Renown Health Food Pantry Is Nourishing Patients In Need With Healthy Food Options Available At No Cost, Adapting To Pandemic To Continue This Important Program
Patients who qualify for a “Food is Medicine Prescription” can receive a bag of food for themselves and each member of their family every week through this free assistance program. Renown Health is proud to offer supplementary food to patients in need through its food pantry. Established nearly a year ago, patients who identify as food- insecure are working with Renown’s community health workers to receive fresh produce, canned goods, non-perishable items and other pantry staples to help nourish themselves and their family at no cost. Thanks to the support of the Northern Nevada Food Bank and other local community partners, Renown’s food pantry is helping meet the food needs of homeless and low-income individuals in our community. “Patients’ responses to our food pantry has been amazing,” said Renown community health worker Seth Rubin. “They are extremely grateful when we give them a bag of food. Their eyes light up knowing that they will have enough food to eat for the week without having to worry about finding a source of food for their family.” To make this assistance program possible, Renown’s food pantry receives food deliveries every Wednesday from the Northern Nevada Food Bank. The Food Bank meets Renown’s team of community health workers, along with churches and other medical organizations, with a semi- truck loaded with a variety of foods. After receiving a pallet with their food order, Renown’s community health team collects an assortment of fresh produce, donated from local grocery stores and other community organizations. After that, the food is unloaded into Renown’s food pantry located inside The Healthcare Center. Renown’s community health workers serve patients in the hospital and emergency rooms, as well as individuals who receive care in The Healthcare Center, which provides affordable access to care for anyone in our community. After expressing a need for food assistance, patients are offered a Food is Medicine Prescription. Through this prescription, they can go to a participating food pantry once a week to receive one bag of food per person in their household. PANTRY CONTINUES AMIDST PANDEMIC Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Renown’s community health workers have worked remotely, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching out to patients who benefit from this program. “We’re currently coordinating outpatient deliveries to our patients,” said Rubin. “Every Tuesday and Thursday, we deliver a bag of food to the patient’s house. It has been a great way to continue providing healthy food to our patients while continuing to provide safe care to the patients we see in person at our clinic. Despite our operations being a little different, our patients’ feelings of gratitude and relief remains the same. This is extremely rewarding work and we are proud to continue serving our community throughout these challenging times.” Renown’s food pantry is currently available to patients of The Healthcare Center. Renown is working to get more refrigeration, shelving and staffing to expand the service to more Renown Medical Group patients. Renown patients who qualify for a Food is Medicine Prescription, yet aren’t patients of The Healthcare Center, are encouraged to visit these participating food pantries once a week. The Healthcare Center accepts all Medicaid plans in addition to other healthcare plans. To learn more, visit Renown’s website. For b-roll on this story, please click here. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org
Seeking Individuals Who Have Recovered From COVID-19 To Donate Plasma To Help Patients Fighting The Infection
New study, led by physician researchers from Renown Health and University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine seeks to understand how the immune system responds to COVID-19 with goal of developing a new treatment. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may now be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating their plasma. Those who have recovered from the infection may have COVID-19 antibodies in their blood. These antibodies provided one way for their immune systems to fight the virus when they were sick, so their blood may be used to help others fight off the disease through convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is a component of blood from recovered patients that may contain precious COVID-19 antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. In this study, we will be collecting plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and investigating its efficacy in helping treat other patients with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for the disease and there is information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19. Renown Health and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) are leading a study locally to better understand how the body’s immune system responds to the virus, how it presents in northern Nevada and ultimately, aid in developing a new treatment for COVID-19. “Renown and UNR Med are at the forefront of conducting essential research to increase the health and safety of our community,” said Sara Healy, MD, MPH, principal investigator of the study and a pediatric infectious disease physician at Renown Children’s Hospital and UNR Med. “So little is known about effectively treating COVID-19 and we are venturing into new territory. This important study is instrumental in helping us understand the immune systems of people who were affected by COVID-19, and with their help, getting us one step closer to finding a treatment for the disease that has significantly impacted our nation and our community.” “COVID-19 survivors are in a unique and exciting position to be a part of something much bigger than the virus,” said Mark Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM, associate investigator of the study and Associate Dean for Clinical Research at UNR Med. “As a participant of this study, not only are you helping us to better understand the disease and the chronic health affects it has long term, but it’s a way to help those suffering from the disease to fight it and hopefully recover. We encourage participation in this important study and invaluable contributions to advancing medicine and our knowledge of COVID-19.” This community-wide study led by physician researchers from Renown Health and UNR Med is a collaborative effort with Vitalant, county and state health districts, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Carson Tahoe Health and the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, along with the many care providers in our area. People aged 18-60 in general good health who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating convalescent plasma as part of this study. There are 332 people, just in Washoe County (as of 5/1/20) who have recovered from COVID-19 and have immune systems that may now be producing antibodies to protect them from becoming infected again with coronavirus. Donated plasma is needed right now, for this clinical trial to determine definitively if this treatment works. Participating in this research study will also make it easier to donate plasma to the Mayo Clinic convalescent plasma program that Renown is a part of in hopes to find a treatment for COVID-19. There is no cost to participate in this study and participation is voluntary. An individual’s decision to participate will not affect their current or future relations with their health care provider(s), health district, or the community. Those who decide to participate are free to withdraw at any time. Confirmed COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the virus and are interested in participating in the study are invited to contact the project coordinators at the Renown Research Office at (775) 982-3646, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org. About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.