The Deep River and District Hospital (DRDH) is the first of 20 participating hospitals to reach the Silver level in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals Program. Pictured above, from left to right, receiving the award on behalf of the hospital is Richard Bedard - DRDH Chief Executive Officer, Jenna Walsh – DRDH Dietitian, Eileen Burke – DRDH Auxiliary President, Bill Proulx – DRDH Manager of Food Services, Chantale LeClerc – Champlain LHIN Chief Executive Officer, Laurie Dojeiji – CDPN Program Manager, Ottawa Heart Institute, and William Willard – DRDH Chief Financial Officer.
Supporting healthy food choices isn’t always easy – but Deep River & District Hospital (DRDH) is leading the way towards healthy eating for our region. DRDH is the first hospital in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network to reach the Silver level in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals program.
Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals is an initiative of the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network (CCPN), which is housed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The vision of the initiative is to create supportive, healthy food environments by making the healthy choice the easy choice for staff, physicians, visitors, patients and volunteers. Hospitals in the region have committed to reducing the unhealthy food and beverage choices and increasing the healthy ones in their cafeterias, vending machines and volunteer and franchise operations.
At a celebratory event held on May 1, Richard Bedard, DRDH Chief Executive Officer, proudly boasted that, “reaching the Silver benchmark is a clear reflection of DRDH’s commitment to investing in the long-term health of the hospital community at large”. Bedard went on to express thanks to the food services staff, Auxiliary volunteers and the entire DRDH team for the time and energy afforded to reach this milestone.
The Healthy Foods program has established Bronze, Silver and Gold level targets for hospitals to work towards. Laurie Dojeiji, Program Manager, CCNP, explained that, “the Silver level reached by the DRDH builds on the tangible changes made at Bronze and includes progressive standards such as expanding the provision of calorie and sodium information at point-of- purchase, reducing processed meats and phasing out sugary beverages”. Laurie also expressed that reaching each milestone “is not a race, it’s a continuum. We are shifting the food landscape so that healthier offerings are more prominent”.
All 20 hospitals in the Champlain region have signed on to this initiative, making it a truly regional program. Chantale LeClerc, Champlain LHIN CEO, emphasized that across the region, “we have to consider what we are serving the thousands of people walking through our hospitals everyday. It didn’t make sense if we were working to get [patients] well and serving junk food to everyone else”.
Jenna Walsh, DRDH Registered Dietitian, noted that the Healthy Foods program has allowed our hospital to lead by example, and be a role model for healthy eating practices not only for other hospitals, but also for organizations across our community.
Richard Bedard concluded that the program is “part of our commitment to a healthy workplace. Promoting healthy food choices in the workplace supports employee health – which in turn, supports our ability to deliver the best possible patient care”.