Michael Ufholz had many years of experience as a chef in the restaurant industry before joining our culinary team at Northwell Health in 2019. Today, as the executive sous chef at Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) in Riverhead, New York, he takes pride helping to heal our patients in a different way—with food and nutrition.
When you think of hospitals, nutritious and restaurant-quality food may not be top of mind, but at Northwell, preparing delicious and healthy dishes for our patients is one of our highest priorities. At Northwell, we believe innovation is the key ingredient in promoting wellness and is essential to transforming the healthcare culinary experience for our patients and our team members.
Michael is proud of the work he does and the team he has built at PBMC. With a sense of devotion and passion in all that he does, Michael knows that creating a positive impact on each patient’s food experience is vital to his success. It is the positive impact on his patients and having the ability to improve their experience that led Michael to want to work for Northwell Health.
“If you’re ready to make meals from the heart, this is your place to be,” said Michael. “Food tastes better when it’s made from the heart, and that’s what Northwell’s culinary teams do.”
It all begins with the culinary team in the kitchen each day. Michael’s daily responsibilities include selecting the daily menu for our patients and providing training to our team members, such as teaching cooking techniques. Michael also assists in the management of the cafeteria and catering functions, in addition to preparing all food items appropriate for each meal including starters, entrees, side dishes and more.
Michael believes that making a good quality meal for patients is the most rewarding part of his job. For instance, if a patient is worried about an upcoming test or procedure, a meal prepared by Michael and Northwell’s culinary team can make them feel calmer and more at ease.
“I’m able to see firsthand the impact our culinary team has on our patients,” said Michael. “Our teams work hard to produce the best meals for our patients, and it truly pays off by making our patients happy.”
Michael loves that his current position with Northwell allows him to have a healthy work/life balance. When working in the restaurant industry, it was common for Michael to be at the restaurant into the late hours multiple days a week. Now at Northwell, Michael’s team works just as hard but with flexible shifts to ensure they have time to balance a full-time career with their families at home. This makes a huge difference in his life as he shares, “I used to feel like I lived at work and now I live to truly experience life.” With a flexible schedule, Michael believes Northwell has allowed him to have the opportunity to get even more crafty with his cooking — being creative with recipes that he could possibly add to PBMC’s menu.
Michael feels supported to grow and develop at Northwell. He also welcomes the camaraderie with his fellow culinary teams at our other hospitals with Northwell’s annual chef challenge competition, where each hospital’s culinary team competes to create a three-course-meal for a panel of judges.
These unique, team-focused opportunities provide Michael with learned disciplines, which help him be a better chef. He loves that his work environment at Northwell is more collaborative than any other work environment he’s ever been a part of before.
Take your first step toward a career in hospitality at Northwell Health
Do you have an interest or experience in the hospitality or food service industry and would like to work for a company that promotes career growth and development? At Northwell, we offer a variety of entry-level opportunities to help you get started on your career journey.
Northwell Health is committed to helping our team members reach their full potential through access to mentorship programs, tuition reimbursement and professional development workshops designed to empower and inspire throughout any step of the career journey.
Below, you will find some exciting hospitality and food service career opportunities Northwell offers that only require a high school or equivalent diploma. Take the first step toward a rewarding career at Northwell Health. Check out our available hospitality positions across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Westchester.
Food Service Careers at Northwell Health, Raise Your Career Expectations
Raise your career expectations as a food service assistant at Northwell Health. As a member of the food service team, you can make a positive impact on the meal service experience for our patients and team members while exploring opportunities to grow your career.
Whether your career journey is just starting out or you’ve begun to explore a new direction, Northwell has the resources to support and guide you on your path. Below, you will find information about the many career paths for food service. For the complete job profile, we invite you to visit NorthwellCareers.com, or click the link below to discover a career well cared for with our team.
At Northwell, we stand behind the belief that food is medicine and a little competition can spark culinary innovation. At this year’s annual Chefs Challenge event, hosted at Glen Cove Hospital, our culinary teams competed for the chance to create a healthy, delicious meal that may be prepared for future patients at Northwell hospitals across our organization.
Each team, comprised of our chefs, cooks, and registered dieticians, had 90 minutes to present a healthy and enticing three-course meal to the judges. In its 11th year, Northwell had the honor of hosting best-selling cookbook author and Emmy-award winning TV host, Lidia Bastianich, as one of our celebrity guest judges.
“First, I’m amazed at the quality of food that’s being tasted here. Secondly, that this food is being served to patients in Northwell hospitals in big numbers,”* Lidia Bastianich said.
The first prize was awarded to the team from Peconic Bay Medical Center, whose winning dishes included: a chilled English pea soup with goat cheese panna cotta for an appetizer, a deconstructed seafood stew as the main entrée, and a raspberry yogurt mousse for dessert. Coming in second place was Syosset Hospital and in third place was Northern Westchester Hospital.
Bruno Tiso, vice president of Northwell’s food services and corporate executive chef, shared, “This annual event is where we confirm our commitment to redefining food in healthcare. Not only does it allow us to get together to share ideas, new techniques, and new dishes, it also allows us to showcase how we are transforming hospital food.”*
When you think of hospitals, restaurant-quality, nutritious food may not be top of mind, but at Northwell, preparing delicious and healthy dishes for our patients is a priority. From cooks to chefs to dining assistants, we have many career opportunities that offer comprehensive benefits and growth.
Think Hospitality. Think Healthcare. Getting students ready with our Hospitality in Healthcare Internship at Northwell Health
Healthcare may not be the first thing that comes to mind for hospitality majors; however, patient care extends well beyond just providing clinical care. At Northwell, it’s about a patient’s all-around wellbeing that is necessary for their recovery. Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer and Senior Vice President of the Office of Patient & Customer Experience (OPCE), joined Northwell Health in 2014 from the hospitality industry to transform and innovate the patient experience at Northwell. As part of this mission, he introduced the Hospitality in Healthcare Internship in 2017.
The Hospitality in Healthcare internship is an eight-week, paid program geared toward college juniors and seniors who are passionate about making a difference. It allows students to expand their knowledge of hospitality and apply it in a different way that has more of a meaningful impact. During the program, students partner with mentors who are patient experience leaders at Northwell and shadow hospital-based services such as: patient- and family-centered care, environmental services, food and nutrition, concierge, chaplaincy, marketing, IT, and security.
Upon the close of the program, each intern completes a project assignment, challenging them to focus on one specific patient-centered care opportunity at Northwell. They are tasked with creating a proposal for implementing performance improvement tactics to hospital leadership. These projects help the students think strategically within a large organization, while enhancing their communication, presentation, and project management skills.
