The Partnership for a Healthier America has named MaineHealth one of five finalists for the PHA Partner of the Year Award. This award is presented to a partner that is working to ensure the health of our nation’s youth, making healthier choices more affordable and accessible to families and children across the country. Finalists were announced May 11 during the 2017 Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C., and the winner will be announced at the 2017 PHA Fit to Celebrate Gala in November.

In 2012, MaineHealth signed onto the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Hospital Healthier Food Initiative, making a commitment to increase access to healthier foods and beverages. Through this work, MaineHealth member and affiliate hospitals have engaged in a variety of healthy efforts, such as increasing the number of healthy offerings on both patient and cafeteria menus, removing unhealthy foods and beverages from within five feet of cash register stations, and procuring healthier beverages.

In addition, many hospitals labeled all foods in the cafeteria with calories and other nutritional information, and offered wellness meals with specific food and nutrient profiles.

All participating MaineHealth hospitals also implement Let’s Go!, a nationally-recognized childhood obesity prevention program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. Let’s Go! uses its positive 5-2-1-0 message and evidence-based strategies to increase opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places where children and families live, learn, work and play.

To be recognized as a PHA Partner of the Year, the partner must demonstrate how it is executing key strategies beyond the PHA commitment, including focusing on those populations disproportionately affected by obesity; doing well while doing good; using an innovative approach to address childhood obesity; or creating a ripple effect within their industry.

The five finalists for the PHA Partner of the Year Award include: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Learning Care Group, MaineHealth, National Recreation and Park Association, and Oakwood University.