The centers are designed to be a pharmacy and get patients healthy food options.By Chris Hoffman

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The pandemic has shown the need for better access to food for many of our neighbors.

A new center at the Allegheny Health Network’s Forbes Hospital is trying to connect patients with healthy food they otherwise might not get.

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Hospital President Dr. Mark Rubino said the foundation for good health starts with good nutrition.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“We have so many patients with chronic diseases or maybe limited income that really don’t get the foods that they need,” Dr. Rubino said.

Over the course of a year and more than $100,000 later, AHN opened up its fifth Healthy Food Center. The centers are designed to be a pharmacy and get patients healthy food options.

“Some people, they don’t know the right thing to do, believe it or not. You think you could be eating healthy and you’re not,” Dr. Rubino said.

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“It’s amazing to see how many people don’t realize what’s in food,” diet tech Suzanne Mitchell said.

She said the center offers foods such as lean meats or low sodium products. Patients will receive a referral to get a box with about two to three days worth of food. They can visit the clinic once every 30 days for six months.

“It’s great to see patients come in. They start working with us, we see improvements in the A1C, their blood pressure goes down. We see them lose weight. We see them gain weight if needed,” Mitchell said.

According to Dr. Rubino, this comes at no cost to the patients. The clinic is open every day.

“We’re supporting the staff as well as the space. The food is tied into the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank,” Dr. Rubino.

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Other hospitals with the clinic include Jefferson Hospital, AGH, West Penn and St. Vincent Hospital.