“The Hospitality in Healthcare internship is proof that you don’t have to be clinical to make a difference and our interns experience that firsthand,” says Leah Petrosino, Associate Patient and Customer Experience Specialist. “This opportunity allows interns to explore different areas of healthcare, exposing them to various projects and services that enhance the patient experience. The impact this has on the intern, our patients, patients’ families, and our colleagues lasts far beyond the program because it truly proves that every role, every person, and every moment matters at Northwell.”
A recipe for culinary success — Northern Westchester wins Northwell Health’s 2021 Chefs Challenge
Each year at Northwell Health, we host the Chefs Challenge, where our chefs and their team members collaborate and create unique, healthy dishes that may be offered to their patients in the near future.
This year six Northwell Health hospitals recently competed in the 2021 Chefs Challenge at Glen Cove Hospital. Chefs, cooks and registered dieticians assembled to prepare healthy and delicious three-course meals within five hours — and using an assigned set of ingredients, in the style of an Iron Chef competition!
Northern Westchester Hospital was awarded first place in the competition. The winning menu included a butternut squash and shrimp wonton appetizer; entrée of braised lamb osso buco (shank) with spring vegetables, Yukon gold potato and slow-roasted cherry tomato; and caramelized pineapple upside-down cake dessert. South Shore University Hospital placed second, with a menu featuring butternut squash noodles carbonara, and Lenox Hill Hospital, whose meal included an herb and pistachio crusted rack of lamb, placed third.
Why join our culinary team?
When people consider hospital dishes, they usually don’t picture restaurant-quality three–course meals. Northwell Health believes in redefining hospital food because food is medicine, and our culinary departments strive to provide patients with the same level of nutritional care as the clinical care they receive altogether.
Our culinary department and chefs raise the standard of hospital food by designing meals with fresh ingredients, including herbs and vegetables harvested from Northwell Health’s gardens. Northern Westchester donates food from its recently opened wellness garden to discharged patients leaving who are food insecure or vulnerable, while Lenox Hill’s Victory Greens garden is New York City’s only hospital-based, organic rooftop garden.
In addition, our teaching kitchens partner chefs and registered dietitians together to share healthy recipes, basic culinary skills and nutrition education with team members and patients.
Growing a Wellness Garden at Northern Westchester Hospital when it was needed the most
How an idea designed to give Northwell Health employees a place to decompress in the middle of a pandemic also advanced the culinary experience for patients at Northern Westchester Hospital.
Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) is now home to 35 garden beds that hold organically grown vegetables. Started in June 2020, the garden was created to be a therapeutic space where employees could unwind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The idea came from Rebecca Martin, committee member and the senior director of food and dining services at NWH and Phelps Hospital. Rebecca presented the project to the Wellness Resilience and Recognition Committee that Richard Mellor, associate executive director of Human Resources, put together during COVID to support our hospital team members. The project was met with positive remarks from senior leadership, and the planning process was set to begin.
Local Eagle Scout Zachary Couzens, whose parents had been COVID patients at NWH, felt compelled to somehow give back to the hospital that took the best care of his parents during such a worrying time. While in search of an Eagle Scout project, Zachary decided to collaborate with the Wellness, Recognition and Resilience Committee and other employees at NWH to create the wellness garden, donated by the Patient Centered Innovation Fund.
Bryan Tompkins, an environmental services team member at NWH, worked to create the vision of the wellness garden. Then Zachary, along with NWH culinary and food service employee volunteers and the committee, built the framework of each garden bed, filled each bed with a compost and soil mix, and planted the vegetables. “It was all really a team effort,” says Rebecca Martin. “It was also nice seeing Zachary’s parents in such great health helping create the beds with the other volunteers.”
All foods grown in the garden are donated to patients leaving the hospital who are food insecure or vulnerable. The garden contributes to healthy, nutritious meals for patients and advances their culinary experience with farm-to-table cooking that enables our culinary staff to deliver delicious meals.
Managed by 35 volunteer hospital staff members, the garden also provides a serene setting for employees and patients and families alike when a calming environment is needed. Although the garden is new and will be completing its first harvest this week, it has already proven to revitalize the spirit of the food and dining team members at NWH.
“We are a team that cares about each other and cares about our patients,” says Rebecca. “This is a team that takes incredible pride in what they do. They work so well together, and they are always there for each other.”
How our Registered Dietitians make a difference for our patients and communities
At Northwell Health we have an amazing team of registered dietitians (RDs) across the organization who provide both essential and exceptional care to our patients. March 10th is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and we are proud to recognize the work of our RDs and their commitment to helping our patients lead healthy lives.
Here are four ways our RDs are making a difference for our patients and community:
1. Teaming up to deliver medical and dietary needs
An important part of a registered dietitian’s role is to partner with physicians and health care professionals to coordinate medical and dietary needs specialized exclusively for their patients.
“A part of my role consists of collaborating with physicians and other members of the health care team to address nutritional concerns and provide diet recommendations that will best serve the patient.” – Amanda Sinobio, registered dietitian, Plainview Hospital
2. Setting goals for healthy living
Registered dietitians provide nutrition information to their patients. They help their patients focus on lifestyle changes, meet their health goals, or help them understand their disease better.
“As part of my role I help to plan, supervise, and coordinate team members on all pertinent patient and nutritional concerns.” – Colleen M. Chiariello, manager, nutrition and dietetics, Syosset Hospital
3. Making the right food selections for specialized care
Every patient is unique with different bodies, goals and tastes. Our RDs help tailor a healthy eating plan that is special for all our patients. They discuss with the executive chef of that site possible menu options and how to adjust these recipes as needed. Some of our sites use a food service program to implement an individual patient’s requests, taking into consideration their therapeutic diet, food allergies and preferences. Not only does this help support their nutritional needs so they recover faster but it also comforts the patient to have foods they enjoy during their hospital stay.
“When I speak with a patient/family, I always obtain patient food preferences and try to help with their food service experience as best as I can.” – Rachel Blumberg, registered dietitian, Cohen Children’s Medical Center
4. Promoting health and wellness for long-term benefits
Our RDs use their expertise and knowledge to help their patients understand how they can create lifestyle changes by explaining to them their nutrition assessment. The nutrition assessment consists of obtaining a patient’s diet, review of medical history, assessing nutrient needs and review of related laboratory values/medication. They not only help their patients live a healthy life but also a happier life!
“My favorite things about working as a RD is knowing I am promoting the health and wellbeing of our patients. I find it fulfilling to work in a teaching hospital where possibilities for learning are endless and hope to bring awareness to all regarding the value of nutrition and the pivotal role RDs play.” – Geralyn LaVecchia, registered dietitian, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Lead a healthy career as a Registered Dietitian at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Five Northwell Health hospitals recently competed in the 2020 Chefs Challenge at Glen Cove Hospital! Chefs, cooks and one certified dietitian worked together to prepare a healthy and delicious three course meal within 90 minutes. After presenting their wild sea bass appetizer, Long Island duck entrée, and strawberry dessert to our judges for tasting, Phelps Hospital was awarded first place in the competition. The Northern Westchester Hospital team came in second while the Huntington Hospital team placed third.
