On October 14, Fresh Advantage’s Managing Director Marydale DeBor, partner Chef Anne Gallagher, and Fresh Advantage affiliate nutritionist Francine Blinten enjoyed “Tea” (a longstanding Yale tradition) with the next crop of eager healthy-food champions on campus at Pierson College. This Fresh Advantage trio was delighted to be the first special guests in the Yale Sustainable Food Program’s 2015–16 speaker series “Women of Food.” The afternoon’s theme was “Women Addressing Food in Healthcare.”


Women in Healthcare

From left: Bella Napier, Professor Stephen Davis, Chef Anne Gallagher, Annie Harper, Marydale Debor, Francine Blinten, and Robert Cole.

Francine discussed the progress being made by the Fresh Advantage team in the “food transformation initiative” they now lead at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Chef Anne (pictured below with several Yale students) prepared a delicious tea with food from the Yale Farm. Dishes included kale bruschetta topped with parmesan, scarlet turnip and squash pancake topped with sour cream and a hot pepper coulis, and roasted beet skewers with pecan-crusted goat cheese drizzled with balsamic reduction.

For those who couldn’t attend the event, an accompanying podcast interview with Marydale is available here. (Please see below the photos for additional information.)


Vegan roasted beets from the Yale Farm

Vegan roasted beets from the Yale Farm

Listening to Marydale’s interview won’t make up for missing the mouth-watering food, but you will hear details of our “hub and spoke” theory of change for hospital food systems. Hospital food service operations can serve as the healthy food “hub” for patient, staff, and visitor meals, and they can support a variety of activities from patient nutrition education, employee wellness, and programs that address food insecurity in the community at large (the “spokes”). In fact, food and nutrition programs that address community health needs, such as food insecurity and malnutrition among seniors, are a creative and effective way for non-profit hospitals to fulfill their community benefit responsibility, a condition of tax-exemption. You’ll also learn which two groups in any hospital are our closest partners in implementing change in hospital food systems. (They may not be your first guess.) Who are they? Marydale specified two groups: plant engineers (“the first people I talk to are the ones who make the building run”) and nurses (“nursing is the other critical piece—nursing is the backbone of the hospital”).

Tune in to learn other features of our Food is Primary Care® approach to ensuring food and nutrition are valued as a central part of health care practice.