On 25th May 2023, the District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA) Program Services Company in the Us capital awarded its third Healthy Hospital Initiative (HHI) Cooking Competition winners, which recognises creators of the best plant-based dishes. Winners were presented with trophies and monetary awards. The event was sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 

Stephanie McBurnett, RDN, nutrition educator for the Physicians Committee, said, “This event was a great partnership, working together to make healthy food a central part of healthcare. Providing patients with healthy plant-based options will do more than help them recover. It creates a teachable moment in which DC residents can learn what foods they should eat to treat and prevent chronic disease.”

The 2023 HHI Cooking Competition Awards were given to the following hospitals and individuals:

  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital: Overall Winner: Chef Artis Crum
  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital: Best Entrée: Open-Faced Purple Carrots Ravioli
  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital: Best Side Dish: Carrot Cilantro Couscous Salad
  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital: Best Dessert: Vegan Carrot Halwa Pistachio Trifle
  • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital: Taste & Appearance: Chef Artis Crum
  • Psychiatric Institute of Washington: Originality & Video Quality: Chef Kevin Brown
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center: Nutrition & Creativity: Chef Matthew Galo

This DCHA recognition initiative is part of a national trend among hospitals to make more plant-based meals available. In May 2023, Santa Clara Valley Healthcare in California became the first public hospital system in the nation to include Universal Meals (plant-based food free of animal ingredients and the top nine allergens) on the cafeteria menu for employees and visitors. Although progress has been made, it is believed that Lebanon is the only country that has fully vegan hospitals for now. 

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit of more than 17,000 doctors that promotes nutrition education for medical staff and access to plant-based meals in hospitals.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.