2017-2018 Project Activities:
    • 2017-2018 Key Project Outcomes
      • One hundred (100) high-risk diabetic patients were enrolled in the Comer Bien program;
      • Twenty (20) participants received CHW home visits to assess services needed to address social determinants of health and provide appropriate referrals;
      • Fifty-two (52) participants participated in one or more cooking demonstration classes, and 33 attended all sessions of the 4-class program. The curriculum covered health and nutrition education, offered healthy food recommendations, and provided fresh produce for the cooking classes;
      • Distributed healthy food boxes tailored to 47 participants and their family members, through partnership with the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank;
      • Issued FVRx fruit and vegetable prescription coupons redeemable at participating community grocers to all 100 participants enrolled in the intervention as program modules were completed;
        Ninety-nine (99) patients received 5 or more coupons and 65 patients received 20 or more coupons. Of 2,060 coupons issues, 81% were redeemed at local grocers;
      • Thirty-five (35) patients and family members who completed the cooking classes received vouchers redeemable at Nogales Farmer’s Market for fresh fruits and vegetables, with 100% redemption; and
      • For those participants who completed the program in its entirety (20 participants with a 6-month post intervention level and 30 with a 3-month post intervention level), observed 11% reduction in HbAIC at 3 months post-intervention, and 14% reduction in HbA1C at 6 months.
    • 2018-2019 Expected Project Activities
      • Engage new cohort of 100 patients for the program;
      • Provide home visits and home assessments to 75 patients;
      • Add a 30-minute exercise session (yoga and aerobic) to each cooking class to encourage participants to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their lifestyle;
      • Raffle incentives for healthy eating at the end of each cooking class;
      • Implement cooking demonstrations at FVRx redemption grocery stores, Villa’s and Garrett’s Supermarket;
      • Develop a program evaluation survey;
      • Continue partnership with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona to assess and improve quality and value of foods provided in the diabetic-tailored food box;
      • Establish processes to improve tracking of 3 and 6-month post intervention A1C levels and BMI; and
      • Refine data collection and quantitative evaluation methods, and additional metrics such as tracking coupon redemption.

Project Partners: Nogales Community Development, Nogales Community Food Bank, Villa’s Market, Garrett’s IGA Supermarket, Nogales Mercado/Farmer’s Market

About the Grantee

Mariposa Community Health Center was founded in 1980 to serve a predominantly rural, Latino community at the U.S.-Mexico border. The major provider of medical, dental and community health services in Santa Cruz County, Mariposa serves nearly 23,000 patients at 4 sites. For more information, visit www.mariposachc.net