Meet the teams of Northwell’s 2020 Chefs Challenge
You might not typically associate healthcare with culinary careers, but Northwell Health’s culinary teams are dedicated to providing delicious and nutritious food to help heal our patients. They also are no strangers to some friendly competition within our organization and will be competing again in Northwell’s Chefs Challenge.
Teams from five Northwell hospitals are competing for a chance to be named the winner of the 2020 Chefs Challenge on July 30. Tasked with cooking a healthy and nutritious meal, each team will have 90 minutes to prepare a one-of-a-kind meal using wild sea bass as an appetizer, Long Island duck as an entrée, and a strawberry dessert. Each team includes three chefs/cooks and one certified dietitian, working together to prepare five dishes of each course for the guest judges. Meet the teams competing at the 2020 Chefs Challenge below!
Appetizer: Pan Seared Wild Sea Bass w/ a Citrus Avocado Mignonette
Main Entrée: Crispy Confit Duck Ramen in a Pho Broth
What’s the most exciting thing your team has done in culinary in the past year?
In 2019, we received the 2019 Press Ganey “Quality of Food” award and sustained being number one in the system through hard work and dedication. We’ve also created a new patient menu to be executed later this year.
What makes Huntington Hospital the team to beat in the 2020 Chefs Challenge?
At Huntington, we strive to give our patients the best product and culinary experience possible. We are one single unit, a team with the same common goal of delivering our craft to our patients. We are proud of the product we serve and continue to push ourselves to the next level. This year’s competition will show our confidence, talent and dedication and to our patients, but is only a taste of the Huntington team’s capabilities.
Appetizer: Herb Roasted Wild Stripped Atlantic Sea Bass, Salad of Hearts of Palm and Asparagus, Sweet Carrot Puree
Maine Entrée: Braised Long Island Duck Leg and Mushroom Raviolis, English Pea Puree, Radish Lamels, Beechwood Mushrooms, Pea Tendrils, Parmesan Reggiano
Dessert: Greek Yogurt and Clover Honey Blanc Manger, Red Wine Stewed Strawberries, Curly Tuile.
What’s the most exciting thing your team has done in culinary in the past year?
The most exciting thing that we have done this year is change the patient menu with seasonal offerings. Seasonal menus for our patients will not only introduce new choices for our guests but will offer fresh seasonal and healthier choices.
What makes Northern Westchester Hospital the team to beat in the 2020 Chefs Challenge?
We feel that our presentation is a creative way to utilize the ingredients that we had to incorporate into each category.
Appetizer: Wild seabass over a carrot Ginger Puree and Yuzu Glaze
Main Entrée: Duck Kaiseki ( Duck Sashimi, Duck Nigiri and Duck Udon )
Dessert: Strawberry Mochi
What’s the most exciting thing your team has done in culinary in the past year?
We love what we do. We have so much passion for cooking and being creative. We are always finding ways to think outside the box and present a dish using traditional culinary techniques with modern new trends.
Main Entrée: Roasted Long Island Duck Breast, Farro, Spring Vegetables, English Pea Puree, Pickled Granny Smith Apples
Dessert: Vanilla Panna Cotta, Balsamic Macerated Strawberries, Crystalized Mint, Lemon
What’s the most exciting thing your team has done in culinary in the past year?
The most exciting thing is the changing of the menus according to season. This has never been seen before in a hospital. We have also enhanced our cafeteria menu so our fellow colleagues and visiting guests get to experience exciting offerings in the cafeteria to purchase.
What makes Phelps Hospital the team to beat in the 2020 Chefs Challenge?
Our presentations are well thought out and each plate has a balance. People tend to eat with their eyes first and these dishes are inviting and fresh and represent what we want to see in all hospitals.
Appetizer: Spiced Pan Seared Sea Bass over Lentil & Cauliflower Salad with Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette
Main Entrée: Five Spice Duck Breast with Gingered Sweet Potato Puree, Napa Cabbage, Grilled Pineapple
Dessert: Strawberries n’ Cream Trifle with Aged Balsamic
What’s the most exciting thing your team has done in culinary in the past year?
Our culinary team was very excited this year to roll out our new Spring/Summer menu on June 29. We tried to take advantage of seasonal vegetables, while preparing them in different and unique ways for our patients. Using the season’s bounty to your advantage can allow you to create wonderful classics such as our caprese salad with local heirloom, vine ripened tomatoes, as well as fresh asparagus for our new grilled asparagus-beet salad. Hospital patients usually could never tell what was going on outside their room’s window, so with our seasonal menu we tried to bring a little taste of the summer season inside and onto their plates.
What makes Southside Hospital the team to beat in the 2020 Chefs Challenge?
We are returning with our core team from last year so that gives us an advantage for having experience within the competition. We also have been practicing very diligently and have become tighter as a unit because of it. All of the teams competing are strong candidates to win, but we think we have the right mix of talent, fortitude, energy and desire to bring home the win to Southside Hospital this year.
Fresh brick oven pizza adds to culinary experience at North Shore University Hospital
The idea of fresh brick oven pizza available within a hospital may seem like a dream, but it’s becoming reality at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). The recent opening of their pizza kitchen is one of the many ways Northwell’s culinary teams are advancing how the organization views food and nutrition as a critical factor for our team members, patients and their families.
Adding a Marra Forni Brick Oven to the NSUH kitchen was met with excitement by the Food & Nutrition team. Training was provided to ensure that not only could they master the pizza oven safely, but that they would have the skills needed to take pizza creation to the next level.
As part of their preparation, members of the culinary team took a trip into New York City to meet a master pizzaiolo, who took them through the process of making pizza in a brick oven. Learning firsthand from an expert allowed them to gain new skills that they could then share within the rest of the NSUH chefs.
Though developing the pizza kitchen took hard work, since it was introduced they’ve already seen appreciation for such a unique and delicious food choice available in the hospital.
“We received nothing but amazing feedback,” says Janisa Freycinet, executive chef at NSUH. “We are now serving about 250 pizzas a day and create different specialty pizzas that our chefs come up with twice a week.”
Some of these creations from the NSUH chefs:
Penne a la vodka pizza
Buffalo chicken pizza
Cauliflower crust pizza
As chefs within the healthcare industry, our teams also know the importance of quality when it comes to ingredients. By using only top-quality products, they’re able to ensure it not only tastes great, but that the pizza is as healthy as it is delicious. Using authentic ingredients like Caputo 00 Flour, Janisa developed the right dough and sauce recipe before training the other chefs inside the kitchen. Today they have around 10 different healthy toppings for patients to choose from, and a house-made pistachio pesto sauce has emerged as the top choice.
