In an era when wellness, community engagement and preventative services are prevailing trends in the healthcare field, Henry Ford Hospitals has emerged as a trendsetter with its Its LiveWell initiative, which was launched and is maintained with an impressive level of institutional commitment. One of a small number of hospitals nationwide to successfully implement the Partnership for a Healthier America standards, the multi-location Henry Ford system offers healthy and attractive meal options for both patients and retail customers in an unobtrusive and positive way. It also reaches out to the larger communities in its market with services such as health and wellness education sessions for both children and adults.

“Our goal is to transform ourselves from being an illness organization to a wellness organization,” summarizes John Miller, system director for culinary wellness. “Food is a critical component in a healthy lifestyle, so we’ve tried to create a new food culture here for our staff and visitors.”

Henry Ford is strategically focused on integrating a wellness appproach. It is in the vision statement and a key component of strategic planning.

The program has been implemented to varying degrees across the 2,000 bed Henry Ford network’s seven hospitals and several dozen health/medical centers. One result: the system has eliminated some seven tons of fat from its offerings in one year by eliminating deep fat fryers and fry shortening and serving leaner proteins.

The program is currently most fully realized at the system’s new West Bloomfield Hospital, which was built specifically with the LiveWell approach in mind (it opened in 2009).

Some of West Bloomfield’s key features are...

• a sophisticated demo kitchen where staff chefs conduct cooking classes that can also be viewed from the patient rooms through a closed circuit hookup;

• Vita on-premise wellness center that offers programs ranging from yoga to men’s health classes;

• LiveWell Shoppe selling a variety of healthy living and sustainability products ranging from fresh flowers to cookbooks;

• a soaring atrium filled with greenery and comfortable seating options where community members are encouraged to come and spend quiet time;

• the first hydroponic organic greenhouse in Michigan, which not only produces fresh herbs and vegetables for the dining operation but conducts hands-on classes for youngsters from area schools;

• a round-the-clock room service style patient dining operation; and

• Henry’s Café, a bright multi-station retail café for staff and visitors that offers a range of selections from hand-tossed salads and freshly grilled burgers to authentic Indian cuisine.

West Bloomfield is the leading indicator of a seismic shift in the way Henry Ford approaches its mission these days, a shift that is in line with larger trends in the healthcare industry and one which FM has chosen to recognize with the 2013 Best Concepts Best of Show Award.

Project Team:

Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN
Director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Lori Armstrong
RD Supervisor, Clinical Nutrition Henry Ford Wyandotte
Julie I Carrigan, MS, RD
Regional Director , Culinary Wellness, Henry Ford Macomb
Angela Crooms
Director, Culinary Wellness
Ignazio Tatulli
Director, Retail & Wellness Services, Henry Ford West Bloomfield
John Miller
System Director-Culinary Wellness