Primary Funding Source: Novo Nordisk and Harris County
Category: Social Determinants of Health
Issue or Challenge: The Bite of HOPE culinary program is a upstream model designed to change the food environment in Houston. It is the first low cost culinary institute, accredited by the Texas Workforce Commission, focusing on integrating the medical and culinary resources in the community to change perceptions about food and change the way Houston eats. The goal with this program is to educate the different communities on the benefits of healthy eating, create next generation of healthy cooking chefs and food businesses, and integrate health care and eating in seamless transition.
Description of Innovation: HOPE Clinic believes that it can change the way Houston eats by empowering food stakeholders and community members with the knowledge food has over our health and bodies along with the power and responsibility business have with their patrons. HOPE Clinic’s Bite of HOPE program has the mission to improve communities through knowledge of healthy food and healthy culinary practices. Since its conception, this program has:1) Filled an existing gap in the elementary school curriculum which does not incorporate health food education. The program pioneered a food and nutrition afterschool education program with Alief ISD to empower children to make healthy choices throughout their lives, foster food literacy and teach culinary skills. 2) worked closely with over 180 school counselors and nurses providing them nutrition education and cooking demonstrations with the goal of providing them with a more comprehensive and complex approach to nutrition education and change taking into account the psychological and social dimensions, which are more appropriate to address the growing prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases in Houston.3) During COVID-19, Bite of HOPE established a Youtube channel (A Bite of HOPE) as a platform for home bound families to share and discover healthy recipes and delivered food supplies needed to prepare the recipes. It also partnered with United Health care to reach home bound Seniors.4) Implemented a successful small food business leadership program with to transform the way Houston eats, buy helping restaurant owners become healthy food outlets and champions of healthy practices.
Impact or Result: Bite of HOPE is working on a evaluation strategy that would measure changes in the menu of small business, as well as changes in eating practices of Alief ISD families. The program has been successful in helping recruiting small food business to embrace healthy menu changes.
Replicating this Innovation: Bite of HOPE is currently being partially replicated in Philadelphia.
Andrea Caracostis, MD, MPH, CEO, Asian American Health Coalition dba HOPE Clinic