2023 AHF Award Winners

Each year AHF is pleased to highlight the best of the self-operated foodservice industry in senior living and healthcare. AHF awards operators and business partners for their contributions across multiple awards. The 2023 Awardees are:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Cooley & Tom Cooley

Making A Difference Award: Karen Horsley, Sysco Corporation

Exemplary Leadership Award: Ryan Conklin, UNC Rex Healthcare

Future Horizons Award: Christopher Voorman, The House of the Good Shepherd at Riverwalk Village

Partnership & Leadership Award: David Reeves & Armando Llecho, Lee Memorial Health System

Spotlight Award: Caroline Parcel, Hunterdon Health

Sustainability Award: Lisa Yeung, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer

Benchmarking Excellence Award: Julie Meddles, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Chapter of the Year Award: AHF NY Chapter

Presidential Service Awards: Ami Patel, UCSF Medical Center, Mission Bay and Sergio Alonso, Lee Memorial Health System

Use the descriptions below to learn more about why each awardee was selected for their prestigious award.

Lifetime Achievement Award

AHF’s Lifetime Achievement Award is our Association’s highest honor awarded to our members. This award celebrates the leadership and spirit of Jacques Bloch and Angelo Gagliano, our legacy co-founders. Jacques Bloch served Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York for thirty-seven years. He was a POW in WWII and a winner of the IFMA Gold Plate. Mr. Bloch helped create the American Society for Healthcare Foodservice Administrators (ASHFSA) organization and served as its first president. Angelo Gagliano was also a leader in ASHFSA. He served New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center. Mr. Gagliano’s vision was to find effective and innovative methods to combat the incursion of contract management companies into hospital food service. He teamed up with Mr. Bloch to form The National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management (HFM). Both of these visionary leaders initiated intense and rigorous changes to our industry and we honor operators career by highlighting them with this prestigious award.

Awarded To: Mary Cooley & Tom Cooley

Click Here to view their Award Video

The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Mary Cooley and Tom Cooley. A unique submission, this husband-and-wife team have been relentless in their work for AHF and as an advocate for self-operated foodservice as the greatest value to our healthcare organizations. 

Tom had the great fortune to begin his career in the mid 1980’s and was able to get to know both Jacques and Angelo almost immediately by virtue of being on the east coast and because the healthcare foodservice community was so closely knit.  Mary had begun her foodservice career a few years earlier than Tom and was already an Assistant Director at one of Philadelphia’s largest acute care hospitals. 

Mary knew all the power players in Philadelphia foodservice and made it possible for Tom to get to know them as well. Upon graduation in 1986, Mary would leave Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to work for Don Marsh at Pennsylvania Hospital (Ben Franklin’s Hospital) and Tom would go to work for Pam Ferguson at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ. A year later, in September of 1987, they would cater their own wedding with most of Philadelphia South Jersey Foodservice royalty in attendance. Since then, there has not been a time that Tom and Mary Cooley have not been actively engaged in service to AHF’s founding associations: American Society for Healthcare Foodservice Administrators (ASHFSA), National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management (HFM), and AHF itself, or training and mentoring students as future managers or clinicians. 

To ensure they did not overlap their leadership, Mary and Tom served as leaders at varying times throughout the years while also trading off conference attendance to ensure childcare. Mary became President of the Chapter in 1997. This allowed Tom to serve as Lehigh Valley Dietetic Association President from 1998 to 1999 and become Philadelphia ASHFSA’s President for Y2K.  In a reversal of sorts, Tom was awarded ASHFSA Trendsetter Award in 2005 and Mary received hers in 2009. 

Despite not being officers, Tom and Mary did conference planning, member recruitment, wrote articles for “The Innovator” so they were never far from the decision-making process at the national level.  They also had the good fortune to be on the Rolodex’s of Donna Boss, Gerry White, Ruby Puckett, Paul King, Karen Weisberg, John Lawn, and Beth Lorenzini.  Relationships with the industry’s top journalists kept them close to the action at all times. In the meantime, Tom and Mary had done their fair share of mentoring the next generation of healthcare foodservice leaders. Tim Bentzel, Kim Norton, Carolyn Tobin, Brian Bachman, George Cranmer, Scott Greenley, Erik Schunk, Mary Ruzzi, Dennis Brennan and Joe Moleski were eager to jump to the national stage.

