Hospital Reduces Climate Footprint in Health Care Food Services to Win National Award
Patti Oliver, director of nutrition, UCLA Health (right), accepts a "Food, Climate, Health Connection Award from Hillary Bisnett with the Health Food in Health Care Program (right).
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was honored with a "Food, Climate, Health Connection Award" from Health Care Without Harm , an international coalition whose Healthy Food in Health Care program works with hospitals across the country to help improve the environmental sustainability of their food services.
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was one of only three hospitals to receive an award in the category that recognizes facilities that are taking significant steps toward reducing their climate footprint. The awards were presented at CleanMed 2013, which was held April 24-26 in Boston, MA.
"We are honored to receive this prestigious award from Health Care without Harm that validates our efforts to promote optimal health, while also helping to protect the environment," said Dr. David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health. "Our nutrition team has been at the forefront in developing initiatives that encourage healthier food choices to purchasing sustainable foods to recycling and composting in our food service areas. This is part of our vision to support a healthier community."
The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center's hospital food service team took the following steps in 2012 that the award acknowledges:
- Offered at least one protein-balanced vegetarian or vegan menu option at each meal for patient and cafeteria food.
- Prioritized the purchase of food and beverages that are produced without use of fossil-fuel based fertilizers.
- Reduced waste in food services including, but not limited to tracking food waste, composting and providing food donations.
- Implemented reusable biodegradable food service ware in patient meals such as utensils and plates.
- Initiated program offering hospital employees reusable water bottles to discourage use of disposable water bottles as a means of reducing waste.
- Under the facility's energy and water conservation practices, an energy audit was conducted resulting in the purchase of more energy efficient commercial foodservice equipment. In addition, employees were given additional training to turn off appliances when not in use.
"It is increasingly important that the world recognize the link between our food system, climate change and human health, and take steps to reduce our environmental footprint," said Gary Cohen, president and founder, Health Care Without Harm. "Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has demonstrated an overall excellence in understanding this connection, and is engaging their hospitals food service department as part of the solution."
The award is one of four categories of sustainable food awards given this year by the Healthy Food in Health Care program to recognize significant achievement as well as leadership in health care food service.
By serving foods that are produced and distributed in ways that reduce resource and energy consumption as well as taking other operational steps, health care food service operations can play an influential role in decreasing the food system impacts on the environment.
Award applicants were given points based on levels of achievement in the following areas: reduction of the amount of meat and poultry purchased; prioritizing purchase of food and beverages that are produced without use of fossil-fuel based fertilizers and pesticides; waste prevention, donation and composting; and energy and water conservation.
The UCLA Health, which comprises the UCLA Hospital System and the UCLA Medical Group and its affiliates, has provided a high quality of health care and the most advanced treatment options to the people of Los Angeles and the world for more than half a century. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, and UCLA Health - Santa Monica Medical Center (which includes the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital) deliver hospital care that is unparalleled in California. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is consistently ranked one of the top five hospitals in the nation and the best in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report. UCLA physicians and hospitals continue to be world leaders in the full range of care, from maintaining the health of families to the diagnosis and treatment of complex illnesses.