BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Oct 12, 2012) - Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) has been presented with the 2012 Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Pulmonary Care from the city of Boston, MA. HCWH was honored for its work to foster healthier food and workplace environments in Boston area hospitals. The presentation was made on October 12 by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who was joined by Dr. Paula Johnson, chair of the board of the Boston Public Health Commission, to present awards to HCWH and two other recipients. Now in its third year, the award raises awareness about best practices for improving the delivery of primary care services in healthcare, community-based, and workplace settings.
"Some of Boston's greatest assets are our world-renowned health care institutions. Part of being a leader means highlighting the great work that goes on in our city as a model for others to see," Mayor Menino said. "I'm constantly impressed by the innovative work that organizations of all sizes are able to accomplish, and this year's winners champion that spirit of ingenuity. These awards strive to show that prevention is primary care, whether it's in the doctor's office, the workplace, or the community."
Health Care Without Harm was honored for its Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), that focuses in part on improving the food and beverage environment within hospitals, places that touch hundreds of thousands of lives in Boston every year. All major teaching hospitals in the city joined a Healthy Beverage Learning Network in 2010 that was co-led by Health Care Without Harm. Just two years later, all ten of these hospitals have made progress toward increasing consumption of healthier beverages by hospital staff, patients, and visitors. The initiative is now being scaled nationwide, as hundreds of hospitals and food service contractors have begun to view food production and distribution through the lens of preventative medicine by support sustainable agriculture in the communities that it serves.
"In order to reverse the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in America, we need the healthcare sector to lead by example and create healthy food environments for patients and employees," stated Gary Cohen, president of Health Care Without Harm. "Additionally, health care has an important economic engine and can leverage its enormous purchasing power to support sustainable agriculture in the communities that it serves. We need to move beyond treating sick people and demonstrate the path to helping people stay healthy."
Along with two other NGOs and 11 major U.S. health care systems, HCWH established HHI to help speed the progress of the health care sector toward sustainability. HHI recently introduced a series of Challenges for hospitals to undertake, and provided guidance and measurement systems to achieve the challenges. One of those challenges is Healthier Food, which asks hospitals to engage in a variety of initiatives to develop sustainable, healthy food programs within their facilities. Since the Challenge program was launched in April of this year, 150 hospitals have signed up for the Healthier Food challenge.
Today's event, held at the historic Boston Public Library in Copley Square, featured Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby as keynote speaker. It was sponsored by the Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School's Center for Primary Care, and Harvard University School of Public Health.
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. More than 400 hospitals have signed the HCWH Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge, committing to the development of healthy and sustainable food service operations in their facilities. For more information on HCWH, see www.noharm.org.