In September of 2021, Tom and Mary released a book in conjunction with Karen Eich Drummond “Foodservice Operations & Management: Concepts and Applications” which was written for Nutrition and Dietetics students in undergraduate programs to provide the knowledge and learning activities required by ACEND (Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Programs) 2017 Standards.

Tom and Mary attempt to be good volunteers and capable servant leaders whenever possible. They have held nearly every leadership position in their local chapter and multiple national level positions. Throughout the years they have consistently served on national and chapter level committees contributing their knowledge to other foodservice operators and helping to improve and further the work of AHF and protect self-operated facilities. “Whatever you need!” is a common and favorite response from them.  Their focus has always been to provide themselves and their peers with the most current and relevant continuing education possible and to keep capable food service professionals in the pipeline for the future.

Making A Difference Award

The Making A Difference Award is one of our highest honors. This important distinction is given to an individual in honor and memory of the beloved John Cabot and is the association’s top honor for both business partners and media. It is presented to someone who has made significant contributions to AHF in the long tradition of steadfast and selfless industry leadership and volunteerism.

Awarded To: Karen Horsley, Sr. Director for Healthcare & Nutrition Marketing, Sysco

Click Here to view her Award Video

AHF is thrilled to award the 2023 Making A Difference Award to Karen Horsley from Sysco Corporation. Karen has been a longtime, steadfast, member of AHF, beginning her membership with AHF’s legacy associations the American Society for Healthcare Foodservice Administrators (ASHFSA) and National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management (HFM). She was a member when the Associations merged together to form the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) in 2009. From 2010-2011 she served on the inaugural AHF Industry Advisory Board (IAB). From there she remained involved in the Association, and eventually rejoined AHF leadership as a member of the IAB in 2018. Throughout her years with AHF she has always been generous with her knowledge and expertise and worked to help AHF grow its operator base and the knowledge and tools it has to offer those operators.

Karen is more than simply a member of the IAB. She has been a friend and mentor to so many AHF members, both operators and vendors, throughout the years. In addition to being an advocate for senior living and acute care operators, Karen also has an excellent sense of the healthcare market. She connects with other business partners and is collaborative in the work she contributed to AHF. AHF’s current Industry Advisory Board Chair, Georgie Shockey from Ruck-Shockey Associates, who nominated Karen, noted that “She asks the questions others are only thinking. The committees she has served on have been enriched by her contributions and insights each of the last 20+ years.

Exemplary Leadership Award

This award will be bestowed upon the operator member who best reflects the commitment to operational excellence that Don Marsh brought to healthcare foodservice. Don Marsh, former president of the American Society for Healthcare Food Service Administrators (ASHFSA), was dedicated to the healthcare profession and to his colleagues. He was a longtime supporter of programs to raise the professionalism of operators in the healthcare foodservice industry and was known to contribute generously. The award will recognize member contributions in their operations as well as to regional, local chapters or networking meetings.

Awarded To: Ryan Conklin, UNC Rex Healthcare

Click Here to view his Award Video

Ryan started his career in healthcare food service at the age of 23. Ryan fought through a lot of adversity to find a career that he was passionate about. As a chef who landed in healthcare at an early age, he has been able to rise through the ranks, all the while never forgetting where he had come from.

He has a burning passion and drive to make healthcare foodservice better in hospitals and soon discovered early in his career that he wanted to mentor, and lead based on his experience of people and organizations that supported him along the way to achieve his career goals. He tells stories of when he first worked in healthcare, seeing people laugh at his chef coat in public because it has a hospital logo on it. He has now helped foster a culture where members of his team are praised for walking in public with their hospital log’s chef coat on and asked for recipes!

