Wheeler secures $15,000 grant for nutrition program

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Wheeler Clinic, Inc., headquartered in Plainville, recently earned a $15,000 grant from the A. W. Stanley Discretionary Fund, distributed by the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain as part of the foundation’s second round of funding this year. The grants were approved by the board of directors in the Community Response category.

The grant that Wheeler Clinic, Inc. received will help fund a new Nutrition Wellness program at the Greater New Britain location.

“They are starting this new program at their Health and Wellness center that has been primarily used for mental health, and they are now realizing how many of the clients could really benefit from a primary care doctor and nutritional counselling,” said Kaylah Smith, program associate and assistant director of development at CFGNB. “It will benefit the people who are already there for services, and get them some more wrap-around services.”

The program will address the nutritional and wellness needs of patients with, or at risk of, diabetes and hypertension, chronic conditions which are prevalent in the community. It will bridge gaps in patient education and help patients self-manage chronic health conditions.

Heidi Joseph, RN, MSN, and vice president of Wheeler’s health center operations, said the program will promote healthy nutrition choices among vulnerable populations in New Britain, including individuals with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and those who are at high risk for chronic illnesses including diabetes and heart disease.

“By promoting strong eating habits, we are promoting overall health and wellness in the community,” said Joseph in a press release.

A certified nutritionist will be a key member of the Wheeler Family Health and Wellness center’s care team and will enhance patients’ knowledge on how to access healthy foods in the community, how to prepare culturally familiar foods in healthier ways, and how to incorporate healthy activities into every member of the family’s daily routine.

The program will include community outreach and education on nutrition and wellness, nutritional consultation and support for patients, and weekly nutritional classes and activities.

CFGNB services nonprofits in Plainville, Southington, Berlin and New Britain.

“For us, it’s really important to be serving all of the communities we represent,” said Smith. “We really take that seriously, and really want to be known as a resource in towns like Plainville. We have some really great partnerships in our four towns, and they continue to get better every year.”