Kevin Dinh, an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America, is the chef de partie of the pizza kitchen and helps ensure everything runs smoothly and correctly. Kevin uses his past experience working within pizzerias to prepare the fresh dough and works with the tournant chefs who prepare the sauces and vegetables. Together they’re helping to lead the way in healthcare culinary arts
“This is just the beginning of our innovative creations,” says Janisa. “Eventually we would like to do house breads, nann pitas, breakfast pizzas and in the future, have the pizza available in room for our patients.”
Bring culinary excellence and nutrition to the health care table at Northwell Health. Join our team.
Setting the table for impactful culinary careers and extraordinary care
At Northwell Health, our culinary departments are built on providing the same standard of service that’s expected in the care we give our patients. With our hospitality-driven approach and our professionally-trained culinary staff, the work we do in the kitchen is essential in our quest to deliver patient satisfaction and redefine health care as a whole. One of the hospitals leading the charge is Huntington Hospital.
Teamwork is imperative, and the staff at Huntington Hospital thrive on teamwork, passion, and dedication. Just ask Sarah Ohlinger, Director of Food and Nutrition and Chief Clinical Dietitian at Huntington Hospital, “We truly believe that when you are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” When it comes to elevating care and improving patient outcomes, it’s the work of the collective that makes all the difference.
Our culinary teams work closely together to directly influence the course of our patients’ journey towards better health. Highly skilled dietitians collaborate with the interdisciplinary team to provide our patients with the latest evidence-based research to assist in improving patient outcomes. The dietitians then work alongside the chefs, diet techs and management team to execute new recipes and ensure that they meet guidelines for therapeutic diets. Then it’s time for the chefs and cooks to bring these recipes to life.
However, the work of the team doesn’t end there. Diet clerks are the voice of the department, handling hundreds of calls a day, and speaking directly to patients to obtain their orders. Our food service workers are the face of our department, delivering meals to patients in under 25 minutes with a smile and a kind word.
Northwell’s commitment to advancing the industry is evident in Huntington Hospital. In just three years, Huntington Hospital went from being ranked in the 16th percentile to being ranked in the 93rd percentile in the country, per the Press Ganey Quality of Food Scores., There’s so much that contributes to that success.
Replacing dinnerware with bone china and high-quality flatware.
Using freshly sourced, seasonal and locally grown ingredients whenever possible.
Conducting meal rounds on a weekly basis to meet with patients to understand how we can best serve them.
Being the first in our network to convert to an In-Room Dining model similar to hotel room service.
With meals like homemade blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes for breakfast and roasted cauliflower flatbread pizza for dinner, it’s no wonder our patients’ faces light up when their meals are delivered.
Providing support during the COVID-19 pandemic with food and nutrition
When it came time to modify the dining experience in the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Huntington was ready to join the fight. Clinical Registered Dietitians work daily with the interdisciplinary team to optimize nutrition support for increasingly complex critical COVID patients who are fighting the virus. This is especially vital as research indicates that adequate nutrition can decrease the number of vent-dependent days and the mortality rate. The team transitioned to a modified meal delivery service to limit disruptions to the nursing staff. They worked together to create an abridged COVID menu to help lower staffing needs while accounting for the nutritional needs of our patients during potential shortages of enteral supplies.
This passion for using food to heal goes beyond the meals delivered to our patients. Chefs worked daily to make free homemade healthy snacks to fuel caregivers while they work on the front lines. Get well cards have been added to patients’ meal trays in hopes to help brighten their days and let them know that Food & Nutrition is available to provide support. When Meals on Wheels came to a halt during COVID-19, Huntington’s Food & Nutrition and the Quality Department filled the gap with the launch of “Mobile Meals,” a program where volunteers deliver meals produced and packaged by the culinary team to continue a life-sustaining service to homebound senior citizens in the community.
“Our team recognizes the important role food plays in the healing and recovery process,” says Sarah. “Food can help heal, and in the hospital setting, it can comfort. We are proud to serve our patients, caregivers and community members.”
If you feel you have the qualities needed to lead a fulfilling career in culinary services at Northwell Health, apply today.
Northwell’s culinary tuition forgiveness program is the icing on the cake for Nicole’s career advancement
Northwell Health is now offering a tuition forgiveness program for aspiring chefs. Available to eligible new Northwell culinary team members, this new program offers up to $10,000 in student loan repayment for Culinary Arts degree graduates over a period of two years. Nicole Feliz, a chef at North Shore University Hospital, is the first to receive this exciting opportunity.
“It was very humbling to find out that I would be the first to receive tuition forgiveness as a culinary member at Northwell Health,” says Nicole, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
By introducing a tuition forgiveness program, Northwell aims to educate and attract innovative culinary students and recent graduates to culinary careers in healthcare. In addition to the forgiveness program, eligible employees can receive tuition reimbursement to further their education starting after one year of employment.
Nicole’s interest in cooking was sparked at a young age as she cooked with her mother and experienced how the power of food can bring people together. But it wasn’t until Nicole read an article in a newspaper featuring Chef Bruno Tison, VP of system food services and corporate chef at Northwell that she thought about following her culinary career dreams in a healthcare setting.
“Reading about him saying that his vision and duty was to put restaurant-quality food in the healthcare industry inspired me,” says Nicole. “I have always looked up to him and his culinary career, and I can’t think of another industry outside of healthcare that would be as self-gratifying for me to contribute to.”
With a new mission in mind, Nicole joined the Northwell culinary team as a second cook through FlexStaff, Northwell’s internal temporary staffing agency. Less than a year later, she was promoted to a full-time tournant chef at North Shore University Hospital. Now, through her work at Northwell, she can leverage her skills to provide nutritious food that brings people together, and helps them throughout their healing process.
“I love working at Northwell because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission. My team and our collaboration makes the job seamless.”
A taste for success: Boram’s culinary externship at Northwell Health
When it came to her culinary externship, Boram Lee knew she wanted to get a taste of healthcare.
Northwell Health recently partnered with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to host their culinary externs and introduce innovative new culinary talent to healthcare careers. Boram, a student at the prestigious CIA, is the first student to participate in this exciting externship program.
“I heard about the externship from one of my professors and my goal is to be in healthcare so I was very interested,” says Boram. After the application and interview process, Boram was selected to participate and have her summer externship at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH).
At NSUH, Boram participated in a 14-week program under the guidance of the executive chef and sous chef in an immersive learning experience that taught her about food as care, nutrition training, and community food access in addition to more traditional culinary training.
With such a diverse training program, Boram got to experience all the facets of a holistic culinary healthcare career – and grew as a chef along the way! “I learned about the many different diets and allergies patients can have and the variety of menus Northwell creates to support that,” says Boram.
From technical training with the executive chef to nutrition training with registered dieticians, Boram’s externship helped her develop new skills such as menu planning and therapeutic diets. Boram even got to participate in bedside rounds and interactions to see firsthand how our food impacts patients and families.
