Health for America fellows build diabetes-fighting food delivery service - DC


Health for America fellows build diabetes-fighting food delivery service

Before coming up with WellRooted, the cohort had to pretend they were living with type 2 diabetes.

The 2015-2016 HFA fellows: May Paquete, Jake Vildibill, Amanda Newman, Dan Hoff.

(Courtesy photo)

For the first two weeks of their 11-month-long program, Dan HoffAmanda NewmanMay Paquete and Jake Vildibill, the members of the 2015-2016 cohort of Health for America, had to pretend they were living with type 2 diabetes.

This simulation, paired with patient interviews and a hefty amount of research, made up the “exploration phase” of the program. And it wasn’t long before the team identified some serious pain points.

One difficulty that came up again and again, Newman told in a recent conversation, was the difficulty surrounding food and nutritional literacy. What food is best for me? How much of it can I eat?

“We knew a lot about diabetes in general,” Newman said. “And we still weren’t doing it right.”

So, as the team moved into the ideation phase, they knew this was the problem they wanted to solve. The group came up with a few ideas to test before ultimately settling on, and settling in to build, WellRooted.

The WellRooted site. (Screenshot)

The WellRooted site. (Screenshot)

WellRooted is a food delivery service specifically tailored to the nutritional needs of people living with type 2 diabetes. It has two options — cook-at-home or ready-to-eat. For cook-at-home, the service provides free online recipes and an easy integration with Instacart for delivery. Ready-to-eat, on the other hand, features diabetes-approved meals delivered to your door via a partnership with Alexandria-based Power Supply. Apparently, it was 1776 cofounder Donna Harris who suggested that the team add a ready-to-eat delivery component.


The goal of WellRooted, Newman said, is to help connect the experience of the doctors office to what happens at home, in the kitchen. In other words, how do all these high-level concepts about my health translate into real-world, every day actions? The partnership with Power Supply, Newman said, arose from some “really exciting aligned philosophies of what food can mean in people’s lives.”

The biggest challenge the group faced, Newman reflected, had to do with the fact that the population living with diabetes is “incredibly diverse.” They range from quite young to elderly, easily mobile to not-so-mobile. WellRooted, with its many layers of options, is a direct attempt to serve each member of this diverse community as well as possible. Ultimately, while working to accomplish this, those two weeks spent in the diabetes simulation were absolutely key.

Know someone who might benefit from WellRooted? The service is live and available to the public — learn more here.

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