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The Small Bites Project: Micro Finance For Healthy Fast Food

by Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, B.A., M.D.

The Small Bites Project seeks to bring healthy fast food infrastructure to the United States, a place where ever fewer people have time to cook, through micro loans and mentoring.

Denver, CO Healthy Living

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About this project

The problem we solve:
By conservative measures, “poor lifestyle choices” account for 70% of the disease burden in the United States...and amongst these factors, poor food quality, heralded by an unprecedented rise in obesity, is the fastest growing concern.  No state has less than a 20% obesity rate amongst their population, and many states rates tip the scales at more than 30% obese. It’s a hard problem to solve. Traditional public health models that center around cooking and eating fresh, healthy diets increasingly run up against economic realities: widening income inequality, the rise of the two job household, increasing hours spent at work.  Prepared foods have risen to fill this gap, but unfortunately, the current economics of American food production have increasingly aligned incentives to ensure the production of foods that do not contribute to health, but detract from such. This is the problem that the Small Bites Project seeks to solve.

About our solution:
The Small Bites Project seeks to address the problems inherent in the American food system by creating local networks of small business persons, individually attached to their communities, whose incentives will be aligned to provide fresh, healthy food for their community members.  The Project will do this in two ways: 1.) Serving as a broker of micro loans for small, mobile cooking setups.  While the program will be open to anyone who would like to apply, specific efforts will be made to target entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged areas, as statistically, such communities are least likely to have existing infrastructure to support healthy food choices. 2.) Through the micro loan process, providing mentorship to enrollees on optimizing business practices and product nutrition. This will maximize the potential success of enrollees, minimize risk/maximize returns to creditors, and ensure that production of healthy food will remain a core part of enrollee's business practices.
Progress to date: This project is still in the development phase, with assembly of the company and board ongoing. As regards buy-in, please allow me to present an example: in my capacity as a physician with the state's second largest Federally Qualified Health Center network, I had been part of an initiative to broker a partnership between one of the state's largest purveyor's of Mexican fast food and the clinic system. This purveyor had noticed a measurable drop in sales whenever a clinic opened in a community in which they had a restaurant; the concept was to partner with the restaurant chain to develop a menu that would be nutritious, tasty, fast, and profitable, so that instead of serving as a drain on their profits, our clinic system could serve as a strategic business partner.  While this initiative eventually failed, it served as proof of concept that those in the food preparation and healthcare industries could explore the possibility of a partnership.

About Our Team


Dr. Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, B.A., M.D.
Family Medicine , Practicing Physician
Location: Denver, Colorado, Colorado
Medical school: University of Colorado School of Medicine
Bio: In addition to being a full-time family physician, Dr. Osbourne-Roberts is founder and principal of Daybreak Health Enterprises, a consulting firm specializing in physician leadership, workforce diversity, health futurism, and medical media. A former president of the Colorado Medical Society (the youngest president, as well as the first person of color, in the society's 143-year history), he has been honored as a Denver Business Journal "40 Under 40," and an Aspen Ideas Spotlight Health Scholar.
Practice: Daybreak Health Enterprises
Title: Executive Consultant, Policymaker, Futurist, Family Physician

About Our Company

The Small Bites Project
Location: Denver, Colorado
Product stage: idea
Sales: Working on it
Employees: 1-2

How We Help Patients

Folks...I get it. Eating in a healthy way is HARD. The advice your doctor gives you -- eat freshly cooked food, with lots of fruits and vegetables -- seems to run right up against your daily reality. Both you and your spouse work; your hours keep going up and up; you barely have time to hold your family together, let alone cook; and cooking at home ends up being even more expensive than eating out. It's not that you don't care about your family, or what they eat...but you care about them so much, when you can find the one hour you're able to be together in the day, cooking a healthy meal seems like a nice idea, but not at all practical. So out comes the microwave meal. Or the bag from the fast food place down the street. You'd eat healthy food if tasty, healthy food was available, but so often, it's just not available. This project will make that kind of food available...easily. For you, for your spouse, for your kids. For everyone.

How We Help Physicians

My colleagues: it so often seems like a losing battle, doesn't it? We study the scientific basis of disease for years; we dedicate ourselves to the Hippocratic oath; we spend countless hours seeking to both prevent and cure disease...and the things that continue to sicken and kill our patients are so often beyond our control. Infrastructure that opposes healthy living at every turn. Recent economic realities that have sent so many of our patients plummeting from a solid middle class lifestyle into an existence in which they fear for their livelihoods on a daily basis. A world that sometimes seems bent on increasing stress, decreasing well-being, and offering only the simplest, most unhealthy solutions to our patients as a way out. In part because of this, we are burning out at unprecedented rates. It is hard to fight our modern reality every day, despite our best efforts. The Small Bites Project offers hope for a better future. For our patients...and for us.

Challenge Mission

Mission: As a first-of-its-kind physician-led initiative dedicated to aligning economic incentives with the nation's health, The Small Bites Project is an ideal expression of your mission.
Use of funds: The first use of the prize would be as a motivator in seeking additional investment and strategic partners.  While it remains possible that the creation of the program might be funded in large part by such additional investors/strategic partners, under the assumption that such is not viable, the initial $25,000 would be used entirely in establishment of the online portal for recruitment of enrollees and recruitment of creditors, as this serves as the heart of the program, and I anticipate such to cost substantially more than that sum (though establishing such would require a detailed RFP process).
Intellectual Property Status: Not applicable.
FDA Status: Not applicable.
Personal Message: So often in healthcare, we throw up our hands when asked the hard questions. We examine the problems, determine the solutions are too difficult, and settle for partial solutions that are incomplete, providing little more than proverbial "Band-Aids" designed to delay problems...not solve them. The Small Bites Project is something different; by voting for it, you are declaring that, with "small bites," we can take a gigantic piece out of one of our era's most vexing healthcare problems.

Supporters

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    05/23/2016 Tanisha Hamilton - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/23/2016 Maristella EVANGELISTA - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/23/2016 Kaitlyn Gilman - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/23/2016 Kaitlyn Gilman - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Seth Flagg - Physician

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/21/2016 Olga Mengin - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Seth Flagg - Physician

    Interested in mentorship.

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    05/21/2016 Samantha Rosman - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Samantha Rosman - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Richard May - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Aaron Kithcart - Physician

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/21/2016 JOHN VASUDEVAN - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Samantha Rosman - Physician

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/21/2016 Erin Chandler - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Aaron Kithcart - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Aaron Kithcart - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Dr. Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Dr. Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Aaron Kithcart - Physician

    Interested in piloting the project.

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    05/21/2016 Chirag Patel - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Seth Flagg - Physician

    Interested in other factor.

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    05/21/2016 Erin Wilkes - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Erin Wilkes - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Seth Flagg - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/21/2016 Seth Flagg - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/21/2016 Erin Chandler - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ross Goldberg - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ross Goldberg - Physician

    Followed the project.

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    05/20/2016 Ravi Goel - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 KRYSTAL TOMEI - Physician

    Liked the project.

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    05/20/2016 JANET WEST - Physician

    Liked the project.

18

likes

10

Follows

2

Pilots

0

Partners

96

Interest
Score

8

Adoption
Score


Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, B.A., M.D.
Physician
Executive Consultant, Policymaker, Futurist, Family Physician
University of Colorado School of Medicine

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