Throughout her externship, Boram saw just how Northwell is committed to raising the standard for hospital food with Michelin-trained and award-winning Chef Bruno Tison leading the way. Having to create restaurant quality food at a healthier and larger scale was a challenge she enjoyed.
And as for what she’ll remember most from her externship? “It was so rewarding to discover how changing the way you eat can give you a longer lifespan,” says Boram.
Written by: Valerie Pelling, High Point University Graduate ‘19
I was introduced to playing sports from a young age. Playing soccer, lacrosse and everything in between, I saw my fair share of podiatrists, neurologists, and orthopedists for sports related injuries that were often interrupting my athletic career. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, dealing with these injuries and seeing numerous doctors would lead me to my future career path.
In 2015, I headed off to college to major in Business Administration and to play Division 1 Lacrosse at High Point University. While my academics were going well, I faced a season-ending injury in my sophomore year. I was in need of ACL reconstructive surgery which was a tough pill to swallow, considering I would be out for the next 10 months!
While working with physical therapists to get back on the field, it gradually dawned on me that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. With this new passion, I began volunteering at a local hospital. I connected connecting with patients by conducting surveys on how they felt about their hospital visit. My time spent interacting with patients taught me about the importance of customer service and empathy, which are necessary skills in order to work in this field.
Fast-forward to 2019 when the Hospitality in Healthcare Internship Program at Northwell jumped out at me. I was ecstatic about the opportunity to be a part of the patient experience team in the system that repeatedly got me back on my feet. The hospitality internship has opened my eyes to how Northwell truly differentiates themselves from other healthcare systems. The thought and care that goes into improving its patient and customer experience is impressive and the culture the organization prides itself on is sincere and one of a kind.
My experience at Patient Access Services (PAS), a centralized call center for patients and providers, taught me the importance of respect, customer service, and communication skills. PAS is the patient’s first impression for certain practices, and the thoughtfulness and empathy that the customer service agents provide is the reason why Northwell is so great. From the point of view of a long time Northwell patient, any facility that is associated with the Northwell name gives the greatest quality of care. They treat everyone as if they are family, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to work alongside the personnel who make the Northwell patient experience so remarkable.
How North Shore University Hospital is delivering culinary excellence with new In-Room Dining Program
When you think of a fine dining experience, we know hospitals aren’t typically the first location to pop in your head. But thanks to the new In-Room Dining Program at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), they might soon be.
For the launch of the new program, NSUH’s culinary team worked hard to create a menu full of delicious and healthy options in collaboration with their registered dietitians. From fresh bakery bread with eggplant bacon in the morning to linguine al fresco at dinnertime, all the meals were crafted to maximize nutrition without sacrificing taste. Registered dietitians are also available to help patients design a meal plan to help them on their healing journey.
By providing patients with a choice between nutritional, natural and home-made meals, the new services are just one part of Northwell Health’s mission to change the way patients think about hospital food. We believe that food is medicine and as an important part of the healing process menu options must be customized for clinical needs while being lovingly prepared by talented chefs with local and natural ingredients.
“I am proud to be part of an organization that puts the patient first and gives innovative opportunities to its team members,” says Michael Kiley, director of dining services at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). “The days of the stereotypical ‘hospital food’ are over! Our In-Room Dining Program is set up to provide the best dining experience for our patients by serving delicious wholesome cooked to order with restaurant style menu choices. And all are developed by our creative culinary team of chefs and cooks and, overseen by our caring clinical registered dietitians, ordered through our well trained diet technicians, and delivered by professional positive dining associates.”
And nutritional food doesn’t just help our patients heal, it changes the way they feel. “The In-Room Dining program is where patients forget that they are in a hospital and feel they are in a five star hotel,” says Vanessa Barone, diet technician at NSUH.
Helping to deliver that extra attention and care to the patients has only benefited the relationship between our nutrition team and the patients. “It feels good being a dining associate,” says Eloheim Miller. “It makes me feel happy to make the patients happy. They love this service!” It’s an exciting time to join Northwell’s culinary and nutritional teams as even more innovative practices are being implemented across the system.
“Enhancing the patient experience is at the forefront of what we do every day,” says Sean Butler, assistant director of dining services at NSUH. “Giving patients the choice of what to eat and when to eat it helps them gain a sense of control that is usually lost during a hospital stay. Our goal is to make mealtime their favorite part of their stay here!”
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Teamwork award recognizes a team who is flexible, hardworking and made for unwavering support. They successfully collaborate to improve quality, financial performance and/or patient-centric care by leveraging and embracing diversity while creating a feeling of belonging. Meet this year’s finalists.
Deliver the Vote Lenox Hill Hospital
A pair of nurses with a strong commitment to upholding the right to vote, and an amazing determination not to take no for an answer enabled dozens of hospitalized patients to participate in the American electoral system.
Their efforts began two years ago when a patient inquired about voting but at that point, they were unable to help. Ahead of the 2018 election, Lisa Schavrien and Erin Smith decided to be pro-active, exploring ways to help their patients be heard at the ballot box. Their inquiries led them to a series of rejections by boards of elections, non-responses from political offices and a trip to a courtroom in Queens.
With the help from other volunteers, they canvassed their hospital for patients who wanted to vote. In one room, a patient facing brain surgery managed to cast her vote before surgery; in another, a patient’s partner was unable to get a ballot for the patient because they weren’t married, but Lisa obtained a ballot for him.
Voting may not seem like an issue clinical team members need to tackle, and they could find no other hospital making the same effort, but thanks to this team that went above and beyond, 75 Northwell patients were able to cast their ballots.
ECMO-TO-GO Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Southside Hospital
Made up of a team of well-honed specialists, ECMO-TO-GO takes its life-saving skills wherever they are needed, elevating the level of care available to seriously ill patients. The team develops its successes with the cardiopulmonary bypass technique through continuity of communication and care delivered by all team members, commitment to continuous improvement and the depth of care provided by experts from across Northwell. The innovative approach of the team traveling to the patient rather than the other way around means a highly qualified, seasoned team is available to the sickest of patients. With a mortality rate of about 50 percent in these kinds of patients, the concept of such a team grew out of the establishment of an acute lung injury program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the launch of a heart transplant program. Northwell physicians recognized the need to provide stable, quality care as quickly as possible, leading to the ECMOTO- GO program.
The strength of the group comes from their ability to harness their differences in expertise to meet the dire needs of a complicated patient population. They do so with seamless coordination, deep compassion, and deliberate communication ultimately forging something stronger than any individual person.
Food as Health Implementation Team Long Island Jewish Valley Stream
Team members have put reliable access to food at the center of a pioneering effort to improve the health of their patients. After people in multiple departments recognized that some patients had trouble finding affordable, nutritious food when they returned home, a team came together to brainstorm some solutions. Their conclusions: provide discharged patients with the resources to find affordable foods and to prepare meals that would help restore them to health.
