Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Healthy Store Initiative

by Leah Butz
Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Healthy Store Initiative
111 East 210th Street
Secondary Address
Jack D. Weiler Hospital - 1825 Eastchester Rd. Bronx, NY
Montefiore Wakefield - 600 East 233 rd Street Bronx, NY
Montefiore Mount Vernon - 12 North 7 th Avenue Mt. Vernon, NY
Montefiore New Rochelle - 16 Guion Pl. New Rochelle, NY
Phone Number
(718) 920-7947
Director, Manager or CEO
Steven M. Safyer, MD
Mission Statement
To heal, to teach, to discover and to advance the health of the communities we serve. Montefiore builds upon our rich history of medical innovation and community service to improve the lives of those in our care. Our mission is exemplified in our exceptional, compassionate care and dedication to improve the well-being of those we serve.
Community members served per month
Approximately 50-75 engaged in educational activities; unknown how many visit partner bodegas
Volunteers per month
3 per year
Number of staff/employees
Annual Budget
Year Started
Major Funders
Bronx REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) CHAMPS Montefiore Health System
Latest Projects
Bodega Walks: In an effort to increase consumer demand of healthy food and beverages in partner bodegas, we are collaborating with Montefiore Ambulatory care clinics to host bodega walks with patients and staff to local bodegas. On the walks, which are approximately 1 mile long, participants learn of the healthy changes the stores have made since participating in the program, and once they arrive, are given a healthy item, such as fruit salad or green salad to try. In this way, bodega walk participants are introduced to the healthy items available in the stores, and become aware of this healthy food source in their neighborhood. MHSI pays for the food for the event, and in addition to helping consumers change their perceptions about what is available in local stores, we are also driving business to the store.
Interesting Fact
We observed positive changes in the percentage of stores carrying the following items: low-sodium canned beans (25% of stores carried them at baseline compared to 100% at the follow-up assessment), canned fruit in 100% juice/light syrup (50% to 88%), fresh ready-to- eat fruits like fresh sliced pineapple or fruit salad (0% to 25%), nuts/seeds (63% to 88%), fresh produce available at check-out (63% to 88%), dried fruit (38% to 63%), and cold bottled water sold at eye-level in coolers (50% to 100%). No change was observed in availability of low-calorie beverages.
Areas Served
Core Programs
Through our Healthy Store Initiative (MHSI), Montefiore’s Office of Community and Population Health is working to increase community access to healthy foods and beverages by partnering with local bodegas and community based organizations to create sustainable food retail change. The strategy for this work is three-fold. We are working with bodega owners and staff, as well as suppliers, to increase the supply and promotion of healthy foods and beverages in their stores, while also engaging local community groups in efforts to increase demand of these products.

After choosing the target areas, our team mapped the community resources available and started visiting stores regularly to engage owners and discuss collaboration. Out of 23 target stores, 9 were very responsive and willing and able to implement healthy store goals. Outreach continues on a periodic basis with less responsive stores. In addition, the MHSI team started attending regional WIC vendor trainings to introduce the program to bodega owners, encouraging them to sign up to receive technical assistance and resources.

Stores that are actively engaged receive bi-monthly visits from MHSI staff who help introduce new ideas for signage and promotion, pilot healthier alternatives, and assist with product display and placement. The visits also allow the team to foster relationships with management and build the trust necessary to work towards shared goals.

- Organizing taste testing events where community members can sample low sugar, high fiber granola bars, as well as diet/lower calorie beverages and sparkling water.
- Assisting community groups in hosting the Proclamation events honoring bodegas for their work in bettering the community.
- Advocating for the store to create a “snack pack” or “healthy meal combo” named after the local group.
- Working specifically local youth groups to make “Rethink Your Drink” boards that they can then use to educate peers, younger children, and adults in their community about the sugar content of popular beverages found in bodegas.
Major Issues
Community Advocacy, Food Literacy, Healthcare Services, Nutrition Education (Adult & Pediatric)
Hours of Operation
9am-5pm, evenings and weekends as needed
Frequently used hashtags
#bronx #community #bodegas #montefiore #healthy#health #communityhealth #not62 #MHSI #RethinkYourDrink
  • Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Healthy Store Initiative
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