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Albany Med Today

Residents Receive National Award for Developing Farmers Market to Address Childhood Obesity

Two Albany Medical College pediatric physician residents will receive a national child advocacy award for an innovative program they developed to address childhood obesity.

Sonal Malhotra, MD, and Jenny Torre, MD, established a farmers market in Albany’s South End to provide locally grown produce and information about healthy food choices to urban families. They will be honored in October with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Anne E. Dyson Child Advocacy Award, which celebrates the outstanding efforts of pediatricians-in-training working in their communities to improve the health of children.

The physicians designed the program, called CHOPPED (Childhood Obesity Prevention Program), in partnership with local community-based organizations A Village and Grand Street Community Arts as well as local farmers and area residents. The project was part of Albany Med’s Child Advocacy Resident Education (CARE) initiative. CARE is a volunteer organization led by Albany Med Pediatric Hospitalist Sara Horstmann, MD, that encourages medical residents to get involved in the community.
“Despite community efforts, a lack of high-quality, local farmers markets is an obstacle to accessing healthy foods that can help address childhood obesity in our area,” Dr. Malhotra said. “CHOPPED helps get children better access to fruits and vegetables as well as education on a healthy lifestyle.”

In addition to locally grown produce, CHOPPED provides free information on creating a healthy diet, food preparation, exercise and youth empowerment.

“Getting recognized like this is such an honor,” Dr. Torre said. “We hope that this project will inspire other medical residents and medical students to create healthy lifestyle projects in the community.”

Located at the corner of Morton Avenue and Clinton Street in Albany, the farmers market is open every Saturday, 2-6 p.m. from July through October, weather permitting. 
Vouchers to reduce the cost of the produce are available thanks to grants from community organizations. Food stamps are also accepted.