2017 Caring for Communities Winner

October 12, 2017

Metropolitan Detroit area has one of the highest rates of obesity in the United States, and Wayne County, in which Detroit is located, ranks last in the country in health outcomes. The Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center aims to change that.


A federally qualified health center, CHASS provides access to health care to southwest Detroit's primarily Latino population, serving more than 11,000 individuals of all ages in 2016. Says Richard Bryce, DO, the Center's Chief Medical Officer, "Health care is not just giving people medicine. We want to give patients new ways to improve their own health."


CHASS strives to provide excellent, affordable health care to populations with limited resources through innovative programs. One such strategy is its "Fresh Prescription" program, built upon the fundamental belief that good nutrition can be as effective in controlling disease as pharmacology. 


Through the program, providers "prescribe" fresh fruits and vegetables to patients, which can be filled at the on-site farmer's market. This helps patients make the connection between what they eat and how they feel--and directly aligns with osteopathic medicine's whole-person approach to health. And it works - the program saw a statistically significant difference in Hemoglobin A1C, according to data Dr. Bryce states is coming out in the Preventive Medicine Reports journal this fall.


"As a community health center, maintaining that community is very important to us. There are numerous people who allow this program to continue, from the farmers, to the patients and staff. It's truly a group effort and a win-win on all sides," says Dr. Bryce.


William Strampel, Dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, praises the program for "its creativity, its simplicity, its humanity and its importance in helping to address chronic health challenges among people greatly in need of care."


The AOF created this award to recognize clinics serving disadvantaged communities and salute  DOs whose extraordinary humanitarian efforts demonstrate the highest standard of compassion. The AOF is proud to award the Community Health and Social Services Center with its 2017 Caring for Communities Award.

Richard Bryce, DO
Community Health and Social Services Center