DETROIT – Enough with the hospital food jokes. Hospital food is not what it used to be, and here’s proof. As part of a larger health and wellness initiative, Henry Ford Health System has licensed its hospital food recipes in India’s New Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), the nation’s largest urban center. More than 500 recipes, 200 certified as Heart Smart, will be modified to fit Indian cuisine and sold in corporate food courts and will later be offered for sale in other venues such as schools and home delivery services.
India is one of several global markets to which Henry Ford has extended its medical expertise and innovative tools – this culinary wellness initiative being just one part of it. “We take an enormous amount of pride in mission based healthcare,” says Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, CEO of the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, which facilitated the deal. “We use these recipes in our hospitals every day. They’re healthy. They’ve all been given a great deal of care and thought. It’s a simple but very valuable way to share our mission of health and well-being.”
That mission couldn’t come at a better time. With India’s emerging economy and changing lifestyle, especially in urban populations, lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease are skyrocketing. India’s children are some of the most affected. A recent study by the Cadi Research Foundation found obesity rates among urban children in New Delhi has increased 50% in the last ten years alone. Amber Malhotra, Managing Director of the first licensee of the Henry Ford Health System recipes says, “It’s the right time to bring a holistic healthcare approach to India. We must focus on managing the wellness of healthy people, and food is a wonderful first step in that direction.”
Henry Ford Health System took its first step in that direction more than a decade ago,when the decision was made to overhaul its hospital food. “It was really an industry-wide problem. Providing food to patients was viewed solely as a necessity, not the core business of healthcare, and that’s how the reputation of bad hospital food became what it was,” says John Miller, System Director of Culinary Wellness. “At Henry Ford, we knew we needed to rethink this whole concept. What resulted was an evolution in hospital dining.” No more deep fat fryers. High fat, high sodium foods replaced with healthy alternatives, including lean meats. Miller and his team replaced or revamped those recipes and even created a room-service type arrangements that gave many patients and their visitors fresh, cooked-to-order options.
Offering items like a chicken wrap and chicken biryani, a native Indian dish made with rice, two food courts are now officially open for business in New Delhi, and deals for several new locations have been signed, including one with a university. Mark Coticchia, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer for Henry Ford Health System, says it’s a partnership that benefits both groups. “The people of India have more access to transformative, sustainable health and wellness alternatives, and the deal allows Henry Ford to expand its services to the people of Michigan."
Brenda D. Craig
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