Henry Ford’s “Henry’s Groceries for Health” Program Receives the 2020 Gage Award for Population Health from America’s Essential Hospitals

August 19, 2020

DETROIT – America’s Essential Hospitals, an association of more than 300 hospitals committed to improving the health of people living with vulnerable health conditions, today named Henry Ford’s “Henry’s Groceries for Health” program as the recipient of its 2020 Gage Award for Population Health.


“Henry’s Groceries for Health” is a partnership between Henry Ford Health System and Gleaners Community Food Bank, which brings free grocery delivery to the doors of patients with chronic health conditions. 


The program is credited with reducing emergency room visits by 42 percent, and hospitalizations by a remarkable 56 percent in the 276 patients who were recruited for the pilot year of the program in 2017 and participated for a full 12 months


“I’m delighted and humbled to accept this Gage Award on behalf of Henry Ford Health System and Gleaners Community Food Bank,” said Susan Hawkins, FACHE, senior vice president of population health at Henry Ford Health System. “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see increasing rates of food insecurity in the community and among our patients, and, as we anticipate a potential surge in the fall, programs like Henry’s Groceries for Health will become even more critical.”


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in six people in Michigan, some 700,000 people, are affected by food insecurity and do not get the food they need. Some experts believe that figure may have doubled since April and may impact as many as 20 percent of U.S. households.


Food insecurity is directly tied to poor health outcomes among those with chronic illnesses including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, and often leads to preventable emergency room visits and hospitalizations.


Participants in Henry’s Groceries for Health receive enough food for 14 nutritionally balanced meals every two weeks, as well as recipes, food preparation instruction and ongoing health monitoring. 


Launched in 2017, the program is one of many sponsored by Henry Ford to address social determinants of health – the economic and social conditions that adversely affect the health of certain groups or individuals and their access to healthcare. 


It’s the sort of work that honors Larry Gage, the award’s namesake and founder of the association. The award recognizes creative and successful programs that improve patient care and serve community needs. 

“Our hospitals’ work to improve quality and reach outside their walls to build population health has never been more important than now, as COVID-19 amplifies disparities in the communities they serve,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “Our Gage Award recipients are true leaders in both.”


Gerald Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners, said the partnership addresses the community’s needs from multiple angles, something often missing.


“We believe this will benefit the individual, the health care provider and the community,” said Gerald Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners. “Importantly we will prove food access leads to better health and lower health care costs, which leads to sustainable funding to help solve this persistent problem. We must move toward a deeper understanding of community impact. With a more holistic view of food security, we can substantially reduce hunger, business, government, health care, education and the entire community can work together to meet our community’s needs for food and nutrition.


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About Henry Ford Health System

Under the leadership of President and CEO Wright L. Lassiter, III, Henry Ford Health System is a $6 billion integrated health system comprised of six hospitals, a health plan, and 250+ sites including medical centers, walk-in and urgent care clinics, pharmacy, eye care facilities and other healthcare retail. Established in 1915 by auto industry pioneer Henry Ford, the health system now has 32,000 employees and remains home to the 1,900-member Henry Ford Medical Group, one of the nation’s oldest physician groups. An additional 2,200 physicians are also affiliated with the health system through the Henry Ford Physician Network. An active participant in medical education and training, the health system has trained nearly 40% of physicians currently practicing in the state and also provides education and training for other health professionals including nurses, pharmacists, radiology and respiratory technicians.


About America's Essential Hospitals

America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care.


Media Contacts: 

Henry Ford: Kim North Shine / knorth1@hfhs.org / 313-549-4995 

America’s Essential Hospitals: Carl Graziano / cgraziano@essentialhospitals.org / 202.585.0102


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