Barb Baumgardner

With a mission to connect patients to community resources and ultimately improve their health outcomes, CHI Saint Joseph Health’s Total Health Roadmap Initiative gives a hand up to the most vulnerable population across central and eastern Kentucky.

Through a screening process at four CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group clinics in Lexington, Berea and London, patients who are considered “food insecure” receive a two-to-three day emergency food box provided by God’s Pantry Food Bank. CHI Saint Joseph Health community health workers connect God’s Pantry Food Bank to the at-risk population – all sharing the same goal to improve health.

“We’ve seen through our work that it’s becoming more important to get food to where people are instead of asking people to come to the food,” said Michael Halligan, CEO, God’s Pantry Food Bank.

In the last fiscal year, community health workers distributed 4,919 pounds of food to 579 at-risk individuals, said Barbara Baumgardner, community health coordinator for CHI Saint Joseph Health. The boxes contain various canned fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and canned meats – the staples of a nutritious diet and enough to give someone time to connect with a local food pantry.

“What our community health workers have accomplished is remarkable,” Baumgardner said. “They’re incredible at identifying our patients’ needs. The results have been amazing, from the solutions they’ve found to get people where they need to be, to providing them with emergency food boxes and connecting them to resources.”

Both Halligan and Baumgardner said the partnership was natural and cohesive, with a shared goal to improve food as a social determinant of health – access to good food improves nutrition, efficacy of treatments for patients and overall health and well-being.

Baumgardner said the goal is to expand this initiative to all CHI Saint Joseph Health facilities, starting with Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, in the near future.

“With the Foundation’s help and all that we do with God’s Pantry Food Bank, it provides such a much-needed service,” Baumgardner said.

CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations supports this initiative, including the partnership with God’s Pantry Food Bank. With a recent $945,740 grant from Catholic Health Initiatives’ Mission and Ministry Fund, they will continue to support the Total Health Roadmap Initiative through 2023.

“This would not be possible if it wasn’t for CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations to help us with the financial side of this work,” Halligan said. “CHI Saint Joseph Health is all about making a difference in people’s lives. Seeing the engagement in the community from the staff and their focus on helping the recipient have a better life is what I admire the most.”

For more information about the Total Health Roadmap Initiative, visit https://www.chisaintjosephhealth.org/body.cfm?id=18&action=detail&ref=1844.