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Research Project

Understanding Barriers and Facilitators Towards Participating in a Food is Medicine Intervention

Principal Investigator
Lofton, Saria
Start Date
End Date
Funding Source
The State University of New York - SUNY Downstate Med Center


Food is Medicine (FIM) is an interventions program that is often administered through primary care settings including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and are an approach to reduce barriers to accessing healthy foods while reinforcing dietary and disease related knowledge. FIM interventions can include provider prescriptions for healthful food and plant-based meals tailored to specific chronic diseases. Clinical outcomes data and research alike have shown FIM intervention hold promise for improving dietary quality and cardiometabolic risk factors such as blood pressure in Black adults that reside in low-income settings. However, these interventions have not been rigorously tested or evaluated. FIM intervention research is predominately driven by small pilot studies that often lack control groups, long-term follow up, and unknown sustainability. There is also a lack of provider participation in the reported pilot studies as it relates to their perception of administering, adapting, efficacy and sustainability of FIM intervention with different primary care practice settings. Moreover, current FIM research lacks complimentary qualitative data from participants on intervention design and tailoring for specific chronic conditions or demographics, and participant perspective of how FIM interventions influence dietary behavior. For these reasons, we will conduct a qualitative study with patients and providers to assess and identify barriers and facilitators of implementing a FIM intervention in primary care and key features that need to be included to best support an approach that is responsive to the cultural and environmental needs of Black women with stage 1 hypertension. Our working hypothesis is that perspectives from participants and providers familiar with FIM interventions can provide insight and strategies critical to the development of an efficacious sustainable FIM intervention responsive to the needs of Black women with stage 1 hypertension. Data gleaned from the qualitative analysis will inform an R34 application to assess feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a FIM intervention for Black women with stage 1 hypertension. Our long-term goal is to improve blood pressure among Black women with stage 1 hypertension through supporting access to and consumption of high-quality plant-based foods.