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.
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!”
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.”
The Picture of Health: Chef Russ Ficke talks about a passion for healthy food
Syosset Hospital Chef Russ Ficke has had a transformational healthcare journey as part of our team. He’s lost 50 pounds by exercising and looking at food in a different way. His drive to make healthy lifestyle changes and better food choices have also helped him become even more passionate about his work as a hospital chef. That’s why we couldn’t wait to share his perspective on our wellness initiatives, get the scoop on the quality of chefs Northwell Health is looking to hire, and hear his advice for those starting out in the culinary industry.
What’s it like to be Chef at Syosset Hospital?
It is a real honor to be able to care for people who are giving you the opportunity to make them healthier. Most of our patients at Syosset Hospital choose to come here for a procedure. They selected us over many other facilities. We must rise to the occasion in service and hospitality in every instance.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out in a career in your field?
Work hard and learn every aspect of the culinary industry — beyond dining, travel and tourism. I have worked in fine dining, catering halls, country clubs and hotels. I also taught Culinary Arts at a vocational school. There are many institutional facets of this industry. By accumulating knowledge of these various business lines, I am a more rounded chef.
What should people know about your team? How does this speak to the quality of chefs that Northwell Health is looking to hire?
I am grateful to work with a group of professionals who share the same focus: providing world-class service to our patients, visitors, and coworkers. I partner with my leadership team, as well as with the clinical nutrition team, to assure we are delivering the best service. I spend a lot of time with my culinary team teaching them new techniques, trends, and skills. I even learn things from them.
What is Northwell’s Ultimate Chef Competition?
Chefs from 17 of Northwell Health hospitals have competed in the Ultimate Chef Healthy Cooking Competition for the past seven years at Glen Cove Hospital. Chefs are challenged with serving up delicious, restaurant-quality meals, but without the added high fat, calories or sodium. I have three first-place finishes and a third-place finish. For the past two years, I’ve helped run the event instead of competing in it.
Each appetizer and dessert had to be less than 250 calories with no more than 250 milligrams of sodium and less than 35 percent total calories from fat. Entrees needed to be under 450 calories, with no more than 500 milligrams of sodium and 35 percent of total calories from fat. Teams are also sometimes given a mystery ingredient to incorporate into their original three-course meal.
How do you as a Chef promote Northwell Health’s commitment to wellness?
Northwell health is committed to providing healthy meals and options to our 66,000+ employees. This focus on wellness extends from our patients to our cafeterias and internal catering, all the way to our vending machines. We also provide educational sessions and cooking classes around these initiatives to promote healthier nutrition.
What is something that people should know about Northwell Health as an employer that they might not know already?
Northwell Health values and promotes many different training opportunities to assist us in our career growth. I am fortunate to work for an organization that invests in me.
At Northwell, we’re flexible and not afraid to push boundaries. So, the forecast and eventual onset of rain that showed up at the finale of this year’s employee Rally didn’t stop our team members from making unforgettable memories together and celebrating the “Story of us.” There was nothing but sunny and smiling faces at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on Saturday, July 21 when thousands of Northwell team members gathered for this incredible event.
This year’s Rally was all about storytelling and started at the Wellgate, our healthy version of a tailgate. In the “Story of Us” zone, guests could visit “Did You Know?” tents to learn about different initiatives for Northwell team members– such as myWellness, the Gift of Life (Northwell’s organ donation partnership program) and the work of our Foundation (we are a non-profit after all).
It was in this zone that Northwell even beat a world record! Rally guests worked together to help Northwell break the Guinness World Record for the most color by number contributions. 829 participants colored in a giant mural depicting our health system, beating the previous record of 455 participants.
In the “Story of Life” zone, Rally guests experienced the power of connection. Here guests could taste healthy choice recipes crafted by 12 Northwell chefs from our hospitals. They also discovered the healing power of pet therapy, getting the opportunity to meet with Northwell’s furriest team members. Poetry was also part of the day, with poets writing a personalized haiku for guests based on their own stories.
