Director, Food & Nutrition
The Valley Hospital
Dawn Cascio, Director, Food and Nutrition at The Valley Hospital (TVH) in Ridgewood, NJ oversees a diverse and wide-ranging foodservice program which serves 451 beds in additi
on to employees and visitors. In 2010, TVH took Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Care Pledge and committed the hospital to providing more nutritionally sound meal choices and sustainable, local food that doesn’t tax an already overburdened food system. With more than 1 million meals served yearly, it’s been a huge but rewarding undertaking, winning the 2018 Practice Green Health Emerald award in the process.
One particular program to note is the honey bee program. TVH was the first hospital system in New Jersey to introduce rooftop hives. Two TVH managers attended bee-keeping school and they harvest the hive's honey in the summer and fall and sell it. The beeswax is used for lip balm, vapor rub, and hand and foot cream. These products are a major hit and packages created for TVH gift shop sell out quickly.
Four seasonal menus are offered to patients each year making use of locally grown products via New Jersey's Community Supported Agriculture program. The patient ordering process is spoken, with TVH "dining ambassadors" taking individual orders using the CBORD system on iPad mini tablets.
TVH connects with their local community through partnering with a local church for Meals on Wheels. Monday through Friday, each of their 120 clients receives one hot and one cold meal.
I am an AHF member because...
AHF provides me with the tools and resources I need to bring exceptional service, food and care to our patients, physicians and employees.
Why do you like attending national conference?
The networking events are tremendous. The opportunities available to deepen relationships with vendors and other operators mean so much. Strengthening these bonds helps me discover best practices and what products and resources are available in the marketplace to improve my operation.
One of Valley Health's current initiatives is improving patient safety. Can you tell us the steps you are taking to make that happen?
Our clinical nutrition manager participates in Valley's organization-wide daily safety briefing. Additionally, our food and nutrition management team has a daily departmental safety huddle and we use our High Reliability Organization (HRO) tools and terminology to identify and report out safety concerns.
What are your hobbies outside the office?
Running, yoga, spending time with my family at the Jersey shore, and taking my beagle, Charlie B. to the dog park!