The Food as Health (FAH) Program screens patients from the outpatient wound care center, and one inpatient unit for food insecurity. Patients in need with nutrition-related conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, unintentional weight loss) are referred to the appropriate FAH service arm for support. Patients who are mobile and able to cook for themselves are referred to the FAH hospital-based onsite resource center. The patient is provided two days’ worth of nutritious emergency food, nutrition education and counseling, and referrals to community resources.
The collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary workgroup to identify clinical partners, establish workflows, reports and outcomes is a significant reason for the successful implementation of the FAH program. The team continues to work together to identify the outcome measures and establish reporting to demonstrate improvement in patient outcomes and hospital data such as decreased readmissions.
Inpatient Charge Capture (IPCC) Corporate, Revenue Cycle Operations, Medical Group
When a small group of data-savvy professionals began examining the question of whether Northwell was billing and collecting for every professional service provided in hospitals, it quickly became clear that they needed more expertise.
The question of revenue capture is a long-standing one and quantifying it and executing a process across the health system was huge challenge. The team grew to involve several Information Services disciplines and data experts and as it grew, so did the project. Instead of finding a basic report on where to find the revenue opportunities, the team produced much more. They came up with a real-time, web-based tool that allows service lines and/ or individuals to know what the missing billing opportunities are daily/weekly/monthly. It allows the user to filter by service line, hospital, provider and unit. The tool is easy to navigate and provides a weekly “subscription” service for providers.
The deep dive in the collaborative effort also identified a $10 million revenue opportunity for Northwell, the result of experts collaborating and using their own areas of expertise to produce a positive outcome.
Northwell Transfusion Medicine Northwell Health Labs
A team of professionals collaborated to take on the challenge of ensuring Northwell hospitals maintained fresh and adequate supply of platelets to cope with both routine and emergency use. Maintaining a blood product supply is essential to optimal patient care, but daily usage can be difficult to forecast. Platelets, expensive to produce, test and store, have a short shelf life and frequently expire before they can be used.
This team’s bold solution to meeting the need and reducing costly waste was to develop a delivery system that moves blood products throughout the health system, with many ultimately winding up at the hospitals that routinely need them the most. Breaking away from the existing system, the team began with data, figuring out a system to outline a new distribution process. That birthed a “Round Robin” transportation system to reduce supplemental and emergency deliveries. The concept of rotating platelets from the community hospitals to the final destination of one of two tertiary hospitals is based on usage. Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital combined utilize as many as 50 units a day for Cardiac, Trauma, Surgical, Oncology and Transplant services. Through extensive monitoring and trending of patient platelet needs, a dramatic savings of more than $200,000 was realized in 2018 in expiration waste.
School-Based Vocational Services South Oaks Hospital
A committed group of professionals provides students challenged by intellectual and developmental disabilities with services that are tailored to individuals from 27 school districts across Long Island. Students receive coachin g, job readiness training and social skills development in both a classroom and professional setting with more than 100 participating companies with the goal of promoting independence and developing skills to prepare these young adults to enter the workforce after graduation.
The collaboration of these team members led to 64% of the graduating students finding employment post-graduation. On a daily basis, this team manages to touch the lives of more than 200 youths and parents, on Long Island. Nearly all of the team members work remotely and are required to travel throughout their day to meet the needs of the various sites they are working to serve.
The team has been able to create new approaches to learning in school settings by implementing in-school businesses where students can improve work readiness skills. Through personal dedication and putting creativity to work, they are making big differences in the lives of these students.
The Fin Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Experts with a diverse set of skills devised and conducted the first pilot clinical trial of the Fin, a novel 3D-printed swim prosthesis designed for use in a recreational pool setting. The dedicated group was seeking ways to improve recreational opportunities for people with lower-limb amputations, who, according to studies, are less likely to participate in physical activity than the general population.
Often working on their own time, they established protocols to ensure a thorough test that respected each individual’s dignity and needs while examining all aspects of the prosthesis. The most common design for a swim prosthesis has a fixed angle foot (“ankle foot”) that is at 90 degrees with the floor, which, while it is easy to use in the water, is not useful when walking over ground or transitioning into and out of the water. The 3-D printing also significantly lowers the typical cost of the prosthesis.
All participants in the test found the prosthesis easy to put on and take off. The majority (71%) of participants reported being extremely satisfied with the prosthesis.
Every member of the multidisciplinary team brought to the project their passion for wanting to improve the quality of life, participation and inclusion for individuals with lower limb amputations.
Barbecue season is here and our Northwell Health chefs have prepared the perfect dish to wow guests at your next event! Learn how to prepare a Spring Duck Salad that’s as healthy as it is delicious.
Spring Duck Salad:
Preparation Time:15 mins Cooking Time: 30 mins Total Yield: 6 salads Equipment: Blender or robo coupe, saute pan, tongs, spoon, bowl, cutting board knife
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Pat duck breast dry and using a sharp knife, score the skin with a cross- hatch pattern.
The first step is to score the fat to help it render more efficiently. Make very shallow cuts in a tight crisscross pattern across the surface of the duck. With a sharp knife, this requires virtually no pressure: just slide the blade along, while barely breaking through the skin. If you prefer to render out more of the fat, simply make deeper cuts. Do not be tempted to remove it prior to cooking. That layer of fat protects the meat, allowing you to cook it gently and evenly; because duck is best served medium-rare.
Start the glaze: toast the chile pieces in a skillet, pressing them down firmly with a spatula for a few seconds until they release a toasty aroma, then flip them, and press down the other side. Place the chiles into a small bowl, cover with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the soaking water.
In a blender or robo coupe: combine the ancho chiles, the reserved soaking liquid, garlic, oregano, pepper, cumin, honey, pinot noir and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down and stirring frequently. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the glaze for the dressing.
Place 2 of the duck breasts seasoned with salt skin side down in a pan on medium-low* heat. Sear for 6 minutes until richly brown and the skin is crispy, flip and sear the underside for 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and repeat this procedure with the remaining breasts.
Take the remaining ancho glaze and brush the top of each of the duck breasts. Place the baking sheet into the center of the preheated oven at 325 degrees and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Sautee the corn with a bit of the leftover rendered duck fat.
To make the dressing: blend together the dressing ingredients: ancho glaze reserved, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, honey, and salt
Once the duck breasts have been sliced, plate up individual servings by arranging the rocket greens on the plate. Fan out the duck breast slices and sprinkle the radish slices, mango, and avocado over the top of the salad. Place the julienned scallions on each of the salads and sautéed corn on top- drizzle on the dressing.
