Nutrition in the Community

The Open Hand team of registered dietitians is dedicated to providing quality nutrition services throughout the greater Atlanta area.  We provide medical nutrition therapy to help improve the health and quality of life of our clients, while reaching beyond just our client base to help prevent chronic disease in the entire Atlanta  community. Comprehensive Nutrition Care is practiced in many settings to optimize the nutritional status of metro Atlanta residents. You may find an Open Hand dietitian at any of the following community locations:

  • Community Health Clinics
  • Senior Multi-Purpose Centers and Adult Day Care Centers
  • Special Needs Housing
  • Health Fairs
  • Client Homes

Community Health Clinics
Open Hand dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy to individuals with HIV/AIDS at Crawford Long, St. Joe’s Mercy Mobile and AID Atlanta.  Our services are available to all referred clients at these locations regardless of their participation in our home-delivered meals program to ensure that everyone within our reach has the opportunity to improve or maintain their health through positive nutrition  practices.

Senior Multi-Purpose and Adult Day Care Centers
Because the risk of chronic disease increases with age, older adults are a key population for the the Department of Nutrition Services  supports. We teach monthly nutrition classes in senior centers throughout metro Atlanta. Nutrition education sessons cover general nutrition topics as well as guidelines for chronic disease prevention and control.

Senior centers also provide an opportunity for implementing research programs. We are currently  implementing a program in four Multipurpose Centers aimed at lowering blood pressure and controlling weight. This program,  called “DASH Toward Better Health” includes instruction on the evidence-based Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, in addition to goal setting and other  techniques that support positive health behavior change. We have included our complete Comprehensive Nutrition Care model by providing a subset of the participants with  four months of our Good Measure Meals™ in addition to educational classes. This program was made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation.

Special Needs Housing
Open Hand dietitians also conduct nutrition education classes at Edgewood and Jerusalem House for individuals with HIV/AIDS. These classes cover general nutrition, healthy cooking techniques, and ways to use diet to control HIV/AIDS symptoms and drug side effects. All residents are welcome to attend the nutrition classes, and many residents also receive our home-delivered meals.

Health Fairs
Our team attends various health fairs in the area, including SPARC (Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration) events. SPARC events are targeted towards older adults, and utilize health professionals from throughout the metro Atlanta area. Open Hand is proud to provide nutrition education and support at many of these events.

Client Homes
Our home-delivered meals are supported with our “nutrition bites,” which provide daily “tidbits” of  information about nutrient contributions of foods in each meal.  Nutrition Facts are also included with the meals to increase client awareness of the nutritional value of their meals, and to serve as an education tool that guides daily decisions about  meal planning.

All Open Hand clients receive a nutrition screening upon enrollment to determine whether the individual could benefit from a home visit by one of our dietitians. This allows the dietitian to assess the client’s living situation, including access to healthy foods, and their ability to prepare meals -- reducings the need for the client to depend on transportation to a clinic.