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Outreach and Community Engagement

Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute uses a broad array of outreach and education programs to address our community’s vital needs. We link individuals to a variety of interventions and community resources that can aid their journey to health.

Food As Medicine Program Improves Community Health

We initiated Food As Medicine in 2021, a mobile health screening and nutrition education program that brings healthcare services to community members in need. The program provides:

  • Blood pressure and blood sugar assessments
  • Evaluation of BMI, pre-existing hypertension or diabetes
  • A week’s worth of low-sodium, low-sugar food resources (perishable and non-perishable)
  • Access to healthcare providers
  • Pedometers or smart watches for participants interested in increasing physical movement
  • Pharmacy deliveries to improve prescription access for help managing blood pressure and/or blood sugar
  • Identification of social determinant of health needs
  • Education on things like food selection and preparation, and on how exercise/movement can prevent and manage hypertension

The Food As Medicine program encompasses two sites – the Brookwood Inn and InLivian Residential Facilities – and served 200 participants in 2022. 

Brookwood Inn: 

  • 131 participants
  • 47% female, 53% male, 1% non-binary
  • 64% African American, 9% Caucasian, 6% Hispanic, 1.5% Native American, 18% no information

InLivian Residential Facilities: 

  • 69 participants
  • Average age: 67
  • 58% female, 42% male
  • 88% African American, 7% Caucasian, 4% other
  • Average number of sessions: 4.31 out of 8
  • Average improvement in blood sugar levels: 10.76 points
  • Decrease in BMI: Not achieved; gain of 0.15
  • Smokers: 32.35%
  • Average improvement in blood pressure: Systolic: 15.65/Diastolic: 9.57
  • Individuals wanting help finding a primary care physician/new physician: 33.82%
  • Individuals without a primary care physician: 5.88%
The Sara and Tim Belk Community Kitchen.

Teaching Healthy Cooking to Teens

The Sanger and YMCA Cooking Camp teaches teens basic culinary skills (cutting, dicing, slicing, baking, sautéing), how to shop for healthy and affordable foods, how to use leftover ingredients to reduce waste, and how eating healthy early in life can improve long-term health and quality of life. Four YMCA locations offer the camp (up from 2 in 2021), serving as many as 60 teens across the sites. 

Twice a month for 3 months, a YMCA shuttle transports campers to the Sarah & Tim Belk Community Kitchen at Sanger. On the last day of camp, teams from each location are challenged to prepare a recipe in 40 minutes and compete for the “cooking camp champ” trophy.

Creating a Food Pantry to Address Food Insecurity

We approached Ascension Lutheran Church, which is across the street from Sanger’s Kenilworth location, in 2021 to see if they had a small space to accommodate a food pantry for patients who lack access to nutritious food. They didn’t just have a small space – they had an entire house to dedicate to meet that need.

Sanger partnered with the church, Loaves & Fishes and the Jan & Ed Brown Pulmonary Medicine Advancement Fund to renovate the house and create a full-service food pantry. The location opened its doors in October 2021 and is now open 6 hours per week. 

Households served since opening: 1,034

Individuals served since opening: 2,590

Hands-Only CPR Education

Our hands-only CPR education program teaches community members, staff and patients how to provide lifesaving intervention for cardiac arrest. We have brought this training to local schools, law enforcement offices, churches, public parks and our own offices. 

The classes also offer guidance on how to manage this emergency situation alone or with others around, and encourage participants to find out where their closest AEDs are. We offer education to all ages and emphasize that anyone can save a person’s life with the appropriate chest compressions. To date, we have successfully taught 281 individuals these lifesaving skills. 

2022 Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Outcomes and Innovation Report