Hospital Food Gets a Boost From Interdisciplinary Course on Food Preparation and Swallowing Disorders

Patients suffering from swallowing disorders at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine got a new menu this fall.

The change in food offerings was the result of a 2011 NYU Steinhardt  class, Interdisciplinary Case-Based Management of Dysphagia — taught by Erin Embry and Lisa Sasson — which looked at treatment and food preparation for people with different stages of dysphagia, a swallowing difficulty that can be brought about by a variety of medical problems.

The final project for the class was the Iron Chef Dysphagia Challenge, a competition which involved preparing gourmet pureed and soft textured food for a panel of judges.

Jonathan Murray, director food and clinical nutrition at NYU Langone Medical Center, was on hand for the competition and tasted the results.

“I was amazed at the level of creativity and presentation that the students put into the Iron Chef Dysphagia contest,”  Murray said.  “As director of patient foods and nutrition services, I know how challenging it can be to produce and serve attractive and appetizing modified textured meals.”

Since Murray attended the NYU Steinhardt class, some new ideas have been implemented into the hospital’s patient services menu.  The hospital is now using food molds to improve food appearance, and has added a class to the hospital’s culinary academy on how to enhance textured meals.

And this fall two new dishes appeared on the hospital menu:  purée fish with corn and short rib with polenta and vegetable soufflé.

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You can learn more about this topic by visiting the Steinhardt At a Glance story:  Students, Prepare For Your Final Class!  The Iron Chef Dysphagia Challenge

(Photos:  purée fish with corn; short rib with polenta and vegetable soufflé.)