Helen Keller once wrote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Thanks to the strong bonds Backus has formed with its community partners, the hospital has been able to develop and sustain programs that have improved the health of our communities. Thanks to our partnerships we’ve continue to address regional health concerns like diabetes, childhood obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Teaming Up with Local Businesses to Improve Health
In 2016, ShopRite supermarket in Norwich joined the more than two dozen restaurants and other food establishments in taking part in Backus’ “Just Ask” healthy eating program. Under the program, restaurants offer customers made-to-order, heart healthy food.
With the “Just Ask” program in the Norwich store, Backus specialists are working with ShopRite to provide information, cooking demonstrations, screenings, grocery shopping tours and health conscious seminars for customers.
Fighting Childhood Obesity
2016 marked the sixth year of Backus’ RX for Health Program in which the hospital teams up with local physicians and farmers markets to provide children and families with free fresh fruit and vegetables
The program has helped hundreds of families improve their diets by giving them access to local farmers markets, where they receive vouchers to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, farm fresh eggs or whole grain bread. Families are referred to the program by participating providers who identify children in their care who may be at risk of being overweight due to lack of access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
Turning Up the HEAT on Eating Healthy
In collaboration with Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA), Backus continued to offer the Healthy Eating Advocate Training program (HEAT) in 2016. HEAT aims to instruct volunteers in the basic principles of healthy eating, from understanding the elementary mechanics of nutrition to meal planning and grocery shopping.
Upon completing the seven-week program, the healthy eating advocates are qualified to spread their knowledge throughout the community— equipped with accurate nutrition information and materials. Nearly 90 people have received HEAT training since the program began as a pilot in 2013.