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WMC Outreach Program Combines Healthy And Happy This Holiday Season

Mary Decker, Community Engagement Manager for Orange County for Bon Secours Charity Health System.
Mary Decker, Community Engagement Manager for Orange County for Bon Secours Charity Health System. Photo Credit: Westchester Medical Center

While meals during the holiday offer much needed social time with friends and family, they're often unhealthy affairs -- filled with delicious, yet non-nutritious offerings.

Imagine a team of chefs and nutritionists coming into your house of worship to share healthier versions of hallowed dishes and strategies to prevent diabetes or heart disease. That’s the mission of Faith and Flavor, a new community health-outreach initiative of Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network in Valhalla.

“In my family’s Southern Baptist tradition, I grew up seeing leaders preach salvation from the pulpit and then, oftentimes, after the service, the church would serve food that, while delicious, was usually unhealthy,” said Mecca Santana, senior vice president of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. “In sharing our vision for something different with local faith leaders, we articulated how we could partner with them to keep their congregants healthy – because they are also our patients and workforce.”

As a component of the larger Food for Life campaign at WMCHealth, the Faith and Flavor initiative partners with leaders of churches, mosques and synagogues to showcase healthy eating for disease prevention, tapping into these close-knit communities to help save the lives they enrich.

Continue reading how this unique outreach is touching lives across Westchester via Advancing Care in the Hudson Valley.