Ascension St. Joseph has invested in the community by working with PRISM Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to support the COVID-19 Emergency Meals Program, UpStart Kitchen entrepreneurs, and the development of a youth culinary training program. These community investments provide immediate relief from food insecurity, related to an increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic while strengthening the future economic stability of some of the most underserved communities in Milwaukee.
In Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood, UpStart Kitchen provides local food entrepreneurs access to an affordable, fully equipped commercial kitchen and business resources to grow or start their own food business.
Through this collaboration with UpStart Kitchen, diabetic patients who are enrolled in Ascension Wisconsin’s Under 8 Program, have been provided healthy prepared meals. The 12-week, community-based diabetes education program is designed to help lower elevated A1c in high-risk African American patients with diabetes. Education is focused on improving diabetes care with better blood sugar control, lifestyle modifications, medication adherence and a healthy diet. Participants of the program are able to take home fresh meals from UpStart Kitchen after each class.
Participant Shelly Greer’s A1c fell from 10 to 6.3. “Being with other people who have diabetes is the best part of the program,” she said.“You can feel like you are alone in this thing and it can be so overwhelming.”
The Under 8 program focuses on relationship building between health care providers, participants and peers in a trusting environment.
Through these investments and efforts to improve health equity, Ascension St Joseph is building on its commitment to deliver ‘health beyond health care’ to its patients and the community.