Rx for Health - Healthcare Provider Guide

The Rx for Health pad is a tool for you to use to increase patients’ awareness and use of free and low-cost community-based health education programs with Michigan State University Extension.

It is a great opportunity for you to build or maintain a patient-centered medical home model of care (PCMH). As you are aware one of the conditions of becoming a PCMH is to refer patients to community and social services. You can view the Rx for Health pad as a simple and cost-effective way to achieve this.

How to use the Rx for Health

Rx for Health pads can be used by anyone who works in your office that you deem appropriate. It does not require any data keeping. With a pen or pencil, check any or all categories you would recommend for the patient. Then tear off a sheet and put it in patients’ hands. This can be done during your examination, at patient check-in or check-out.


Get the most out of the Rx for Health

  • Follow-up with your patients regarding their participation in the MSU Extension programs that you refer them to.
  • Incorporate Rx for Health into your patient portals on their electronic health record – this allows you to more easily follow-up with patients regarding their attendance of MSU Extension programs.

Health and nutrition programming areas and impacts

Nutrition and physical activity

Select one or more of the following Rx for Health categories to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Eating healthy and being active
  • Cooking for health
  • Healthy aging

To help people be healthy at every stage of life, MSU Extension delivers affordable, relevant, evidence-based education to serve the needs of adults, youth and families in urban and rural communities. Programs focus on helping participants gain the skills they need to buy and prepare nutritious, budget-friendly foods, increase their physical activity, breastfeed their babies and stretch their food dollars.

  • 79 percent of adult participants made a positive change in at least one nutrition practice, such as preparing foods without adding salt, or using the Nutrition Facts labels to make food choices.
  • 42 percent of youth participants improved their ability or gained knowledge about how to prepare simple, nutritious, affordable food.
  • 79 percent of youth participants improved their abilities or gained knowledge about how to choose foods according to Federal Dietary Recommendations.

More program impacts

Disease prevention and management

Select one or more of the following Rx for Health categories to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Preventing diabetes
  • Living well with diabetes
  • Healthy aging

MSU Extension disease prevention and management programs provide participants with strategies to improve the quality of their diets, manage chronic health conditions and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • 76 percent of Dining with Diabetes participants are confident they can follow their diet when having to prepare or share food with other people who do not have diabetes.
  • 53 percent of Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) participants ended the program with decreased symptoms of fatigue, and 49 percent reported decreased pain symptoms.

More program impacts

Social-emotional health

Select one or more of the following Rx for Health categories to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Dealing with stress and anger
  • Raising kids
  • Healthy relationships
  • Healthy aging

MSU Extension social and emotional health programs address violence and bullying with the overarching goal of helping young people and adults learn to foster safe, affirming and inclusive relationships and settings that are free from violence, abuse, bullying and harassment.

  • 74 percent of Stress Less with Mindfulness participants know three mindfulness tools to help them manage stress and 78 percent can describe how a mindfulness perspective changes reactions to daily stressors.
  • 70 percent of RELAX: Alternatives to Anger participants now work hard to be calm and talk things through, and 68 percent reduced their frequency in yelling and screaming, which indicates they have improved strategies to address aggression and violence.

More program impacts

Food safety

Select one or more of the following Rx for Health categories to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Preventing foodborne illness
  • Healthy aging

MSU Extension food safety programs teach participants to help prevent foodborne illness through use of safe food handling, preparation, storage and preservation techniques.

  • 90 percent of online course participants gained new knowledge of cleaning and sanitizing.
  • 81 percent of Cottage Food Law participants gained new knowledge in cross-contamination prevention.
  • 90 percent of ServSafe participants passed the exam with an average passing score of 84 percent.

More program impacts

Children and youth

Select the following Rx for Health category to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Raising kids

MSU Extension’s children and youth programs address needs and issues from birth through age 19. Early childhood education programs (birth to 5) provide parents with educational resources related to child development, emerging literacy and school readiness. The 4-H program (ages 5-19) gives youth and adults opportunities to experience the benefits of working together around common interests while participating in hands-on learning activities that build leadership and teach practical life skills in hundreds of areas including science and technology, communications, health and civic engagement. Programs are designed to develop employability skills and encourage career exploration.

  • 4-H participants are more likely to go to college. More than 61 percent of Michigan 4-H’ers who graduated high school from 2009 to 2015 are attending college, compared with just 44.8 percent of their peers.
  • 4-H participants are twice as likely to make healthier choices.

More program impacts

Financial and housing education

Select one or more of the following Rx for Health categories to refer a patient to programs of this type:

  • Managing money
  • Healthy aging
  • Dealing with stress and anger

MSU Extension assists individuals, households, organizations and communities through education focused on financial capability, homeownership and foreclosure prevention.

  • 92 percent of surveyed homeownership education participants say they now understand predatory lending practices.
  • 86 percent of surveyed financial capability education participants say they write out a spending plan.
  • 79 percent of households receiving foreclosure education counseling were able to keep their current home and get back on track with their mortgage.

For more information on Rx for Health contact Holly Tiret, tiret@msu.edu, or 616-632-7893 (office) or 616-570-5818 (cell).