"A Healthier You"

Photos By Revere Photography for Direct Relief

How One Clinic Improves Patient Wellness 

Free Clinic of Meridian has established the "A Healthier You" program to help patients with multiple co-morbidities -- serious, concurrent medical issues, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking – to have better health outcomes.

Participants of A Healthier You receive hands-on steps to become more active, learn how to make nutritious food choices, and achieve greater health literacy. Events offered include group-shopping, coach-led exercise, and educational appointments.

A participant in A Healthier You shops as part of a monthly event, at which participants get a stipend and help with picking out healthy and cost-effective groceries.

A Healthier You Meridian Program Coordinator, Barbara Zeller, assists a program participant at the monthly healthy shopping trip. Meridian, Mississippi.

If a patient lacks access to a car or public transportation, Zeller uses a combination of gasoline vouchers, rideshare apps, and taxis to get patients to their appointments, so that they’ll more successfully manage their chronic conditions.

A Healthier You has approximately 120 people – all of them patients at the Free Clinic of Meridian – who participate in the group’s activities to varying degrees.

Free Clinic of Meridian staff member Desiree Wilson checks a patient’s vital signs during a scheduled appointment.

In addition to access to reduced-cost gym fees, participants can take home exercise equipment such as bands, balls, yoga mats, and workout DVDs – a popular option for people who might be self-conscious about exercising in public.

With support from Teva Pharmaceuticals through the Enhancing Access2Care program and Volunteers in Medicine, Direct Relief is providing $75,000 to the Free Clinic of Meridian to fund the A Healthier You program.  In total, eight grantees have received $450,000 through the Access2Care program since 2017.