Pursuing Sustainability with UMHS' Patient Food & Nutrition Services: Aligning Sustainable Practices with Healthcare Delivery

Client Organization: 
University of Michigan Health System
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI
Secondary Client Organization: 
Patient Food & Nutrition Services
Summary of Project Idea: 

With 45 million inpatient and 1.9 million outpatient visits in 2011, the University of Michigan Health System manages a vast network of patients in constant flux.  The Patient Food and Nutrition Services (PFANS) group provides in-room dining services for these patients and delivers meals and supplements to elderly outpatients through its Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels program.  PFANS is committed to expanding its existing environmental responsibility initiatives with a particular interest in reducing food waste and increasing landfill diversion rates.  The project recognizes that PFANS has the opportunity to become a sustainability leader within the UM Health System.  By adopting innovative operational changes and integrating sustainability into its business objectives and culture, PFANS will serve as a model of a holistic approach to sustainability road map for UMHS and the national health care industry.

Our research question asked: What is PFANS' current state, benchmarked against leading U.S. health system best practices? What are the drivers within the health system and the University that will advance PFANS' sustainability goals?  and Which practices are transferrable to other hospital units?

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Sustainable Systems
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Ming Xu and Damian Beil
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jenna Agins, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Annie Cronin, MBA/MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Catherine Dyson, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kate Newlin, MS Sustainable Systems
Project Status: 
Past Project