Thanks to a $10,590 grant from the HMSA Foundation, local nonprofit Malama Family Recovery Center recently launched a Pilot Nutritional Therapy Program. Malama provides caring, holistic substance abuse treatment to women and children so families can live safe, independent and healthy lives. It is the only women-specific addiction treatment center on Maui and the only place on the island where babies and young children can live with their mothers while they get help.
Jenifer Daruty, a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Nutritional Coach, is leading the project. She is working with a select number of Malama clients one-on-one and teaching group nutrition and cooking classes, as well as leading group grocery store tours. “We know that nutritional therapy helps newly recovering addicts regain health and improve focus in recovery,” said Daruty. “After coming to understand each woman’s symptoms and lifestyle, I have been able to recommend specific dietary changes and nutritional supplements to support their physical and mental health now and in the long-term.”
Local health food store Alive and Well has contributed to the project by giving clients a discount on dietary supplements. “We are deeply grateful to the HMSA Foundation and Alive and Well for supporting this initiative,” said Dr. Lisa Ponichtera, Malama Clinical Director. “This targeted approach is making a huge difference. Women in the program are making significant lifestyle changes and report that they feel much better physically and find it easier to focus and get motivated.”
The project is also improving clients’ children’s health. “Mothers at Malama are truly realizing the impacts of what they feed their children and how they think about food in general,” said Frances Duberstein, Malama Development Coordinator.
The HMSA Foundation’s funding priorities include endeavors that aim to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life; initiatives that seek to strengthen our culture, policies, and practices for a healthier Hawaii; and projects that contribute to building ecosystems of health within our communities. For more information about the Foundation, visit hmsafoundation.org.