RWJBarnabas Health has launched our Wellness on Wheels (WOW) mobile education center, which includes a hydroponic greenhouse and cooking school, to help reduce health disparities in vulnerable communities and ultimately help to create health equity. As part of our Social Impact and Community Investment (SICI) practice, and a continuation of the system’s efforts to nourish minds, bodies and communities, the WOW mobile unit will provide a unique opportunity to educate families beyond traditional methods to help connect food, behavior and health.
Our thanks to the local officials, students and teachers who joined executives from RWJBarnabas Health and the Puerto Rican Action Board in New Brunswick, N.J. for the WOW launch!
The WOW van was designed to address the SICI pillar of economic instability, reducing food insecurity and increasing health literacy. Through a strategic partnership with EcoMedia and MedPro Wellness, the WOW van will help RWJBarnabas Health tackle these issues as well as the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases within and beyond its service areas. By engaging audiences to choose healthy foods and cooking methods through urban farming techniques, the goal of the WOW tour is to empower individuals to make informed, healthier choices and provide them access to healthier but convenient food options by offering connections to farmers’ markets, food bank sites, pantries and soup kitchens.
Starting this month, the WOW tour is connecting with the community. The 35-foot vehicle, complete with a demonstration hydroponic and earth box greenhouse as well as a full kitchen, is custom-designed to work with schools, senior homes, houses of worship, health care providers and community-based organizations to reach families and communities and emphasize the value of good nutrition. The WOW tour will bring health and wellness education directly to community-based sites in vulnerable communities and food deserts with limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. In addition to providing education, WOW will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables grown from RWJBarnabas Health greenhouses, local gardens and urban farmers directly in the community.
Learn more about RWJBarnabas Health’s Social Impact and Community Investment Practice at www.rwjbh.org/socialimpact