14 years ago, Ryan was one of the managers who was “handed the keys” when the clock struck midnight on the end of the former contract management company at UNC Rex. Since then, his team has been relentless, and reimagining what healthcare food can be known as. At that time, Ryan knew it was important to be heavily involved with AHF, where he could deepen his bench of colleagues. In turn, it’s these industry colleagues that have molded him into the leader that he has become.

Ryan is nationally recognized as one of the industry leaders in reimagining healthcare food. He is the first chef to become President of AHF (2021) and has made himself available to serve in multiple roles over many years to support and drive the Association of Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) forward. He is constantly speaking out on all things healthcare culinary by participating in industry related panel discussions, educational webinars and multiple articles featuring the evolution of top-quality food being produced and served within the healthcare food service space.

Some of Ryan’s accolades include North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers-Doctorate of Foodservice (2021), United States Marine Corps-Honorary Guest Chef for Camp Lejeune (2017), Triangle Business Journal, Healthcare Support Services Executive of the Year (2016), Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education 2013 President’s Award, Association of Healthcare Foodservice, National Culinary Champion (2012), and more.

Ryan values his role as a mentor within his organization and within the industry that he serves and will always make time to mentor a young, up and coming culinary professional or provide knowledge to an industry peer or friend that is seeking his advice.

Future Horizons Award

This award recognizes operator members who are new to management (less than 5 years) and demonstrate a desire for future growth through contributions to their hospitals or community.

Awarded To: Christopher Voorman, The House of the Good Shepherd at Riverwalk Village

Click Here to view his Award Video

Christopher is the Director of Culinary Services at The House of the Good Shepherd at Riverwalk Village in Hackettstown, New Jersey and has been in this role since March 2022. Prior to that he was a Chef at JFK Medical Center where he worked on IDDSI diet standards, vegetarian menus, and transitions throughout COVID.

When Christopher started in his current position, his employer was beginning the process of leaving a food management company and becoming a self-operated facility. Working as a change agent in his organization, Christopher has truly embraced the spirit of self-operated foodservice and has led his employer on an impressive journey to the operation they have today. With a background as both a Chef and a Registered Dietitian, Christopher is well-versed in all aspects of the operation and has utilized his varied skill set to quickly advance his management career.

Since coming on as the Director of Culinary Services at the facility, he has implemented and build new policies and procedures, opened a renovated dining room, changed purchasing groups (helping to save 15% of food costs, opening a country store for residents, and worked with housekeeping to move linens in hour to better control budget lines. Christopher has created resident ‘food committees’ to help guide menu development and created extensive ‘always available’ menus that can be personalized for each resident depending on diet restrictions.

Christopher has also worked closely with “Abilities of Northwest Jersey” that helps find job placements for individuals with disabilities. He has further helped the group expand their placements to other AHF affiliated kitchens. His facility will be hosting an event this year to raise funds for residents facing financial difficulties. They regularly work to honor and highlight local businesses and restaurants.

Christopher is an enthusiastic supporter of The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF). He is a current board member for the AHF New Jersey Chapter and has previously served a separate term as a board member. Christopher knows the value of the resources available through AHF and has used them extensively to grow as a manager and to educate his current employer on the benefits of self-op when he was hired.

Partnership & Leadership Award

This award recognizes an operator member’s facility that demonstrates a strong commitment to self-operation and currently supports the foodservice director or foodservice administrative director.

Awarded To: David Reeves & Armando Llecho, Lee Memorial Health System

Click Here to view his Award Video

In the days before the landfall of Hurricane Ian, its course was uncertain. Lee County’s Emergency Operations Center was monitoring the storm, and many Southwest Floridians did not expect it to be a significant event. When the storm hit, the hospitals were entirely on generator power. The storm surge at one hospital resulted in all first-floor operations, including Foodservice, having to relocate upstairs as the parking lot flooded. Staff watched their cars flood, and some began to 􀋢oat in the water. The flood water started to infringe upon the building. Once the storm passed, Lee Health teams began damage assessments.

