Healthier Food

Our food choices impact our bodies and our environment

Chef Tony Verona

Meet Tony, an executive chef and creative food lover who raises his own chickens. Chef Tony has been working within the systemwide Nutrition Committee, comprised of purchasing department members, doctors and dietitians, nutrition services managers and Sustainability and Wellness program leaders, to help University Hospitals source more meats that are free of nontherapeutic antibiotics in their production, as well as sustainably and locally sourced items. He and the Nutrition Services team across UH have also worked in 2015 to increase the provision of clean, fresh tap water over bottled water to reduce waste. At most locations, herb- or fruit-infused water stations were installed in cafeteria areas, and water is served in pitchers instead of bottles for catered meetings and events.*

Systemwide Sustainable and Local Food Spend

National collaboration on market transformative purchases

UH’s 2015 participation in a national sustainable health care market transformation group called Less Meat, Better Meat resulted in peer sharing of research and resources related to the elimination of nontherapeutic applications of antibiotics in meat production. Antibiotics used in animal agriculture are often closely related to antibiotics used for human illnesses, and there is a growing body of evidence that links the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture to antibiotic resistance in human pathogens. In alignment with antibiotic stewardship efforts, UH added a fourth nontherapeutic antibiotic-free meat item to its menus in 2015, resulting in a total of four major antibiotic-free chicken and beef items, or about 20 percent of total meat purchases by weight, purchased systemwide.

Antibiotic-Free Meat Purchases

Healthy Harvest Program

2015 was the third year for Healthy Harvest, a produce provision and nutrition education program for patients who experience barriers to accessing healthful food. Over 900 patients from primary care pediatric, women’s and family medicine and the adolescent youth cancer clinics took part in learning about preparing and purchasing fresh produce. A special event hosting about 50 of these same patients and their families closed out the Healthy Harvest season just before Thanksgiving. Participants reported sustained positive change in their knowledge about buying and cooking fresh produce, and this program was featured on a local NPR and PBS station in early 2016 about “prescribing” food as medicine.

2015 UH Eat Real Food Photo Contest Winner Amy Quinlan

* UH Case Medical Center and UH Ahuja Medical Center accomplished bottled-water-free catering in 2015, with other locations following in 2016.

2015 Progress Report on Sustainability

2015 Progress Report on Sustainability

View the online report or download the summary. You can also view our archived progress reports here.

13 Environmental Excellence awards

UH earned 13 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award. The awards recognize our health system’s achievements in environmental-sustainability programs and improvements during 2015.

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