The UF Health Urban Health Alliance, or UHA, opened the social services hub and headquarters in the Professional Office Building in June 2021. The program has been active for more than two years after launching in late 2019. It has experienced tremendous growth and accomplishments within the past year alone, and is continuously working toward eliminating health disparities.
UHA is a comprehensive resource and community health network that brings organizations and services together to help improve the health and wellness of those considered to be the most vulnerable populations in the community. UHA is built on four pillars: service, education, research and policy.
The Food Pharmacy was created to support UF Health Total Care Clinic – Jacksonville patients who have chronic conditions and food insecurity, while also providing nutrition classes to make a long-term impact on their lives. Nutrition classes consist of education and food demonstrations. Topics included eating healthy on a budget, understanding food labels and educating on chronic diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension.
This past year, the Food Pharmacy served approximately 240 patients each month. Francis Paige, a Total Care Clinic and Food Pharmacy patient, expressed her gratitude for the program.
“I have a better understanding of what I should be eating while living with diabetes,” Paige said. “Since I began receiving food from the pharmacy, my cholesterol has also improved.”
The Food Pharmacy reported a 75% improvement in hemoglobin A1C for diabetic patients and a 36% improvement in blood pressure for patients with hypertension. The program continues to welcome new patients and support the UHA’s goal of improving the health of vulnerable patients.
Another program under the UHA service pillar is the Social Services Hub. The hub opened in June 2021, and collaborates with other organizations to assist patients who need support locating housing, finding jobs and much more. On-site staff ensure each patient is connected with what they need. Organizations working with the Hub, such as Yoga 4 Change, provide an opportunity for patients to engage with each other and offer support and encouragement. Other organizations, such as Family Foundation, provide educational resources to support patient needs.