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Planting Seeds at Emory Healthcare

Emory University Hospitals is getting some return on its dietetic internship program. The nutrition services department recently hired one of the program's graduates as a full-time special projects manager.

Cynthia (Kip) Slaughter started the week of October 13th, immediately immersing herself in projects ranging from standardizing and automating in-house catering to marketing healthy retail dining options more effectively and addressing sustainability issues, especially local food procurement. She graduated from the internship program last spring and worked in a temporary position with Emory Hospitals over the summer, helping with the launch of the hospital's new room service program.

“Even though I only had a six-week rotation in foodservice at Emory I feel like I have a really good grasp on its systems,” Slaughter says.

Part of the reason for that was Emory's approach to internships, which includes a retail foodservice project the interns must plan, organize and implement.

The two most recent interns had to design and launch a new pan pizza and flatbread pizza program as part of the department's plan to expand healthier menu offerings in its retail operations.

“It was a great experience because we knew we were doing something important for the hospital,” says Kristen Mitchell who, along with fellow intern Anna Fiser worked on the pizza project (which turned out to be quite a hit, says Food & Nutrition Services Director Lynne Ometer). She says the experience made an impression as she considers her career choices. “It opened my eyes a lot as to what really goes into a major foodservice operation at a hospital,” she says.

Slaughter's advice to foodservice operators hosting management interns: “Have your students do something that will matter to your institution, something they will see you using. When we were participating as interns in foodservice management program at Emory, we felt we were really involved, really doing things that were valued. That made a difference.”

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