Meet Michigan Medicine: PFANS team nourishes patients and community

July 5, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Patient Food and Nutrition Services, or PFANS, is dedicated to delivering exemplary food service for adult and pediatric hospital patients, providing medical nutrition therapy for patients across U-M Health, and feeding homebound adults in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities.

“Food and nutrition are a vital part of the patient experience,” said Erica Raymond, M.S., R.D.N., PFANS director. “Quality nutrition is not only a critical component of health, wellness and recovery; food is also a symbol of caring, healing, community and belonging.”

The PFANS team cares for a diverse patient population with complex medical conditions. Team members manage everything from individualized patient nutrition care plans to maintaining reliable systems for procuring, inventorying, preparing and delivering food and nutrition therapy.

“We do all of this with a focus on safety, inclusion and a commitment to quality,” Raymond said.

More than 300 members of the PFANS team fill a variety of unique and important roles within several distinct operational units.

Here’s a quick rundown of the varied roles within PFANS:

Registered dietitian nutritionists

RDNs assess the nutritional status and nutrition needs of patients based on their medical conditions. They collaborate with medical teams to create interventions that are critical to optimizing and improving the patient’s course of care.

Room service operations

Serving University Hospital, Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the room service operations team includes food service and the room service call center.

“Our dietetic assistants and technicians work diligently to meet the needs of our diverse patients,” said Randa Abdallah, R.D.N., room service call center manager. “The call center team works to accommodate patients’ restrictive diets including any medical, personal or religious dietary needs.”

Food procurement and production

Members of this team purchase and prepare food for hospital patients and visitors — and provide meals for homebound adults through Meals on Wheels in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. They also stock nourishment rooms throughout the hospitals.

“In the B2 kitchen, our team works together, preparing food for our patients and our clients,” said Carletta Richardson, food service worker II for Adult Hospitals Room Service and Meals on Wheels.

Every day, her team prepares 1,500 meals for adult hospital patients, and 700 meals for homebound adults.

“We want our patients to enjoy their meal as we provide them with a smile and bring them joy,” said Richardson.

Food service system support

This team is responsible for maintaining safe and reliable care by managing a food database and temperature monitoring system.

“Supply chain disruptions [during the pandemic] have made our work environment quite a challenge, with delayed equipment repairs and ever-changing food availability,” said Curtis Stevens, R.D.N., executive chef for PFANS.

“Our team has risen to the challenge, continuing our mission to provide exemplary nutrition for our patients,” he said.

Formula delivery & Milk Room team

“Nutrition is an essential component to the care and recovery of our patients,” said Roberta Mackniesh, manager of the Children & Women’s Milk Room.

Providing all nourishment except food and parenteral nutrition, the formula delivery and Milk Room team serves approximately 60% of patients in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

“The Milk Room team works cohesively together when the workflow changes and demands the support of each person in order to achieve our mission,” said Mackniesh. “We would not be successful without each other, and we truly are better together!”

In the end, no matter what role they play, members of PFANS work tirelessly to help patients heal and community members thrive, and to provide a positive experience for visitors at Michigan Medicine.

“I am proud of the passion for food and nutrition that our team brings to work every day,” said Raymond. “Our team has demonstrated extraordinary resilience in the face of adversity because of the care and commitment for the work they do, the patients and families they serve, and their role as a member of the greater U-M Health team.”

Did you know that 11 PFANS team members have been at Michigan Medicine for more than 30 years? They are: Julie Anderson, dietetic technician; Cynthia Boersma, food service associate supervisor; Dannette Golightly, accounting clerk senior; Vince Hamilton, hospital cook II; Julie Howard, applications programmer intermediate; Tina Johnson, food service manager; Rita McFarland-Hinton, administrative assistant senior; Carletta Richardson, food service worker II; Ira Trussel, kitchen cleaner; Diane VanBoven, dietetic technician; Abdul Yusuph, food service manager. Thank you to these team members for your dedicated service!

For more on PFANS, watch the recent Adult Hospitals Short Takes video highlighting the work of this valuable team.