Rally guests could then walk through the different features highlighting our “Stores of Curiosity”. Guests could participate in training in an ambulance simulator or support one of Northwell’s next innovations by signing the “What if” wall which gave an inside look into some of our health system’s next big ideas. The zone’s Hall of Innovation was another big hit at the Rally. From a telehealth bike that gives patients access to supervised pulmonary rehabilitation therapy remotely, to a Northwell Health skill for Amazon Alexa that delivers current wait times for our patients, Northwell’s team members are developing innovations that will help shape the future of health care.
Other featured initiatives included: the Fin (the first 3D-printed, amphibious, prosthetic leg that allows amputee swimmers to navigate in and out of the water), Bottle Cap (an app that provides patients with automated text messaging and online coaching to learn about and reduce their consumption of alcoholic beverages,) and Project Polaris (a multi-year journey to reimagine HR processes).
In our “Stories of Celebration” zone, we celebrated our diverse and growing team of more than 66,000, including the stories of our President’s Awards winners and finalists, service awards recipients, and those who volunteered for service in last year’s Hurricane Harvey and Maria relief efforts. Our employees are so much more than their scrubs and stethoscopes and Rally guests were able to look, listen, touch and feel the exceptional stories of their fellow team members in our immersive display celebrating Northwell’s every day heroes.
Finally, at the Activity Stage, employees moved to the beat at the Zumba class led by a Northwell team member, Daniel Manalo, and danced to the music of the Hot Seeds, our very own physician band.
After the Wellgate experience, attendees entered the amphitheater for the main show, an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. From a guest speaker to President’s Awards Winner tributes to the grand prize drawing of our employee walk challenge to special performances, team members danced and cheered all night long.
It of course wouldn’t be a Rally without Michael J. Dowling, Northwell’s President and CEO. It’s not often your CEO make their big entrance on a boat! His remarks, as always, inspired everyone in attendance and he reminded team members to continue to innovate for our patients and our community.
Advancing Northwell’s spirit of innovation was the Rally’s guest speaker, Mick Ebeling. Mick founded Not Impossible Labs and works hard to expand the possibilities of technology to provide solutions for fundamental human needs, causing waves in and out of the world of healthcare. His powerful speech inspired Northwell employees to continue to view the world differently and to challenge the idea of impossible.
Closing the 2018 Northwell Rally was a spectacular performance from Michael Elroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices and a moving display from The Silhouettes.
The excitement in the air was contagious, with team members feeling reinvigorated for what lies ahead. Of course, the excitement was never higher than when it came time to announce the big winners for the Walk to Dublin employee step challenge. The winning team was announced, with all ten members receiving a free trip to Dublin. But that wasn’t all – as a surprise, two more teams were awarded the grand prize for a total of thirty employees headed to Dublin!
As the event came to a close, there was one impassioned thought running through the crowd: we can’t wait to see what the Story of Us brings next year!
Under the bold and delicious vision of Northwell Health’s VP of System Food Services Corporate Michelin Chef, Bruno Tison, the recipe for hospital food as you once knew it has changed. Michelin Chef Tison, along with other award-winning Michelin chefs like Andrew Cain, is helping Northwell Health redefine the culinary experience for patients, their families, and Northwell employees.
“I want to help cook better food for people who really need it,” says Chef Tison, “Northwell Health is a pioneer for redefining hospital food for 23 hospitals.”
A recipe for culinary success.
A native of northern France, Chef Bruno Tison began his culinary education at Belgium’s prestigious Institut Technique Des Metiers De L’Alimentation, where he graduated with highest honors and was awarded first prize for excellence in culinary achievement. His more than 30 years of experience includes serving as Executive Chef of the legendary Plaza Hotel in New York City. Chef Tison’s nouvelle cuisine has earned critical acclaim. Most recently, his leadership enabled the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in California to receive the celebrated Michelin Star recognition for three consecutive years.
Chef Andrew Cain started working under an executive chef at the age of 15, received a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Restaurant Management and went to work at the Fairmont with Chef Tison 10 years ago. They’ve made a great team ever since. This relationship is now helping to dramatically elevate Northwell Health’s food experience.
