HCA Virginia - April 19, 2019

The leadership team at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, joined by key members of the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank.

After several weeks of working with SRMC I've noticed how committed all the employees are to the patients that walk through their doors. From the volunteers who greet you, all the way up the to the Directors the culture that has been created is one that fosters that close knit community feel.

I’ve also come to learn in the last few weeks that their reach far exceeds the doors of the hospital. SRMC reaches out to our community in so many ways. From teaming up with organizations such as Spotsylvania County Schools by sharing their artwork, to hosting the Spotsylvania Farmers Market on Wednesday's in the Spring and Summer. It’s clear that SRMC is committed to helping the patients that walk through their doors as well as creating positive relationships by reaching farther out into our community.

Part of that commitment is also seen through their Health Drive Team.

“The purpose of the health drive team all ties back to the mission of the hospital: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. We are a group of nurses specifically trained to go out into the community, and even into business, with the equipment to do screenings; such as for your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure - with both our business partners and the community.” - Shanna Kahn

“As the “Health Drive Team (HDT) we understand that it’s scary for people to get their “numbers,” Shanna says, referring to cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure numbers. “So,” she continues, “we try to not only explain the process and their numbers to them, but also pair that information with small steps you can take to better your overall health. This informative service is at no cost to the individual and only takes about 15 minutes to complete.”

Where you might see the Health Drive Team (HDT)

Local businesses

“Through business partnerships that have been arranged through the hospital, the HDT provides the opportunity for employers to host wellness screenings at their facility. No specific information is shared with employers, but the HDT does create an overall picture of the health of employees. Then if, for example, a large number of their workforce suffers from high blood pressure, the HDT can help provide additional nutrition and wellness information throughout the year, and even arrange for physician speakers if there is an interest.

At the hospital

Every Wednesday during the summer months you can swing buy the hospital for the Spotsylvania Regional Farmers Market. This fun event includes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables for sale by area farmers, as well as activities for the kids. Additionally, the HDT has a table at this event where the nurses provide health screenings to the public, again free of charge.

In the fall Spotsylvania Reginal invites the community to come for their drive thorough flu shot. Individuals can drive right up to the front of the hospital not even needing to get out of their car.

In the community

You’ll often see the HDT out and about at local events in our community. You may have seen them at the Spotsylvania Towne Center where they’ve teamed up with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s office for their “National Night Out”. They often bring their skeleton “Lucy” as a way to connect and have fun with the kids.

“It’s about forming those positive relationships. We want kids to recognize that health care providers can be positive and nurturing and fun; that going to the doctor is not about being scared of getting a shot. It’s so important to us to reinforce that positive relationship.” –Shanna Kahn

While the Health Drive Team has such a presence in our community, SRMC as a whole is still playing a vital role. They’ve raised funds and organized teams to walk in community events such as the March of Dimes. They've collected diapers and school supplies for families in need. And in doing so they’ve learned about issues that a lot of people in our community our facing. A major one being…

Food insecurity

Jael Cooper, Marketing Director at Spotsylvania Regional Medical explains:

“Food Insecurity has a direct effect on both the immediate and long term health and well-being of our community members. As members of the Planning District 16, we learned of the staggering number of individuals who became food insecure during the Federal Shutdown. Additionally, through our participation with a variety of community organizations, we became aware that in our district we have a higher number of households with children participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Program than the national rate of 53%.”

“As health professionals,” Cooper continued, “we not only want to help you feel better when you’re sick, we want to provide you with the tools to help you stay healthy. For many of our area residents, it became clear to the SRMC community that one of the best tools we could provide our community with was, simply, food. With this in mind we have teamed up with the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank who connects directly with a wide variety of area pantries. By partnering with this power house of food distribution, we knew the donations SRMC raised would absolutely get to the members of our community who needed it the most, regardless of where they are seeking food assistance in our community.”

Having limited access to adequate food and nutrition, whether it be due to cost or other circumstances is a huge issue right here in our community. And there is big stereotype that surrounds the issue. LaToya Brown from the food bank encourages “us” as a community to really take the time to look at hunger from a different point of view.

“They’re your neighbors, they go to school with your kids and sometimes it’s just a temporary situation. It’s not chronic, something could have happened. A parent may have died, someone may have had to move into the household. There are all types of situations that can affect how families are able to provide.” -LaToya Brown

The last week in February department leadership toured the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank to learn more about what they do for our community and about the food insecurity needs of our area. The directors brought back the information to their departments and the “Food Drive Challenge” was launched on March 1. Through this fun, bracket style competition the departments have raised 1,089 items for donation in just the first week alone. The departments with the most donations move through each week for the ultimate Food Drive winner to be announced at the end of the month. Although this specific challenge ends on March 29, throughout the year SRMC will continue to partner with the food bank.