On the city’s East side, bordering Hough and Woodland Hills, the Fairfax neighborhood is one of the areas the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Creating Healthy Communities program and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission have identified as a food desert, an impoverished area with limited access to a grocery store. Sixty-six percent of residents are living below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census numbers, and some live up to 2 miles from a grocery store.
To meet that nutritional need, University Hospitals’ Otis Moss Jr. Health Center early next year will launch a food pharmacy. A new concept to the Cleveland area, the food pharmacy will provide patients with healthy food to try to combat systemic health problems.
For example, a nutritionist will give those with diabetes or hypertension prescriptions for a week’s worth of healthy food. The patient will then take the prescription to the food pharmacy upstairs and be given free food.