*When duck breast is seared at a higher temperature, the flesh quickly cooks before enough fat has rendered out, leaving you with a thick, flabby layer of fat over tough meat. When you use gentle heat, the fat has time to render off, while heat slowly transfers to the flesh through the buffer of the thick skin layer. This gives you tender flesh with a minimal gradient, as well as delicious, crisp skin.
North Shore University Hospital wins Northwell Health’s 2019 Chefs Challenge
Recently, five Northwell Health hospitals competed in the 2019 Chefs Challenge! Teams had 90 minutes to prepare a healthy and delicious meal with a salmon appetizer, filet mignon entree, and an apple dessert – meals that could potentially be served to patients in our hospitals. After presenting to our judges for tasting, North Shore University won first place in the competition. Rounding out the winners were LIJ Valley Stream Hospital in second and Southside Hospital in third.
Five Northwell Health hospitals are competing for a chance to be named the winner of the 2019 Chefs Challenge on May 23rd. Tasked with cooking a healthy and nutritious meal, each team will have 90 minutes to prepare a one-of-a-kind meal with a salmon appetizer, filet mignon entree, and an apple dessert. Each team will have three chefs and one certified dietitian who will work together to prepare a meal for guest judges. Meet the teams competing at the Chefs Challenge!
The Southside Hospital team is excited to be able to cook healthy, high-end restaurant quality food that they serve in our hospitals. They are also looking forward to seeing the variety of creative healthy dishes being prepared and presented by the other culinary teams.
Executive Chef, 4 months at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fresh herbs
Chief Clinical Dietitian, 15 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Avocados and baby spinach
Cook, 3 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Good olive oil, cauliflower, quinoa, carrots, garlic and cilantro
2nd Cook, 1 year at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Broccoli and Quinoa
The LIJ Valley Stream team is most excited about showcasing their talents. Executive Chef Patty Sobel says, “I really want to showcase how improved my team at Orzac Rehab and LIJ Valley Stream Hospital has become. I have worked with this team for 18 months and they are rising with culinary skills like the mighty phoenix!”
Executive Chef, 5 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: fresh ginger, fennel, oranges, earthy spices like turmeric and cumin, fresh basil, lemon verbena
Chief Clinical Dietitian, 18 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fresh vegetables, fruit, and fresh herbs
Cook, 20 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Salmon with yellow and julienned red peppers, fresh herbs, chervil parsley, chives, tarragon and fresh garlic
Cook, 4 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Grains- quinoa & farro and fresh grouper with kale swiss chard or spinach
The North Shore University Hospital team is most excited about getting to showcase the culinary abilities they learned in previous culinary experiences and apply them to a healthcare setting.
Chef de Partie, 9 months at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fermented soybean paste
Laura Zelenka Dufresne
Registered Dietitian, 28 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Asparagus
Chef de Partie, 14 months at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Brussel sprouts
Sous Chef, 20 months at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Turmeric
The Lenox Hill Hospital team is excited to collaborate and create dishes that are appetizing, appealing, and healthy enough to fit the Northwell Healthy Choice criteria! These are challenges we come across every day so we continuously educate and put into practice strategies for adjusting diets to be nutritious and enjoyable. This competition gives us an opportunity to think outside of the box and prepare meals that will leave patients feeling healthy and satisfied.
Robert Della Badia
First Cook, 1.5 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Any type of grain is a great healthy ingredient that can be used for many delicious preparations.
Registered Dietitian, 2 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Pine nuts & quinoa.
Claudio Natalio Bistro
Cook, 2.5 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Red quinoa and tofu.
First Cook, 4.5 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fish and mango salsa.
The Huntington Hospital team is excited to see the delicious dishes the Chef teams have compiled. They are also excited to work and compete with a group of extremely talented chefs that they can all learn and draw expertise from, while serving people great healthy food when they need it most.
Executive Chef, 1 year at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: There is no one ingredient, but I love to prepare dishes using great quality, seasonal ingredients
Registered Dietitian, 1.5 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fruit, herbs, and potatoes.
Chef, 7 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Fish, Fresh Vegetables
Chef, 7 years at Northwell
Favorite healthy ingredients to cook with: Butternut squash, greek yogurt, tomatillos and chicken thighs
The Spark! Challenge: Educating high school students for future healthcare careers
The 5th annual Spark! Challenge was larger than ever with 74 Northwell teams, and 900 students participating throughout the year! Students from high schools across Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester and New York City were able to directly experience and explore the wide variety of careers available in healthcare. By connecting students, educators, and Northwell Health professionals, the Spark! Challenge is helping to reach, engage and inspire students to consider some traditional and non-traditional healthcare careers.
We talked to Northwell team members who hosted students at their sites, as well as the teachers of the visiting schools to hear how the Spark! Challenge makes an impact on our students.
Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) – North Campus
At Staten Island University Hospital’s (SIUH) North Campus, students from St. Joseph Hill Academy participated in a mock trauma with life-like mannequins. After exciting tours of the OR and ICU, students also had the opportunity to meet and talk with the surgical team.
Jennifer Pla, St. Joseph Hill Academy teacher, was impressed by the engagement the students had with the doctors and nurses, “It gave students insight into the ongoing education that is necessary for healthcare practitioners to keep their skills sharp and improve patient care. The hands-on activities in the simulation lab allowed students to learn firsthand how difficult and technical these life-saving skills are to perform correctly.”
“The mock trauma scenario provides the ED staff with necessary simulation drills and the students love the realness of the mannequin,” says Anne Marie McDonough, senior director of Rehab Services at SIUH, “Students had an in-depth opportunity to talk with the trauma surgery staff, and they asked some fabulous questions!”
Students from Mepham High School partnered with local EMS services for a demonstration of a distracted driver with an overturned vehicle. With help from the EMS team and Syosset staff, students extracted “patients” in a hands-on scenario, then toured the emergency department and ambulance.
“We had an amazing experience that started with a simulated car accident. The fire department actually cut a ‘driver’ out of the car and followed him through the emergency department,” says Peter Steckle, Mepham High School teacher. “Students got a chance to interact with doctors and healthcare professionals to perform tasks like casting and a laparoscopic procedure. It was an experience they will never forget.”
Debra Clifford, BSN, RN, MHA, director of Patient Care Services has participated in the Spark! Challenge at Syosset Hospital for the past three years, “The Spark! Challenge provides students an opportunity through hands-on simulation to learn about careers in healthcare and has opened pathways for students to volunteer with healthcare professionals, and pursue fields that they may not have previously considered.”
Plainview Hospital’s Spark! Challenge visit gave Bellmore-Merrick CHSD students an interactive experience in the Food & Nutrition Department. From culinary arts and menu design to clinical nutrition and planning, students received an introduction to the culinary world in healthcare before ending the day with a cooking competition.
