Becky Ellis: Community partner

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by enhancing patient foodservice.

At a Glance

  • 1.5 million patient meals served each year
  • $17 million budget
  • 217 FTEs
  • 7 retail outlets

Accomplishments

Becky Ellis has enhanced the foodservice program at Carilion Clinic by:

  • Fostering partnerships with a number of organizations, including two local colleges, the ACF and Health Care Without Harm
  • Promoting health and wellness on the retail side through the Choose Wisely program and a Choice Plus vending program
  • Enhancing patient foodservice through a new ordering system that allows patients to order meals closer to mealtimes
  • Overseeing the renovation of the 300-seat Mountain View Café at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the system’s largest facility

Partnerships

One of the benefits of having a long tenure with one organization is that Ellis has had the ability to cultivate the kinds of relationships that can help her department grow and innovate.

Two of those relationships are with Virginia Tech University and Virginia Western Community College. Virginia Tech supplies Ellis’ department with dietetic interns, while the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program at Virginia Western sends culinary interns. Not only does it provide the foodservice department with young talent eager to both learn the business and share their own knowledge, “several of our employees are graduates of these programs,” Ellis notes. She also serves on the curriculum advisory committee for Virginia Western’s culinary program.

“We are also involved with and support the Southwest Virginia chapter of the American Culinary Federation,” she adds. “Our catering supervisor, Darla Mehrkens, serves as vice president of the chapter.”

Carilion’s most recent partnership has been with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the international coalition of healthcare organizations and medical professionals that works “to implement ecologically sound and healthy alternatives to health care practices that pollute the environment and contribute to disease.” Ellis’ department collaborated with Carilion Clinic Strategic Development (CCSD) to sign the HCWH pledge last October.

“We partnered internally with [CCSD’s] Aaron Harris-Bousch,” Ellis explains. “He implemented the farmers’ table and our community outreach, while dining and nutrition services complemented the program with health and wellness programs.”

One of those new programs is Choose Wisely. Created jointly by hospital dietitians and retail dining managers, the program promotes healthy eating by highlighting healthier foods. Those foods are indicated by the Choose Wisely Owl, a logo that looks like an owl but is shaped like an apple.

To encourage customers to “choose wisely,” the purchase of a logoed item earns the customer an entry into a weekly drawing for a free meal.

The healthy eating program also has expanded to include vending. Recently, Canteen Vending placed a 2bU vending machine in Carilion Roanoke Memorial’s Choice Plus vending area, which offers healthier snacks, and it recently added a VE Connect machine, which uses touch-screen technology to display healthy snacks and their nutritional information.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
sam kass peter romeo

We’ve heard it time and again—millennials are extremely conscious about what they eat. They want to know what is in their food, where it is from, how it was made and more. And, as we’re learning, Gen Zers are even more aware and information-demanding about the food they eat than their older counterparts.

Hitting those higher-quality food standards is no easy feat. But it’s becoming a must, said chef Sam Kass—known for being the White House chef for the Obamas, a senior White House policy advisor on nutrition policy while he cooked, and currently the senior food analyst for NBC News...

Sponsored Content
chicken veggies recipes

From Tyson Food Service.

With operators becoming increasingly strapped for time and labor, it’s a strain to prepare every aspect of a menu item back-of-house or keep the menu populated with a variety of options. While it doesn’t mean they have to cut corners when developing new items, operators can use more versatile items that are simple enough to apply across the menu to save on labor and cost as well as be more efficient.

With versatile proteins, operators can increase menu opportunities without kitchen complexity, and drive new customer traffic or increase the number...

Industry News & Opinion

An audit into Kennesaw State University’s dining services revealed the university accrued roughly $2 million from off-campus students paying for meal plans as part of their semester fees, according to a report by Fox 5 Atlanta .

Meal plans at the Kennesaw, Ga., university are automatically assessed to students whether they live on campus or not. The university does not refund unused meals, draining the pockets of commuter students each semester.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we pay all this tuition and then we’re here paying another big fee,” commuter student Emmanuel...

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

FSD Resources