A few times a week, Katie Macomber, medical home care coordinator at Amherst Pediatrics, writes a “prescription” for patients and their families.
Macomber is not a doctor, and the prescription is not for medicine. Rather, it is a form from the Amherst Survival Center, designed to look like a prescription, that sends families to the center to pick up groceries, diapers or fresh produce from the food pantry, eat a free hot lunch or dinner, or get help applying for food stamps.
Amherst Pediatrics asks patients on a screening form if they have experienced food insecurity and has posters around the office telling patients to talk to a doctor if they struggled to afford food in the past year.
“Socioeconomics are such a huge part of overall health,” Macomber said. “You can’t focus on medical health if there are other issues impacting that family’s ability to care for their medical health.