PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A nonprofit organization in the Delaware Valley that uses food as medicine has created a research center where data collected could one day give everyone fighting serious illnesses access to therapeutic nutrition.
The Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, commonly known as MANNA, has launched the MANNA Institute, the first research institute dedicated to studying the impact of nutrition and health.
“We had research that was published in 2015. It was the first of its kind, it was groundbreaking research that showed that the MANNA model – 21 meals a week – in conjunction with nutrition education, has better health outcomes and saves healthcare costs,” said MANNA’s CEO Sue Daugherty.
After seeing that no other research had come out since, MANNA decided to take matters into their own hands.
“And so we just decided that ‘you know what, we are going to do it.’ We are going to launch this institute and we are going to make sure that we are going to get the data and evidence to better serve the current clients that we are doing and to make sure we can serve more clients in the future,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty says out of the 1,300 MANNA clients, only about 300 are being reimbursed for nutritional costs through insurance.
She adds insurance companies need data to increase reimbursement numbers and hopefully, MANNA Institute’s future findings will make a difference.
“We are hoping the information that comes out of the institute will have national impact. We are looking for national policy change,” she said.