NYC Health + Hospitals has expanded their Lifestyle Medicine Program to Kings County in Brooklyn. This is the third of six new sites to make the program available citywide, following the recent launch of the program in Woodhull in Brooklyn and in the Bronx.
The Lifestyle Medicine Program’s team supports patients in making evidence-based lifestyle changes, including a healthy plant-based diet, increased physical activity, improved sleep habits, stress reduction, avoidance of substance use, and stronger social connections. Adults living with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or health concerns related to excess weight are eligible to enroll. The program can accommodate 48 new patients each month, and the care team at each site includes physicians, a dietitian and an exercise trainer.
“I am thrilled to celebrate the launch of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County,” said Michelle McMacken, MD, FACP, DipABLM, Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Healthy lifestyle behaviors are foundational to preventing and treating common chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The Lifestyle Medicine Program’s talented interdisciplinary team will provide patients with the guidance they need to adopt healthier habits, while also helping to address food insecurity and other key barriers to lifestyle change. Kudos to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County for offering this invaluable resource to patients and the community.”
The Lifestyle Medicine’s nine-month program provides every patient with the following resources:
- Six to nine one-on-one counseling sessions. Patients will have two to three visits each with a physician, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife, a dietitian, and a health coach to develop and implement a personalized care plan.
- 14 weekly group classes. Topics include reading nutrition labels, grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and sleep and stress management techniques.
- Eight weekly exercise classes. Patients will work with an exercise trainer and take home a resistance band for strength training.
- Six free, monthly deliveries of seasonal fresh produce. Patients will work with dietitians to learn about incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet across culinary traditions and skill levels. Delicious and healthy recipes developed by the team’s dietitians accompany each produce box.
- Health Bucks. Patients will have access to Health Bucks, which are $2 coupons that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at NYC farmers markets. Five of the seven program sites have farmers’ markets on their campus.
- Culinary skills videos. Patients can learn cooking skills through short videos developed by the Lifestyle Medicine team in partnership with an online culinary school, Rouxbe. The videos will feature healthy cooking across various culinary traditions, including Caribbean, South American, Central American, and South Asian, and will be translated into Spanish, Mandarin, Bengali, and Haitian Creole.
- A plant-based cookbook. Cookbooks on plant-based eating for type 2 diabetes are available as well.
- Support accessing benefits. Community health workers will help eligible patients access SNAP benefits and nutrition resources.
“This is a program with a difference.” said Paulette James, a patient of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. “It’s getting to know you and know exactly what’s bothering you – how you live, your activities, how you eat. It’s beautiful. The time they take to get to know you has blown me away.”
Each site will partner with local community-based organization(s) to explore ways to support community members in nutrition and other aspects of lifestyle change. The Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County will collaborate with United Community Centers in Brooklyn.
Once all of the sites are launched, the program will be able to accommodate nearly 4,000 patients per year. With support from the City of New York, NYC Health + Hospitals will commit $3 million this year and approximately $5 million annually in future years to fund staffing and programmatic services for the Lifestyle Medicine Programs.
Formal evaluations of the Bellevue pilot program revealed a successful implementation process, extremely high demand for services (more than 850 patients requested to enroll in the first few months), and positive health outcomes including clinically and statistically significant improvements in weight, glycemic control, and diastolic blood pressure.