“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced,” says Michael DiGiovanni, CTE teacher and chef instructor at the Culinary Hospitality Applied Management Program (CHAMP) at Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, “The lessons that our students learned from the chef, cooks, and nutritionists at Northwell made their knowledge of culinary arts real and enticing. The Spark! Challenge experience demonstrated the enjoyment and sensibility of this ever-growing industry.”
Eric Sieden, director of Nutrition and Food Services at Glen Cove, Plainview and Syosset Hospitals agreed, “Our Food & Nutrition team was so excited to be able to host and share their experiences with the culinary students. Through their interactions with the cooking staff, students were able to see how Northwell is providing nutritious-restaurant quality meals to a population that deserves and appreciates it. When I was their age, the Spark! Challenge is something I would have loved and definitely benefited from.”
North Shore University Hospital
At North Shore University Hospital, students from Baldwin High School learned about all of the different career opportunities that exist within nutrition and culinary. Team members led them in a tour of the department before challenging them to cook a healthy meal.
Donna Prager, the Family and Consumer Science teacher at Baldwin High School says, “The Spark! Challenge provides an amazing opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a hospital atmosphere. Students have benefited from interacting with professionals in the culinary and nutrition fields and has helped many students solidify their anticipated career path.”
“The Spark! Challenge is always a great day for our team and the students. We all look forward each year to see the future of healthcare in these passionate students. They get so invested in the cook-off that we host each year,” says Michael Kiley, director of Nutrition and Dining Services at North Shore University Hospital, “It is so gratifying to hear a student determine their career by this program, and we have been fortunate enough to have students tell us that because of the Spark! program they made the decision to go to culinary school. What more can you ask for?”
Hear from our students on why they love the Spark! Challenge:
“The Spark! Challenge allowed me to see how medicine is progressing as new technologies are created. I now know that there are various fields throughout the medical profession which are necessary to be able to take care of patients including medical simulation technicians.”
Cayla CruzSt Joseph Hill Academy Student
“The Spark! Challenge was an eye opening experience that allowed me to expand my knowledge of the different aspects of the culinary field that I wish to pursue.”
Timothy SimsBaldwin High School Student
“The Spark! Challenge has taught me valuable lessons about not only the medical field but also teamwork. Every department comes together like a puzzle in order to create a perfect picture of healthcare. Without teams such as the sterilization unit, the scrub nurse would not be able to provide the proper instruments, which ultimately affects the surgeon. With this information, I do not only feel more prepared for the medical field, but also I am more eager to become a part of such an exciting and successful career.”
Megan PoserTottenville High School Student
“The Spark! Challenge at Staten Island University Hospital offered great exposure to students like myself who were not familiar with the field of medical simulation technology. My eyes have been opened to a new facet of medicine I would not have been introduced to otherwise and a new appreciation for professionals in this field.”
Hanna JonathanSt. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“My overall experience with Spark! has immensely impacted my future and specifically influenced my future career decision in surgery. Watching the entire OR staff contributing to the health of the patients made me realize that in the future, I would like to use my individual skills such as leadership and multitasking to contribute into saving my patients life”
Veronica RzeszutkoTottenville High School Students
“Scrubbing in and seeing a surgery was definitely a highlight of all the trips I have been to throughout the med tech program. This reinforced my motivation to be a member of the medical field and even caused me to consider a career as a CRNA. Also, touring the different departments was a great insight on how medical professionals work daily and utilize different technology. All in all I felt very privileged to be part of such a great opportunity.”
Sarah QuraishiTottenville High School Student
“Spending the day at Staten Island University Hospital was truly a great experience! From seeing the residents in action during their trauma rounds to intubating simulated patients, overall I enjoyed gaining knowledge and learning about the various specialties of the hospital.”
Gabrielle Garcia St. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“During the tour and workshop at the hospital, we were able to observe surgeries and shadow a variety of workers in the medical field and pay close attention to the responsibilities of different professions. This left a huge impact on me personally since it showed me that there’s more to the medical field than just being a doctor. There are vital roles in the medical field that most people don’t hear about and this challenge led me to discover such roles and research them. This helps me better understand the choices I make in my future in the medical field.”
Barthina GebrilTottenville High School Student
“I am extremely grateful to have been able to participate in the Spark! Challenge at Staten Island University Hospital. I was able to observe a trauma simulation conducted by the trauma team, as well as hear about different medical careers. I also got to work in the stimulation lab and practice intubating a patient, drilling for a vein, and putting a tourniquet on a patient.”
Chase CohenSt. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“I am very thankful for and enjoyed the experiences I have gained and the connections that I have made through the Spark! Challenge that I never would have made otherwise.”
Justin Brafman Baldwin High School Student
“My visit to Staten Island University Hospital was truly an eye-opening experience. Gaining insight from the different hospital perspectives, such as Simulation Technicians and Surgeons, broadened my knowledge about the many parts involved in running a medical center.”
Recipe for Success: Northwell’s teaching kitchens provide nutrition education for employees
At Northwell Health, we’re committed to the health and wellness of not only our patients and the communities we serve, but our team members as well.
Food is a foundation for maintaining good health, preventing sickness and maximizing clinical benefit. To help our staff learn the power of healthy food, Northwell has established free teaching kitchens across our healthcare system.
Making Nutrition Fun
Teaching kitchens combine culinary instruction with education to help participants learn which foods they should be eating more or less of and the best techniques for cooking them. Our nutrition education covers various topics including heart health, low refined sugar and high fiber. Team members are encouraged to use the same healthy and whole ingredients that Northwell chefs are using in our hospitals’ kitchens.
Employees who attend receive hands-on instruction from Northwell chefs and have the opportunity to sample a variety of nutritious food. These chefs partner closely with Northwell’s registered dietitians to host events that are not only informative but also fun. Samantha Gitlin, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital, says: “Northwell’s teaching kitchens provide the staff and community with exciting and interesting ways to include fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients and new cooking techniques into their daily lives.”
And these aren’t your typical meals! Recipes include everything from one pot Italian quinoa to Asian lettuce wraps with avocado cilantro slaw.
Bringing People Together
“We receive a lot of positive feedback,” says Katrina Hartog, MPH, RD, CDN, CHES, clinical nutrition manager, “but the most satisfying is when a participant says they’ve never tried the featured food or item, then walks away with the recipe to make it at home and sends their colleagues to participate!” The teaching kitchens have grown in popularity, and are also leveraged for for internal team building events as well as community outreach.
These lessons are just one of the education tools organized by the Food & Nutrition teams to expand cooking confidence and nutrition education for Northwell employees. Other initiatives include recruiting and developing chef and dietitians, implementing Northwell Healthy Choice nutrition criteria and staff education.
“My favorite thing is seeing how it brings everyone in the hospital together. We get participation from doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, dietitians, food service workers, and various ancillary staff,” says Bethany O’Dea, RD, CDN, CNSC, assistant clinical nutrition manager, “it is fun seeing everyone get excited about nutrition.”
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