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

Industry News & Opinion

Labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder has officially bowed out of consideration for the cabinet position, according to the Associated Press .

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants—the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.—was tired of being under fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News . The agency reported that Puzder was unlikely to show for the start of his confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Puzder has also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that...

Industry News & Opinion

Risley Dining Room at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has just become 100 percent gluten-free, 14850.com reports.

For the past two years, the university has slowly phased out gluten in the dining hall’s menu by eliminating it in its stir fries, biscuits and brownies.

Instead of offering gluten-free versions of typical college fare, including pizza and pasta, the dining service team aimed for more sophisticated restaurant-style items.

Along with being gluten-free, Risley is also peanut free and tree-nut free.

The dining room is the second college eatery...

Industry News & Opinion

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., recently hosted a weeklong program called Weigh the Waste, which aimed to show students how much food gets wasted in dining halls, The Breeze reports.

Throughout the week, students placed food they were about to throw away on a scale located near the trash bins at one of their dining halls. At the end of the week, the school tallied the waste and saw that 817 pounds of food had been wasted.

School officials hope that the annual program, which it’s hosted since 2015, will remind dining hall patrons to only take as much food as...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

FSD Resources