Reducing Waste in Patient Meal Services While Increasing Satisfaction

Watch a recording of this webinar where members of JPS Health Network’s Nutrition Services team provide a firsthand account of how they worked to increase patient satisfaction, and at the same time, reduced food waste. Our speakers identify best practices in patient meal quality, patient satisfaction strategy, and food waste tools to benefit the bottom line. They share valuable insights to how coming out of the pandemic they were able to elevate the patient experience while also taking creative approaches to repurposing menu items and creating a culture of savings.

Learning Objectives: 
  1. Understand the role of service delivery in enhancing the overall patient experience. 
  2. Identify practical tools, methods and technology to minimize food waste and create savings.
  3. Gain insights into menu planning and patient meal services best practices.
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  • Duration:  1 hour 
  • Accreditation: 1.0 CEU - AND (through 12/13/2024) & ANFP (through 12/31/2026)
  • Type: Monthly Webinar

AHF Members: In order to watch the webinar, please sign in with your AHF credentials. 

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Course Activities


Neal L. Lavender, MHS, PhR, CDM
JPS Health Network
Neal has spent a lifetime career helping hospitals as well as individuals make the connection between value-driven practices and bottom-line results. He has been a successful executive leader at several large health systems in the country. Neal is currently the Executive Director of Food and Nutritional Services at JPS Health Network. He started his tenure at JPS in 2016. JPS Health Network is a 582-bed acute care hospital with a network which includes more than 46 community-based clinics in the Fort Worth area.

Neal earned his Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from East Carolina University and a Master of Science in Health Services Administration from Central Michigan University. He also is a Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) and Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP).

Neal is currently the Treasure Elect with the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) National Board. He has also served on various AHF committee positions for years.
Meradith Harris, MS, RD, LD
JPS Health Network
Meradith Harris completed her internship and Master’s degree in Nutrition at Texas Women’s University. Meradith started her career as a clinical dietitian at Tarrant County’s only Trauma 1 Center, JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, TX. After 9 years as a practicing clinician and clinical nutrition manager, Meradith accepted her current position as the assistant director of clinical nutrition and patient services for JPS Health Network. During her tenure, Meradith has developed multiple classes and educational opportunities for interns and new dietitians specifically targeting nutrition support and nutrition interventions for trauma patients. Meradith is also the proud recipient of The Doss Family Grant, which provides resources and nutrition support supplies to underprivileged patients in Tarrant County. She has participated in multiple quality improvement projects and has continuously worked to improve patient satisfaction scores across the department. Meradith is passionate about providing outstanding care to patients, working across all departments to improve patient satisfaction and working to develop the nutrition department. Meradith strives to advance the practice of clinical nutrition as well a patient services through quality improvement initiatives and continued involvement with local dietetic internship programs. 
Chef Russ Persinger
JPS Health Network
After Attending Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and graduating with honors, Chef Russ Persinger went to work for Wyndham Hotels in New Jersey and New York and after being promoted to Executive Chef he was moved to Dallas, TX. Chef Russ’ career highlights include designing the menu for Rockfish Seafood Grill, working with Chef Kenny Bowers and Owner Randy Dewitt. He then moved on to the Capital Grille at Hotel Crescent Court where he received 4 stars in Dallas Morning News and 2.5 of 3 Zagat stars, a brief internship with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley California. Leaving Capital Grille he moved to Rhode Island to work for the famous Legal Seafood’s brand of restaurants and then finally to Boston to run one of the legacy locations in Copley Square.

Returning to Dallas, after 9/11 he then went to work for a large contract food company at the Cadbury Schweppes Dr Pepper headquarters in Plano Texas. Following four years there he then moved to UT Southwestern St. Paul Hospital in Dallas as a Retail Operation Manager of the multiple campus locations after helping to design the retail and kitchen areas for the new UTSW Clements hospital. Chef Russ took a Job with Aramark at THR Denton as Executive Chef, then after managing a very successful Retail, Patient and Dr’s Lounge program he joined the JPS Team, where he currently works.