Michigan's Henry Ford Health System hopes to boost physician and hospital referrals and the Kroger supermarket chain aims to sell more natural and organic foods.
When a Kroger's human resources manager reached out to Henry Ford Health System about aligning the grocery store chain with a healthcare provider, the metaphorical light bulb appeared above Rose Glenn's head.
The Henry Ford Chief Marketing Officer had recently seen a presentation by a South Dakota health system's collaboration with a local a grocery store chain.
The two events sparked an idea, which turned into a partnership that will bring health system registered dietitians to four Kroger's stores in Southeast Michigan, and healthful recipes to the supermarket's other 122 locations in the state.
While no revenue will be shared nor payments made in the deal, both organizations stand to benefit from the LiveWell Wednesdays program, which launched June 1.
Henry Ford hopes to boost physician and hospital referrals, and Kroger is aiming to see more of its Simple Truth-branded natural and organic foods when people purchases ingredients for the recipes to be distributed.
"We are so excited to be working with a wonderful community partner like Kroger," said Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, in a media release.
Wisdom is Henry Ford's senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer.
"We view wellness as a lifelong journey—a daily commitment to making the right choices when it comes to things like healthy eating. Having a presence inside every Kroger in the state of Michigan is a great way to reach the people in the communities we serve."
According to Glenn, the dieticians will be on hand to help shoppers understand food labeling and educate them on making healthy substitutions.
They will also be available to counsel shoppers on cooking for people with food allergies, on current food trends, and on safe food storage.
Kroger has agreed to place posters with a Henry Ford LiveWell weekly recipe at the front doors of all of its stores in Michigan. The first recipe will be a fruit pizza.
"Health systems that want to impact health outside of four walls of hospital and physician offices have to broaden care beyond illness and injury and contribute to people's health," Glenn said. "If we are going to wait for people to come to us, we are not doing all we can."