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Clinic to Kitchen


Guest Blog: Lynn Keenan, MSW, PhD. Manager of Outreach and Patient Navigation at North Olympic Healthcare Network (NOHN) shares her experience collaborating with WSU Extension, First Step Family Support Center, and Molina Healthcare on a creative video series, Clinic to Kitchen.

Collaboration in Action

North Olympic Healthcare Network (NOHN) is in the midst of a pilot project to assess patient's social determinants of health in hopes of intervening early in the course of their care with us. That pilot assessment project utilizes the Hunger Vital Sign as an initial "trigger" for us to take note and reach out to patients who are food insecure. Karlena Brailey, from the WSU Extension, has been advocating with healthcare and human service providers around the County to utilize the Hunger Vital Sign in our work with patients and clients.

Simultaneously, as a Community Health Center, NOHN was preparing to celebrate National Community Health Center Week, an annual opportunity to educate the community about the work of our Community Health Center. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, NOHN was faced with a challenge to try new ways to tell the Community Health Center story.

Over the summer, Karlena met with me and NOHN’s Community Resource Navigator, Ari Flores-Cisneros, and Nita Lynn (First Step Family Support Center) to discuss food insecurity issues during the pandemic.

That conversation sowed the seed that then became our Clinic to Kitchen series. Karlena provided us with 30 copies of Good and Cheap cookbooks. Additionally,

First Step Family Support Center, and all they're doing virtually during the pandemic, made us think we could do anything using the web! They seriously did inspire us to go virtual.


Clinic to Kitchen

With the alchemy that was our mandate during National Community Health Center Week, our Social Determinants of Health Assessment Pilot, and First Step's virtual modeling and fabulous commercial kitchen they made available, we came up with this idea to do a series of cooking shows featuring NOHN providers, using the recipes from Good and Cheap. Nita and her staff said "it would be great if all of our clients/patients could have the book and watch the videos for help creating the foods".


That's when I called Carlos Mejia Rodriguez, at Molina Healthcare, who was willing to provide hundreds of copies of Good and Cheap. His words: "Yes, that would be very good for my families"!! Both NOHN and First Step received hundreds of cookbooks, which First Step’s army of home visitors and outreach staff distributed to hundreds of families from Forks to Sequim. Ten percent of the books were in Spanish!

Then, the work began. Do you know how shy medical providers are?! Shy but committed to improving the health and lives of our patients. Eventually, I was able to amass a team of chefs who were willing to put down their stethoscopes, pick up a spatula, and dish with me on health while we cooked from the Good and Cheap cookbook.

Our first video is now online and you can see what our diabetes educator, Tricia Gormley, RN, is cooking up for vital diabetes management.

These are tough times, especially for those who are currently furloughed, unemployed, or only working part time. An important role of the videos is to teach viewers some valuable cooking-on-a-budget skills with the use of the coolest cookbook around. Not only does cooking at home save money, but lots of research shows that when we cook at home we eat significantly more healthful foods.

The Good and Cheap cookbook is available free from NOHN and from First Step Family Support Center to anyone who needs this resource.

Stay Tuned for More

Keep watch for episodes with our colleagues:

  • Dr. Kristine Johnson, Manager of our Behavioral Health Department (comfort food and living through a pandemic)

  • Dr. Greg Royack, Linda Wall, & Ty Myers, dentist and hygienists from our Dental Clinic (tooth-friendly snacks and beverages)

  • A Spanish language episode where Ari Flores-Cisneros hosts two of our Medical Residents, Dr. Janelle Lee and Dr. Michael Gonzales (in an epic pizza-making episode),

  • OB services provider, Dr. Michael Wauters (eating well through pregnancy) and

  • The supervisor of our Medical Assistants Alicen Egnew, CMA (who whips up batch foods for easier food prep throughout the work week).


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