The facilities did not suffer any major damage. However, because of the loss of water pressure, due to a community infrastructure failure, three of our campuses had to evacuate patients to other hospitals across the state. The campuses never fully evacuated. The injured continued to arrive at the emergency departments, and many had to be admitted. Foodservice was a pivotal contributor to how the hospitals coped with the catastrophe.

Dealing with a crisis can make or break a relationship. David Reeves exemplified outstanding leadership during the preparation and aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Through Dave’s guidance and the support of his administrator, Armando Llecho, Food & Nutrition Services was a pivotal contributor to how the hospital dealt with the catastrophe. Mary Angela Miller noted that “The partnership of the Lee Health FSD, Dave Reeves, and COO, Armando Llechu, proved to be a bond that category-four hurricane force winds could not sever. Armando and Dave built their relationship on mutual respect and trust before the crisis. This relationship was critical to how well the Lee Health System could weather the storm.”

During the disaster, the number of meals prepared by the Food & Nutrition Services team tripled as they were responsible for feeding patients, employees, first responders and other additional personnel. Dave assisted with coordinating food and supplies with World Central Kitchen, their foodservice distributor, along with various food trucks. Through Dave’s leadership, he assured that his department’s emergency plan aligned with and supported the overall organization’s plan and had continual communication with their Incident Command Center (ICC). So much so, that they even now have an ICC specifically devoted to foodservice. Also, Dave & Armando ensured that the Food & Nutrition Services team was recognized for their hard work and that they were appreciated.

Dave & Armando are extremely deserving of the AHF Partnership in Leadership Award and are truly an excellent example for others to follow.

Spotlight Award

This award recognizes operator members who have enhanced operations through new ideas and industry trends. This may include any of the following: technology, program development, implementation, innovation, sustainability, community impact, mergers/acquisitions, and /or creative use of managing finances.

Awarded To: Caroline Parcel, Hunterdon Health

Click Here to view her Award Video

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged healthcare foodservice operators in ways they never imagined, including how to provide much needed nutrition to staff who were working long hours in stressful conditions. Solving this challenge requires empathy for staff, creativity and applying technology in a thoughtful way. Caroline Parcel and the Hunterdon Medical team checked all these boxes, and more, with their innovative approach in developing the “E-Cafe2U” app through the CBORD GET Program.

Caroline first developed a short-term approach to feeding staff that included faxing a menu, collecting orders and delivering the food. After working with her colleagues in food and nutrition services to thoughtfully research the technology options available Hunterdon was able to develop an app that not only works within its existing IT infrastructure but also allows the staff at this 178-bed hospital to order and receive food in a timely manner. In doing so, Caroline worked with Hunterdon’s two Culinary Institute of America (CIA) trained chefs to not only keep food quality at a very high level but also to overcome supply chain challenges.

On a weekly basis there was uncertainty around what food items would be available, so the challenge was providing a menu wide enough to meet everyone’s needs and narrow enough to work within the supply chain constraints. Caroline and the Hunterdon team were able to meet this challenge through thoughtful collaboration.

The project got its start by having a director who encouraged Parcel to push the envelope during such a unique moment in history. The program also leverages existing infrastructure by using Hunterdon’s room service line. And, at the same time, it keeps a steady stream of revenue within the organization while requiring only an additional 0.5 FTE. The project was so successful, in fact, that Hunterdon’s CEO is one of the most loyal users of the E-Cafe2U app.

The E-Cafe2U program has been operational for almost 2 years now and there are 554 employees enrolled on the app. During this time Caroline and her team have had over 23,0000 orders with sales of $134,000 with an average check of $5.75. The average check is higher than Hunterdon’s cafeteria average check. Many app patrons are not staff who previously purchased from the cafeteria, further growing the Hunterdon customer base. 

Caroline from day one has embraced this project and in June of 2021 was given a promotion to a newly created Retail Manager position, overseeing the E-cafe2U, cafeteria, catering and our daycare meals. Meeting the needs of multiple dietary choices, ease of ordering and delivery is key to keeping customers within the building and using our services.

