Grant to Support Creation of Community Health Initiative 

Members of Healthy Grinnell from left to right: Samantha Maly-Schmidt, Grinnell College Student; Steve Langerud, The Mayflower; Dr. Jennifer Paisley, GRMC Internal Medicine; Melissa Dunham, Grinnell Heritage Farms; Bill Menner, GRMC Board Chair; Laurel Tuggle-Lacina, Grinnell Local Foods Connection; Jennifer Havens, GRMC; and Chad Nath, GRMC.

Grant to Support Creation of Community Health Initiative 

A $50,000 Iowa Healthcare Collaborative grant will allow a partnership of Grinnell-based organizations to launch a community-wide health initiative – and the effort will begin with two projects aimed at making food more available.

The Healthy Grinnell initiative was conceived by a group of local leaders, including Mayflower Community Executive Director Steve Langerud, UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) board members Al Maly, Bill Menner and Dave Stoakes, and GRMC Internal Medicine Physician Jennifer Paisley.

“We are very excited to receive this grant and be able to kick off important work in our community that will benefit the health and well-being of those who live here,” said Langerud.  The Mayflower will act as the fiscal agent for the grant. 

The focus of the Healthy Grinnell initiative is to bring partners together to discuss and address factors that impact the health and well-being of local residents outside of a clinic setting. Those social factors include food access, income, housing, transportation, education and the environment and Langerud said it’s clear there are a number of organizations in Grinnell already working on them individually.

An initial project will provide food to individuals with chronic illness who are determined by a physician to be hungry. Working with Dr. Paisley, Healthy Grinnellwill address the increasing rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity through improved access to food, particularly locally-sourced produce, through use of a “food prescription” program.  

“Every day I see patients where food access is an issue. I’m looking forward to working with Healthy Grinnell to identify individuals who need support and then tracking the improvements we see in their health and well-being when they are able to access healthy foods through the food prescription program,” says Dr. Paisley. 

Meanwhile, The Mayflower Community will use part of the grant to launch its “Open Dining” program, which will make meals available to residents at all times, not at predetermined times.

“Open dining is a resident-centered program that fits seamlessly into this grant. Residents will work with Mayflower dietary professionals and health care providers to address health and well-being with real food first,” says Langerud. 

While the $50,000 grant will launch the Healthy Grinnell, it will be up to the collection of community organizations to build upon it.  An initial meeting will be held later this month and will include a wide array of entities.    

Individuals interested in learning more or offering assistance, are asked to contact Steve Langerud at The Mayflower Community (641-236-6151) [slangerud@mayflowerhomes.com].

Members of Healthy Grinnell from left to right: Samantha Maly-Schmidt, Grinnell College Student; Steve Langerud, The Mayflower; Dr. Jennifer Paisley, GRMC Internal Medicine; Melissa Dunham, Grinnell Heritage Farms; Bill Menner, GRMC Board Chair; Laurel Tuggle-Lacina, Grinnell Local Foods Connection; Jennifer Havens, GRMC; and Chad Nath, GRMC.

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