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Partnership with Pediatric Clinics Supports Food Security

By Evalyn Carbrey, Regional Coordinator — SNAP-Ed

Cecilia DiCaprio, a University of Minnesota Extension SNAP-Ed educator, is teaching nutrition classes to low-income families at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) as part of a larger effort to better serve Minnesota children and their families who are experiencing food insecurity.

Last December, the Minnesota Academy of Pediatrics Foundation received a SNAP-Ed Community Partnership grant. Through this grant, SNAP-Ed staff members are working with four community pediatric clinics, including HCMC, in the Twin Cities metro area that serve a large number of SNAP or SNAP-eligible patients. The purpose of the partnership is to support policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes in food insecurity identification and referrals at the clinics so that the changes are sustainable. The participating clinics have committed to screening families for food security during regular pediatric visits and referring families who are experiencing food insecurity to SNAP-Ed classes and other local food and nutrition programs so their children can gain access to and eat healthier foods on a limited budget.

And this is where Cecilia comes in. Cecilia has been working with HCMC to teach Cooking Matters® Minnesota classes to low-income families. The first class of six families was so well received by HCMC patients, staff and clinicians that HCMC has now partnered with Extension to provide two more Cooking Matters® classes in Spanish for additional families. Cecilia also will soon start more Cooking Matters® classes at pediatric clinics in Maple Grove and St. Louis Park.

For more information about SNAP-Ed community partners, visit

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