Stories

Hunger treated as important vital sign at healthcare facility

Image courtesy of UMass Memorial Health Care

Dr. Megan Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, begins every patient exam by checking their vital signs: heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. And then, just as importantly, she checks their Hunger Vital Sign by asking two simple questions to find out if the child’s family has had enough food.

In cases where Dr. Sandel or her fellow clinicians, such as Dr. Deborah Frank who is pictured above, learn that one of their young patients is at risk for food insecurity or hunger, specialists join the healthcare team to treat this situation by offering emergency food access, helping with SNAP and WIC applications, and offering other resources that help patients and their families stay healthy, not hungry.

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