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Vision and Voice

Get to Know the Food and Nutrition Services Team

I am excited to continue my "Get to Know the Team" series in 2024. For our first feature of the year, I want to shine a spotlight on the work of our Food Nutrition Services Team. Our dedicated team of 256 associates – including Cooks, Patient Dining Associates, Food Service Workers, Managers and Chefs, and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists – play a crucial role in our mission to provide exceptional patient care.

From the early stages of recruitment, the Food Nutrition Services Team emphasizes that they are here for our patients, their caregivers, and for each other. They work hard to ensure our patients receive nutritious meals so they can get better and return home to their loved ones as quickly as possible.

In the past year, our café has undergone remarkable growth, with an impressive 30 percent increase in year-over-year sales. The team has achieved notable milestones including the completion of our first-ever Nursing Survey to gather valuable feedback for nutrition service improvements. Additionally, the implementation of MyMeal, a patient-facing ordering app, ensures that patients can select their meal preferences even during off-hours. We have also introduced a Patient Dining Associate Career ladder, providing opportunities for career advancement.

At a higher glance, the team is making progress in patient satisfaction in Fiscal Year ‘24 with patients rating ‘Quality of Food’ higher than in Fiscal Year ‘23. Corey DiLuciano, RDN, our Senior Food and Nutrition Director, shared the team plans to continue this momentum by focusing on patient and nursing satisfaction, emphasizing food quality, tray accuracy, timeliness of delivery, and nutrition.

Projects include monthly special menu items aimed at bringing excitement and reinforcing our commitment to restaurant-quality food for our patients. To enhance the café experience, we are also undertaking a project to increase the speed of cashier transactions. This includes adding eight self-checkouts and implementing "Scan 2 Go" to facilitate faster checkouts.

Pictures from UVA Health Garden of Appreciation Event

One challenge in writing these blogs is capturing our team's achievements in a reasonable length. But I also want to acknowledge the individual efforts of team members in research, community engagement, and raising awareness about nutrition's impact on health. Through presentations, articles, conferences, cooking classes, and more, they work hard to educate others about nutrition's role in issues such as eating disorders, cancers, diabetes, and food insecurity to improve the patient experience.

Food plays such an important role in not only our health but also our morale. A good meal can make a big difference when our patients and their loved ones are looking for hope and strength to overcome an illness. I'm so glad I can highlight the contributions of our Food Nutrition Services Team to our shared mission. Thank you for all that you do for our patients, their loved ones, and our team members!

Which team should I feature next? Share your ideas with me through the Be Heard Suggestion Box!

Take care and be well,