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Coalition Equity Launches Community Fridge at the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia

Funded by the American Cancer Society, funds will support the program delivery, oversight, and evaluation of the Ujamaa Cafe community fridge at the Abramson Cancer Center located at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Philadelphia, P.A. (June 20, 2023) – The Coalition for Food and Health Equity cut the ribbon on its sixth Ujamaa Cafe™ community refrigerator at its official launch event held at the Abramson Cancer Center on June 13th, 2023. “This is a momentous occasion: launching the Ujamaa Cafe refrigerator at the Abramson Cancer Center tells cancer patients that their whole health is a central priority for Abramson Cancer Center. CFHE is humbled to partner with Abramson Cancer Center through American Cancer Society’s generous support to advance nutritional health and equity among cancer patients and their families” shares Dr. Leeja Carter, CEO & Founder, the Coalition for Food and Health Equity.

In attendance were representatives from the American Cancer Society, Robert Russell Acting CEO of the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Amy Schwartz Director of PPMC’s Cancer Service Line, CFHE staff members, Dr. Meredith Doherty UPENN School of Social Policy and Practice faculty person and collaborating researcher, Abramson Cancer Center nurses and physicians, and supporters. “The American Cancer Society is both excited and grateful to collaborate on providing cancer patients access to free nutritious food through the Ujamaa Cafe community refrigerator at the Abramson Cancer Center. We are committed to health equity and reducing barriers for cancer patients so they can achieve the best outcomes possible” says Diana Fox, Senior Director, Cancer Center Partnerships.

“We are thrilled to partner with CFHE to provide our cancer patients with healthy food options, particularly those who experience food insecurity. This partnership highlights our commitment to improving health equity and addressing health disparities in our community” states Amy Schwartz, Director of PPMC’s Cancer Service Line. Ujamaa Cafe™ at Abramson will advance Abramson's efforts to provide patients undergoing cancer treatment and their families with healthy food options whilst reducing food insecurity among the patient population. Statistics from multiple studies highlight the significance of this endeavor. Notably, Zafar et al found that approximately 53% of patients with cancer who required copayment assistance had to reduce spending on basics such as food and clothing; further in a 2018 study, Charkhchi et al revealed a food insecurity prevalence of 28% among individuals in the United States diagnosed with cancer. Recognizing the significance of these findings, CFHE and the School of Social Policy and Practice are partnering on research exploring the impact of the Ujamaa Cafe fridge program on cancer patients' well-being throughout the grant period.

With the launch at Abramson, CFHE has community fridges in Paterson, Passaic, Newark and Jersey City NJ and now Philadelphia.

About the Coalition for Food and Health Equity
Coalition for Food and Health Equity's work is centered on building sustainable, community-grown cultures of health. We stand firmly in the mission that racial health disparity results from historical and structurally oppressive systems designed to maintain cultures of disease, poverty, and violence impacting communities of color the most. Therefore we place hunger within the larger context of racial health equity, working to end hunger, improve health, and advance economic equity within historically marginalized communities. Our vision is building resilient communities of health through integrated health and nutrition services rooted in a politic of racial liberation and economic justice.

To learn more about the Coalition for Food and Health Equity, our programs and ways to support visit:

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