WASHINGTON, D.C., DC — A collaboration between Sibley Hospital and grassroots organizations in Wards 7 and 8 is aiming to innovate health care D.C. communities.

Leading the charge are so-called "innovators in residence," or people with ideas and the funds to make a difference east of the Anocostia river.

Tambra Stevenson is one of those innovators. She’s the founder of WANDA: Women Advancing Nurtition, Dietetics, and Agriculture

Her organization teaches food literacy to women and children.

"It’s always been my calling to do community health," Stevenson said. "And this has really been a godsend opportunity."

In Stevenson’s case, her program received $30,000 and coaching from Sibley health experts to grow her organization, and bring her message to more of her neighbors.

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"We need to be those fighters, fighting for good food in our communities and to carry that spirit with us," Stevenson said. "It is everything in changing the health of our communities."

On Thursday, she spent the afternoon teaching kids at Parkview Recreation Center in Petworth how to make a mango smoothie. 

"Everyone has to eat, but the question is what do we have the right access to eat and how do we see food through the lens of identity, the lens of culture, the lens of health," Stevenson said.

Sibley Hospital started the program with a listening tour -- hearing from people living in Wards 7 and 8 about what they thought needed to change the most.

Marissa McKeever, Director of Community Affairs with Sibley Hospital, said the hospital identified four priorities for its Ward Infinity initiative: Food access, affordable housing, health literacy and nutrition. 

Stevenson is one of four teams to receive funding, entrepreneurial coaching and technical expertise in January.

This year is the second year of the program. McKeever said the hospital is planning to continue the program for a third year.

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