Hunterdon’s Director of Nutrition Services, Angela O’Neill, had this to say about Caroline’s critical contributions to their operations “Implementing new trends and applications for the benefit of the staff of the organization is a win-win with them and administrators. Increasing revenue is a bonus but for us it is mostly to help others. Having a manager who embraces change and is engaged is awesome.”

Sustainability Award

This award recognizes operator members who implemented or continuously improved and expanded foodservice waste reduction programs on the path to sustainability.  Areas include food waste reduction, waste storing programs, composting, recycling, water conservation, improving use of reusable, and food donation programs.

Awarded To: Lisa Yeung, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer

Click Here to view her Award Video

Lisa Yeung and the sustainability initiatives at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center extend beyond just waste reduction. Lisa’s programs are large in scope and range from special plant-based menus to large-scale measurements of waste to assist with facility-wide reduction of carbon footprint. The program has been a multi-year process, and the Food & Nutrition department has partnered with other departments in the hospital to create a culture of sustainability. Lisa and her team at MSK won this award due to the scope of the project, and all that has been accomplished, and continues to set the bar for sustainability.

The program incorporated key components to meet overarching sustainability goals including sustainable sourcing, marketing and education, waste management, composting, plastic use reduction, use of biodegradable products, vendor partnerships, and menu mix management. Furthermore MSK, under Lisa’s guidance, has partnered with a variety of sources to champion positive environmental impact including the NYC DOH Health Hospital Food Initiative, Healthcare Without Harm (HCWH), The Cool Pledge, and vendors focusing on ecological impact. 

Lisa and her team have been resourceful and creative in meeting their environmental goals. They have worked with vendors to take advantage of local products and improve their environmental footprint. Some examples from over the years include:

  • Utilizing KeyGreen Software to track sustainable compliant purchases and progress.
  • Integrating local and sustainable sourcing into most vendor RFI’s, onboarding, and business reviews for food and beverage sourcing at MSK, in alignment with their leading sustainable food efforts, policies, and programs.
  • Taking part in the Certified Pledge Local with Baldor Foods. Baldor’s local pledge makes supporting local farms easy. By taking the pledge, MSK authorized Baldor’s team of expert buyers to automatically substitute items ordered with comparably priced local alternatives whenever they are available.
          • -Establishing SMARTGOALS i.e., MSK has also worked with their GPO, Vizient, to increase their spending on local food and beverage purchasing. Their purchases and vendors are reviewed throughout the year to see where they can increase their spending and provide customers and patients with the best local food and beverages.
          • -MSK also requires vendors to submit comprehensive product reports detailing the spend against each item, as well as categorization of each item as “local”, “certified sustainable”, “healthy (beverage)”, or “conventional” (local, sustainable/sustainably produced). Healthy definitions for food and beverage categorization are aligned and verified against the specific definitions provided by Practice Green Health.
          • -MSK invested in Leanpath technology to track waste
          • -They implemented an indoor Herb Cabinet

Since its inception, MSK’s sustainability programs have resulted in continuous improvement, with some anomalies from 2020-2022 due to COVID impacts. Most notably, the program has resulted in:

      • -A 22.16% drop in total food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2018-2021 and a 15.47% drop in emissions per 1,000 kcal.
      • -Annual increase in spending on local and sustainability food between 2016-2022 with a 23.8% increase in spending in 2022 specifically, beating their 20% goal.
      • -Looking at the percentage of No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) meat purchased by overall weight they achieved 80.8% in 2022, 85.4% in 2021, 85% in 2020 and 86% in 2019. 75% of all antibiotics used in the US and EU is used for farm animals. Overuse of antibiotics can spawn antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a danger to MSK’s patients and staff.
      • -Installed 47 water refill stations. One station alone averted the equivalent of 55,905 bottles in the waste stream.
      • -An 11.16% drop in total meat purchased (pounds) from January to December of 2022 going from 271,711 to 241,385 pounds.
      • -Ensured that 71% of beverages offered within MSK meet the industry definitely for “healthy”.

