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Implementation Of Universal Screening For Food Insecurity At A Level One Pediatric Trauma Center: A Novel Initiative
Matthew Krock, Edward Barksdale, Jr.
University Hospitals Rainbow babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH

The goals of our initiative are to implement universal screening for food insecurity using the Hunger Vital Sign1 and to offer immediate relief to families requiring aid. Compared with their peers, food insecure children have worse health, mental and behavioral health, and academic outcomes. COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity in our region, especially in families with children. Through a partnership with the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, we obtained regular supplies of healthy shelf-stable food packages, and created a recording and tracking process. Our team received education on the administration and documentation of the Hunger Vital Sign as well as intervention guidelines. We screened 70 households with children (17 years or younger) seen in our Pediatric Trauma Center for injuries related to community/peer violence for food insecurity from October 2019-May 2021. 37 (52.9%) households endorsed food insecurity at least once during our ongoing interactions. Each food insecure family was eligible to receive 1 food package for each child once per week. 99 packages have been distributed since January 2021. These protocols can be utilized for measuring food insecurity, providing immediate intervention, evaluation, and advocacy in a variety of settings and populations. Through our work, we hope to alleviate food insecurity and dispel its associated stigma. In the future, we plan to increase our fidelity to the “Screen & Intervene” toolkit2 developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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