The purpose this program is to restore the health of firefighters utilizing food as medicine with a long-term goal of providing healthy meal options beyond the firehouse, through a meal planning service. We plan to work closely with each department to offer this service to members that are placed off-duty due to health concerns.
A Harvard study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that heart disease kills more on-duty firefighters than any other cause. Harvard researcher Stefanos N. Kales, MD, MPH, and team analyzed data on all firefighter deaths between 1994 and 2004, except those linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The researchers found that, compared with when they perform nonemergency duties:
- Firefighters are 12 to 136 times more likely to die of heart disease when putting out a fire.
- Firefighters are 3 to 14 times more likely to die of heart disease while responding to an alarm.
- Firefighters are 2 to 10.5 times more likely to die of heart disease while returning from an alarm.
- Firefighters are 3 to 7 times more likely to die of heart disease during physical training.
Published in the March 22, 2007, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The program will focus on education and accountability while providing health promoting food. According to the World Health Organization, 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes—and 40% of cancer— could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and other lifestyle interventions.
A 4-week Comprehensive Program with meals provided
Initial Evaluation: A member is identified as high risk and willingly volunteers to join the program. The member will sign a consent to participate in the program and provide a release for the physician to discuss medical care/treatment with private physician. The physician (Dr. Johnson) will review medical history including past medical/surgical history, medications, current nutrition plan and labs during a telehealth visit. In addition, the member’s health goals will be discussed, and they will be provided with an overview of the program. The member will complete initial lab work including lipid and chemistry panel. If needed, the member’s primary care physician/ treating physician will be contacted to review the recommended treatment plan. Following the initial evaluation, the member will receive a remote monitoring package which will deliver daily glucose/blood pressure information to the physician.
- Initial blood pressure and pulse
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Glucometer *if needed
- Lipid & Chemistry Panel
Weekly telehealth evaluation: Weekly review of medications, food intake and blood sugar/blood pressure/weight log with physician and firefighter. During this weekly telehealth appointment, we will discuss challenges and goals for upcoming week. Recommendations for physical activity, nutrition will be discussed. During the weekly visit, we will review meals prepared by Food on the Stove for preferred taste and/or allergies. If medications need to be adjusted, Dr. Johnson will coordinate with firefighter’s primary care provider. (Please note: Member may be contacted prior to weekly appointment if data from the remote monitoring is concerning.)
Discharge Evaluation: After completing 30 days of Food on the Stove prepared meals, the member will repeat initial data points followed by an appointment with Physician (Dr. Johnson). During the discharge appointment, Dr. Johnson will review lab results and provide recommendations for the member about transitioning to maintenance. The member can continue with remote patient monitoring and provide monitoring data after the 30 days to private primary care doctor.
All visits will be via HIPPA compliant telehealth video or phone. Dr. Johnson will volunteer medical services provided to Food on the Stove.
While we know that not every medical condition can be quickly resolved with a simple diet change,
our goal is to expand this program to multiple departments work closely with them to offer this as a service for members who are placed off-duty for health reasons. It is our belief that our program will allow members to be placed back to full duty faster, while also giving them the tools they need to sustain a healthier lifestyle. The program will also allow departments to “back-fill” positions less frequently and for shorter durations and potentially lower healthcare premiums.
ABOUT DR. MICHELE JOHNSON
Dr. Michele Johnson is a certified diplomat of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine which focuses on the prevention and reversal of chronic disease in a scientific evidence-based manner. She received her Bachelor of Science degree and Medical degree from Howard University in Washington DC where she completed a six year combined BS/MD program. She completed her residency and chief residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey followed by fellowship training in Interventional Spine at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also holds board certifications in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Pain Management and Obesity Medicine. She has served as a medical physician treating the Members of the District of Columbia Fire/ EMS and Police Department. Dr. Michele Johnson is the founder of More Food Less Medicine and strives to help people with chronic diseases decrease medication and improve their health by using simple foods.