MSK Food & Nutrition Services recognizes sustainability is beyond simple waste reduction, it compasses organization-wide business decisions made at all levels of the consumption process. Lisa and her team continue to advance their mission through partnerships, technology, education, and creativity.

Benchmarking Excellence Award

This award recognizes a healthcare facility who has used AHF Benchmarking EXPRESS™ consistently, showed improvement in KPI’s and utilized data to improve their operations.

Awarded To: Julie Meddles, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Click Here to view her Award Video

“Julie Meddles is a Benchmarking Boss.” – Jennifer K Geruntino – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Julie Meddles and Benchmarking go hand-in-hand. Almost to the degree that it seems like a critical oversight that she has not previously been nominated for this prestigious recognition. Julie meddles has been involved in AHF’s Benchmarking Express program since before its inception starting back with AHF’s predecessor program with National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management (HFM).

Since beginning her Benchmarking journey, she has served as the AHF Benchmarking Committee Chair served on the committee, generously mentored benchmarkers, presented benchmarking tutorials at conference and virtually, and built out AHF Benchmarking Express materials. If there was a book to be written on benchmarking (and free time to do it…!), Julie would be the lead author. She has tremendous experience and institutional knowledge of the program, its benefits, and how to communicate the information effectively to hospital leaders, both within and outside the Nutrition Department.

According to Julie Jones, former OSUWMC Nutrition Services Department Director and longtime mentor for Julie Meddles, “she is a learner and tackled benchmarking and its data analysis to communicate department financial performance and labor productivity more effectively.” From the beginning, Julie inherently understood the value of being able to use the data from Benchmarking Express to communicate financial performance and labor productivity to hospital administrators, the finance team, and department leadership. She also has the business acumen to use the data to tell a story. Data people love data, but Julie’s ability to support her story with data makes it accessible to even those who don’t consider themselves “data people.”

Over the years, Julie has used Benchmarking Express to trend department performance in multiple categories to monitor department financials, discover problem areas, and identify and remedy areas of opportunity. When food cost trends up, Julie can readily see it through Benchmarking Express and challenge the team to bring it back to neutral. Julie and her team used the data to confirm their focus and identify areas for improvement such as Floorstock. As a result, they formed a workgroup tasked with reducing the items patient care units can order for their galleys. She has been able to highlight the impacts of staffing challenges. She displayed the decrease in worked hours per meal overtime and the impact in FTEs relative to meal volume. This allowed her to show and explain the metrics via AHF Benchmarking to Ohio State leaders who were then willing to approve the lines the department desperately needed to replace.

Julie uses Benchmarking data with all levels of administrators and staff who are interested and/or compelled to listen. Whether in the format of a Peer Best Practice presentation, quarterly Operational Report Out for senior leaders, or monthly QAPI scorecards, Benchmarking Express data and charts are a significant part of the content Julie presents. Audiences for these include not only internal Nutrition Services leaders, but also nursing leaders, other department directors, and senior hospital executives. Per Executive Director Dennis Delisle, “Julie takes an active role in national associations like AHF to benchmark our performance against peer institutions. She is a member and participant in several boards and advisory councils that help inform these benchmarking strategies. The approach to benchmarking enables Julie and her team to identify growth opportunities, service improvement strategies, and efficiency interventions.

Julie adeptly communicates how Benchmarking Express uses data to qualify and quantify information for administrators and the finance team, creating better, more effective dialogue regarding department performance and needs.

Chapter of the Year Award

This award recognizes an AHF Local Chapter that promotes the overall Association’s mission.

Awarded To: AHF New York Chapter

Click Here to view their Award Video

The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) New York Chapter has been hard at work supporting its members, vendors and AHF national. Since the pandemic the chapter has been working to increase membership and has seen a steady increase year over year. During the pandemic the chapter offered all members free membership during times of hardship.

