Community Pharmacies for Food is Medicine (CP4FIM):

Design and Evaluation of a Produce Prescription Program in Community Pharmacies

Overview

This project, Community Pharmacies for Food is Medicine (CP4FIM): Design and Evaluation of a Produce Prescription Program in Community Pharmacies, will design, implement, and evaluate a scalable Food is Medicine (FIM) program that leverages the community pharmacy setting as a key access-to-care point for patients. Community pharmacy is a unique healthcare setting, as individuals often visit pharmacies more frequently than they see their physicians or other healthcare providers. As such, this setting presents an opportunity to expand access to nutritional care for patients through screening and referral activities for FIM programming. Pharmacies routinely engage in vital screening and referral services, including monitoring blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and administering vaccinations, among other patient care services.

However, the community pharmacy setting has remained a largely underutilized and understudied platform for advancing FIM. Historically, FIM interventions have been designed and delivered through hospitals, medical clinics, or community non-profit organizations. The next phase of FIM efforts involves expanding screening and referral for such programs to community pharmacies, including those affiliated or co-located with grocery stores, which are common in various locations across the U.S.

This project will leverage the potential of community pharmacies to advance FIM, utilizing them for their high level of engagement and community trust, and generate valuable evidence on the feasibility and impact of FIM interventions in the community pharmacy setting.

Project Aims

Aim 1

To design and implement screening, referral, and delivery of a produce prescription (PRx) program in the community pharmacy setting, in collaboration with pharmacy partners, among 400 U.S. adults with cardiometabolic risk factors and food and/or nutrition insecurity.

Aim 2

To evaluate the impact of the program on nutrition-relevant outcomes, including (a) food security, (b) nutrition security, and (c) diet quality as assessed by a brief dietary screener questionnaire.

Aim 3

To explore the impact of the program on health outcomes, including (a) HbA1c and CGM-based time-in-range among people with diabetes, if applicable (b) blood pressure among people with hypertension, and (c) body mass index (BMI) among people with obesity.

Aim 4

To perform a process evaluation of the program including reach, effectiveness, adoption or dose, implementation, and maintenance, from both community pharmacy and participant perspectives.

Aim 5

To explore sustainability models with the aim to engage payer partners to support the intervention directly, but at minimum, to explore payer interest in covering food prescriptions for their beneficiaries broadly.

Project Details

Principal investigator

Dariush Mozaffarian

Director, Food is Medicine Institute, Distinguished Professor, Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Tufts Team

Lizbeth Moreno Loeza

Postdoctoral Scholar, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Caroline Owens

Research Assistant Professor, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Julia Reedy Sharib

Manager of Research and Communications, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Tufts Team, Cont.

Ashton Valdovinos

Research and Communications Assistant, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Lu Wang

Research Assistant Professor, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Fang Fang Zhang

The Neely Family Professor and Chair of the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology and Data Science, Food is Medicine Institute, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Funder

NACDS Foundation

Timeline

2024 – 2025