With menu items like the hugely popular grilled salmon, turkey dinner and homemade mac and cheese, food and nutrition services are greatly appreciated by thousands of patients, families and staff at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The department has even been featured in a local magazine for its cheap and tasty menu choices. But there’s more to food and nutrition services than just delicious food and exceptional customer service. It is a great example of DHMC’s commitment to creating opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain competitive and meaningful employment, as part of our inclusive hiring practices and community partnerships to become a workplace more diverse.
After a colleague from River Valley Trails secretly named her, Elaine Churchill, Assistant Director of Food and Nutrition Services, returned from vacation this summer to learn that she had won an employment leadership award from the Employment Leadership Committee. New Hampshire job. Now in its thirteenth year, the Employment Leadership Awards are presented annually to 5 New Hampshire companies that demonstrate their commitment to recognizing the skills and contributions that people with disabilities make to the workforce.
Food and Nutrition Services regularly participates in Project SEARCH, an intensive nine-month on-the-job training program at DHMC that helps young Upper Valley residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities gain job skills and lives under the direction of educators, supervisors, clinicians and technicians in departments across the DHMC. Graduates of the program have worked in over 27 different departments.
Elaine is responsible for supervising employees, with and without disabilities, and is a key ingredient in the team’s success. “It’s rewarding to listen to employees to understand their strengths and interests and give them the support they need to succeed. It’s very rewarding to watch them grow. It feels good,” says Elaine.
As a service, Food and Nutrition Services’ responsibilities begin with the preparation and delivery of three meals a day for nearly 400 hospitalized patients, every day of the year. They operate the hospital’s main dining hall and the East Mall Café to serve a combined total of approximately 2,500 customers daily. Meal preparation and restocking of the recently added tech-enhanced “Micro Mart” for employees working nights or weekends, adds an additional 150 daily customers to their impressive total. “We’re a close-knit team and we love getting the job done,” says Elaine. “We are very dedicated to serving our community, in so many ways.”
To celebrate her award, Elaine and her team members will be featured in the September 2022 edition of Business NH Magazine and will be honored at a gala in October.
Project SEARCH is a collaborative effort between DHMC, Hartford (VT) School District, Lincoln Street Inc., New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation, and Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation.
Coming soon! Main dining room open on weekends
Beginning October 1, the Main Dining Room located on Level 2 of the DHMC will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to its regular weekday hours of 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. .