DECATUR, Ill. — The Take Care, Now campaign launched by Bayer is focused on the interconnection between health, nutritious food and healthcare services.
“Almost two out of three counties in America have a healthcare desert and rural communities represent a disproportion number of these areas,” said Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer U.S.
“Care deserts are where there is a scarcity of readily having access to health, nutrition and health care,” explained Jacqueline Applegate, president of Bayer Crop Science North America. “We’ll be reminding farmers to take time to take care of themselves and when they’re healthy to be able to take care of their families and the community.”
“More than 34 million Americans, including 9 million children experience food insecurity and rural communities are often hit the hardest,” Guth said during an event held at the Northeast Community Fund Food Bank.
“As a life science company, Bayer is uniquely positioned to help address the care desert challenge,” Guth stressed. “A large number of our 20,000 employees across the U.S. live and work in rural America, we do business in rural America and we’re committed to rural America.”
“We learned as we focused on rural communities that farmers are very connected to their communities and they are always looking for a way to help their neighbors to really make a difference,” Applegate said.
“We also learned that farmers forget to think about themselves but they can only be at their best to help others if they are healthy,” Applegate stated.
To help address these challenges, Bayer and Kroger are providing support for the AgriSafe Network that is working to address health disparities in rural America. “AgriSafe Nurse Scholars receive advanced training to manage and care for the unique health care needs of rural Americans,” Guth said.
“We are sponsoring 50 Nurse Scholars through the AgriSafe Network that will positively impact about 500,000 people a year,” he said.
“This program provides nurses with advanced training in agricultural and occupational health which will ultimately bring qualified healthcare professionals to more rural communities across the country,” said Ryan Davis, senior lead access manager for Kroger Health.
“These care teams will be specially trained in frontline care, ensuring earlier and correct diagnosis as well as treatment for agricultural-related injuries or diseases,” Davis stated. “This program is just another example of how Kroger Health continues to work to expand healthcare options for more people across the country.”
“Everything we do is a partnership and without partnerships and working with people across the country, it doesn’t happen,” said Charlotte Halverson, clinical director for AgriSafe Network.
“Your support is directly impacting so many people through the 50 more nurses working in communities, making connections and understanding the exposures people in agriculture have,” Halverson noted.
“A lot of nurses said they didn’t learn anything about this in school,” the clinical director said. “Our nursing programs have so much on their agenda just to meet the state mandates they don’t have time for specifics.”
“As part of our partnership with Feeding America, which is the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S., we’re pledging to donate more than 1 million meals,” Guth said. “With this year’s donation, Bayer has donated more than 7 million meals since the inception of our partnership with Feeding America.”
“We’re serving over 34 million people as of 2021 and that number will likely be higher as of 2022,” said Charles Blazevich, senior manager, corporate partnerships for Feeding America.
“That’s one in 10 individuals in your community, so you probably know someone who has used our services or has needed food at some point of time,” Blazevich stated.
“For the communities we serve, about 80% of them are rural communities and 10 to 12% of the individuals in those regions need food assistance,” he said. “We do this through a network of 200 food banks, 17 state associations and over 60,000 agencies.”
Feeding America has worked with partners for more than 35 years to help provide food for those in need. “Both Kroger and Bayer have been partners for more than a decade,” Blazevich said.
For more information about the Take Care, Now campaign, go to www.bayer.com/en/us/takecarenow.