UC San Diego Health, one of five academic medical centers within the University of California system, operates three hospitals with a collective capacity of 808 beds. The oldest and largest is the 390-bed UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, which currently serves as a core clinical teaching site for UC San Diego School of Medicine and serves as a major tertiary and quaternary referral center for nearby counties, including the area’s only Regional Burn Center. The 364-bed Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla opened in 2016 and includes the Shiley Eye Institute multi-specialty vision center and the 54-bed Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, the region’s first comprehensive cardiovascular center. Three years ago, Jacobs added the Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion, expanding services in orthopedics, urology, breast health, advanced imaging, rehab and outpatient surgeries. The La Jolla campus also houses the Moores Cancer Center for outpatient oncology care and the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Care Center.
Overseeing food services for these facilities is Jill Martin, director of nutrition services for UC San Diego Health. Martin has been with the UC San Diego system for 10 years, the last one-and-a-half as director, where she manages two full café operations, two cart operations, the room-service-based patient dining program in La Jolla and the more traditional daypart-based meal service at Hillcrest, plus the currently suspended facility catering operation.
Like most healthcare facilities, UC San Diego Health has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year but has been seeing some loosening of restrictions recently, with some visitors now allowed onsite, including permission to access the retail dining venues. As California is probably at the forefront of the national move to encourage more plant-based dining, and healthcare facilities have an especial responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles, including healthy diets, Martin is a strong proponent of making sure her program offers the freshest and healthiest meal choices possible for patients, staff and visitors, including more meatless dishes.
In this One On One With podcast, she talks about how she is menuing more plant-based choices as well as the importance of promoting such fare in healthcare environments especially.