The two believe that crafting delicious meals shouldn’t change by location. “Whether it’s a patient in a bed, or a person in the restaurant,” says Chef Cain, “when it comes to cooking great food, you truly have to care about it.”
Redefining the culinary experience.
Having reached the pinnacle of the culinary profession, Chefs Tison and Cain were looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to bring the highest level of culinary expression not just to people who could “afford it” but to people who truly needed it, people whose lives could be changed by a world-class food experience.
That’s why Chef Tison joined Northwell Health and later brought Chef Cain onboard, with Chef Tison stating, “I came to Northwell because they are very serious about making this shift in the healthcare food industry happen.”
Chef Tison has championed a number of important initiatives for Northwell’s culinary efforts:
Bring outstanding talent from the outside and retrain existing chefs.
Having worked with Chef Tison for 10+ years, Chef Andrew Cain shared his passion for elevating the food experience for people who genuinely need it. With a background in Four- and Five-Star restaurants in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Chef Cain is helping Chef Tison bring a Michelin-inspired sensibility to Northwell Health. Northwell is also partnering with the Culinary Institute of America to attract the next generation of great chefs.
Knowing that Northwell is a place known for the most innovative clinical technology, Chef Tison is bringing this same commitment to modernizing the food service area.
Higher quality food.
This includes fresh, locally-sourced food instead of frozen, replacing instant coffee with fresh coffee, getting rid of candies/sugar and eliminating processed food.
Chef Tison’s ultimate goal is to deliver restaurant-quality food to patients, families and staff. “It’s a new frontier,” says Chef Tison, “and that’s exciting for new and tenured chefs alike.” He even has an eye on applying for inclusion in the Michelin Guide!
At Northwell Health, we already stand out as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma. Now we’re aiming to be the healthiest. Our leadership is focused on food and nutrition as well as fitness and mental wellbeing initiatives to build a healthier workplace for all our employees.
“In the past few years, we’ve been able to do more in food and nutrition to create a better, more effective infrastructure for wellness at work and it’s because we’ve had a lot of great support from leadership.”
–Michelle Milgrim, Employee Wellness Manager
It all starts with the ingredients. Over the past two years, we’ve worked to ensure that our chicken, turkey and beef burgers are 100 percent antibiotic free. Our fish is sustainably sourced and harvested and we work, as much as possible, with local farms across Long Island, NJ and the Hudson Valley to source local produce. Through Community Supported Agriculture, employees are given the opportunity to get local produce – freshly harvested that morning — delivered weekly to their offices.
With great ingredients, we need great chefs. Northwell Health has four Michelin Star chefs that are driving chef talent development including our new AVP, system food services Bruno Tison. Our new partnership with the Culinary Institute of America’s fellowship program is going to bring culinary students into our pipeline of talent.
Now that we have put wellness on our plates and in our kitchens, we’re focusing on wellness in other areas. For starters? We want employees to be eating well at home. So, we’ve invested in teaching kitchens and work in close collaboration with chefs and registered dietitian teams to create hands-on demonstrations that have become a popular, accessible tool for staff. And we’re supporting these initiatives by providing healthier options throughout our facilities, not just the patient and cafeteria menu. We’re updating our coffee shops, gift shops, and vending machines so that the default options at our facilities will be healthy ones.
Though these changes are already making an impact to our employees’ wellness, they’re not the only lifestyle initiatives that we’re putting in place to support the wellbeing of our people. We’re putting our best foot forward through on-site stairwell and fitness campaigns and corporate walking challenges like our Walk to Dublin contest. As we pursue promoting wellness for our bodies, we also seek wellness for our mental health. We offer opportunities for stress management at our sites through guided meditation and reiki, and simply giving our employees time to unwind. We’re also making our facilities mom-friendly. By August, all of our sites will be equipped with dedicated lactation rooms to make pumping at work more accessible and comfortable for mothers.
At Northwell, every role matters, every person matters and every healthy moment matters. We’re invested in our employees’ health, inside and out and we continuously strive toward making our facilities a more nutritious, fit-friendly and welcoming place to work.
Be part of this transformation. See where you fit in here.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
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