Contact: Johanna Elsemore at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Orleans, LA: No Kid Hungry has been awarded the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) grant, $466,500 in funding through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant will allow No Kid Hungry, in partnership with Aetna Better Health of Louisiana and Louisiana State University Extension, and Vouchers 4 Veggies to launch Healthy Families Rx, an initiative to integrate food and nutrition into preventative health care visits for Aetna Medicaid members.
Healthy Families Rx will incorporate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) referrals, nutrition counseling, and Produce Rx vouchers into well-child visit protocols for Medicaid, impacting more than 4,000 Louisianans. Given the correlation between food insecurity and diet-related disease, investing in preventative measures that address food insecurity and childhood obesity are critical to ensuring that children achieve levels of health that allow them to fulfill their potential and avoid chronic disease.
“We know that access to nutritious food in childhood and adolescence is critical for health, development, learning and overall well-being,” said Kelleen Zubick, director of health strategy for No Kid Hungry. “The GusNIP grant will help us ensure Louisiana kids have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This not only impacts the immediate health of the families we serve, but also serves to promote equity and the long-term health and prosperity of their communities. We appreciate Aetna collaborating with No Kid Hungry to secure the grant and look forward to working together to help children in Louisiana lead healthier lives.”
The program is focused in two rural regions of Louisiana, the Northshore and Acadiana, both of which have child food insecurity and youth obesity rates that are much higher than the national average. Statewide in Louisiana, 26% of kids face food insecurity, a higher rate than any other state in the nation.
“Addressing Social Determinants of Health for our members is a top priority for Aetna, and solutions for food insecurity begin in our local communities,” said Richard Born, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Louisiana. “By working with community partners, our providers and No Kid Hungry, we’ll enable our Medicaid members to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which are essential for leading a healthy life.”
Healthy Families Rx aims to reduce child and household food insecurity and improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables in order to promote improved health outcomes among Louisiana families. In addition to helping families get the nutrition they need, the grant will allow for modeling how a statewide health plan, local healthcare providers, community groups, and retailers can collaborate and replicate this project to other parts of the state and in rural areas of the country.
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 6 kids could face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty.
About Aetna Medicaid
Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.8 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.