The chapter’s educational programs, networking events and volunteer activities promote growth, and offer leadership skills for our members which facilitate improving performance outcomes in respective facilities. Events are subsidized by our Business Partners to remain competitive and affordable for members. Over the past two years, despite restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the New York Chapter has organized and held a variety of both virtual and in-person events offering continuing education credit for Registered Dietitians (AND) and Certified Dietary Managers (ANFP). Their CEU offerings increased from 12 to 21+ credits between 2021 and 2023. Topics have included sustainability, culinary training, DEI, navigating pandemic impacts, networking, retention and more.

Each year the chapter supports The Patridge Foundation with an annual $1,000 contribution dedicated to advancing the education of culinary and foodservice students. Members volunteer services to God’s Love We Deliver packaging meals to homebound New Yorkers. Individual members financially support a grassroots community organization St. John’s Bread for Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger and poverty in Brooklyn, NY. The Bronx VA supports a Dietetic Internship program with chapter student involvement and mentorship in culinary, clinical nutrition and foodservice which often leads to employment within any of the hospital systems which are members of the chapter such as Maimonides Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center, One Brooklyn Health Center and VA Hospital System to name a few.

The NY chapter contributes annually to AHF National’s scholarship fund for the promotion and support of self-operated foodservice. The chapter consistently contributes to the S.O. connected magazine, sharing events with national members.

Presidential Service Awards

The AHF President Leadership Awards are special honors given by the AHF President to AHF leaders who have above and beyond in their service to the Association and the self-operated industry.


Awarded To:


Ami Patel, UCSF Medical Center, Mission Bay

Ami was selected for a Presidential Service Award by AHF President Robert Darrah for her critical contributions to AHF’s growing knowledge base. Her technical expertise in multiple areas of self-operation foodservice have been a key asset to the Association. She has served on multiple committees throughout her time with AHF, but most notably has been an important member of the Self-Operated Project Committee. As a member of the committee, she assisted in the development, authoring, and review of AHF’s keystone publications including: AHF’s Making an Informed Decision, AHF’s Financial Best Practices in Food & Nutrition Services, AHF’s SWOT Analysis Guide, and so many more. These documents are used to help facilities stay self-operated, transition their facilities, and fight contractor intrusions.

More than that, Ami has been an active mentor on AHF’s real-time Self Op Support (SOS) program helping both member, and non-member, operator facilities in immediate need of support when being threatened by a contractor.  She was a founding member of that program helping to launch it in 2020. This and so many other contributions make Ami Patel an invaluable member of AHF. She is a respected expert in the field and one that AHF is proud to call a key member of our community. 


Sergio Alonso, Lee Health

Sergio Alonso was selected for a Presidential Service Award for his early contributions during his first year as a member of AHF. A newer member to AHF, Sergio joined AHF’s Conference Planning Committee (CPC) immediately providing creative ideas and endless enthusiasm. He worked with local vendors and contacts to help AHF build connections in the local Southeast region ahead of the annual conference. He has been a great asset and AHF is excited for him grow further in the AHF community.


Award winners are recognized at the Annual Conference each year. We will continue to celebrate our award recipients in our publications, like S.O. Connected, following conference.

Interested in nominating someone, or yourself, for an award next year? 

Here’s a sample of the type of information you may need for your awards submission:

    • – Nominee’s basic contact information
    • – Project details & Results (Benchmarking, Spotlight, Partnership in Leadership, Sustainability)
    • – Applicability to other AHF members (Spotlight, Partnership in Leadership, Sustainability)
    • – Contributions to AHF & the healthcare foodservice industry at large (Exemplary Leadership, Future Horizons)
    • Report on Chapter growth, educational events, special projects, impact on local community, partnership with AHF National, etc. (Chapter of the Year)
  • Please note that select finalists will be interviewed via phone by a member of the awards committee. You will be given an opportunity to further support what you have included in the form submission. If you have any questions about the application process or supporting documentation, please contact AHF Staff.

Questions? Contact Sarah Bennett – sbennett@healthcarefoodservice.org