Parents who try to get kids to eat their vegetables have a new ally in Flint following the launch of a unique approach to keeping kids healthy in Mid-Michigan.
Located at the Flint Farmers’ Market, the Hurley Children’s Center seeks to promote a culture of health — not just by providing state-of-the-art of pediatric care, but also by helping families add fresh, local food to their tables.
“This new center brings important partners and resources together in one place to help kids and families lead healthier lives,” said Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. “With a wide range of medical and support services, easy access to nutritious foods, and close connections with health educators, the center can serve as a model for others — not only in Michigan, but across the country and around the world.”
The center was created by Hurley Children’s Hospital in partnership with Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, which manages the Flint Farmers’ Market, and the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Human Medicine, whose students will have opportunities to complete a residency at the center.
The $2 million project was supported, in part, with $1 million in grants from Mott.
Occupying more than 10,000 square feet on the market’s second floor, the center offers both general and specialty pediatric care, including cardiology, neurology and genetics. Additional medical and social services are available just steps away through Hurley’s partnerships with MSU and other programs located in the city’s growing health and wellness district. The center’s bright colors and kid-focused design help to create a fun and welcoming environment for the area’s youngest residents and their families.
One innovative approach the center will employ is to have doctors write “prescriptions” for more healthy fruits and vegetables. Families will be able to go downstairs to get those items at the Farmers’ Market, where they also will be able to use Double Up Food Bucks to increase their purchasing power. Double Up provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries with a one-to-one match to purchase healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
“This center is a game-changer,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who directs Hurley’s pediatric residency program. “Being co-located in a farmers’ market is a ridiculously awesome idea.”