Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital: Wow.

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"Yesterday was truly incredible–a once in a lifetime kind of feeling. I went to my first meeting as a member of the Children's Advisory Council of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and I was completely blown away. There are about 30 people on the committee and every one of them is a champion of kids healthcare in America. Not only did each person have expertise that children's health care vitally needs, but it was plainly evident that their hearts were in it even more so.
Present in the group were an array of experts, from industry leaders to the parents of sick children who had been treated at the hospital. All were visionary professionals with open hearts and a clear passion for helping children. I was particularly inspired by two parents in particular who had recognized the needs that siblings of pediatric patients have, and so they pioneered a sibling support program which has become a model for hospitals nationwide. The hospital administration recognized the value of this program and their state-of-the-art newly remodeled hospital is built to be sibling and family supportive, recognizing the crucial role that family members play in the healing process. They even created sleeping areas and facilities for family members who have to spend extended time near their sick children, brothers and sisters.  What this hospital has done is truly inspirational.  
This kind of innovative and forward thinking attitude is I why I chose to work with Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in the first place (read the November, 2007, press release here). Although I knew that they were rated among the top 10 of children's hospitals in the nation, it was the responsiveness of the people that I was dealing with that was so fantastic. I thought I was approaching a huge institution with the idea of revamping menu items to sneakily improve their nutritional value, without sparking any resistance from the children. But in reality, I was dealing with highly responsive individuals, rather than a bureaucracy, who not only recognized the value of my proposal, but implemented it with such speed and agility that you'd think I was dealing with a kitchen and hospital staff that served dozens of meals each day, not thousands. Their responsiveness has prompted me to now refer to them as "the barge that turned on a dime." That such a large institution could deliver this program to its patients from start to finish in so few months is nothing short of amazing.
I'll never forget the day I attended the opening event, marking the first "official" Sneaky Chef meals being served to patients. I was standing next to a little girl who was enjoying some sneakily enhanced mac ‘n cheese that the hospital kitchen had prepared. I could see that she was enjoying it like any other bowl of pasta, but I had a deeper sense of satisfaction as well, knowing that she was getting the nutrition of hidden vegetables, not just pasta and cheese sauce. I smiled silently to myself, knowing that I had done a good deed without her even being aware of it (I feel that's the best kind) and asked her why she was there. She said that was waiting for a new heart. Believe me, it was all I could do to hold it together in the moment.  And in retelling this story, I am suddenly finding it hard to see my screen clearly...  
... I have gotten to know many of the staff even more intimately in recent months, as I chose to take my seven year old daughter, Sammy, there when she broke two bones in her arm while sledding. The hospital is known to have the best orthopedic surgeons in the country, and now can see why. Their level of care, commitment and expertise is world class. They are willing to go to great lengths to bring comfort and healing to their patients.  There are clowns in the hallways, walls dedicated to characters from favorite children's books, balloons, magicians... This is a hospital that doesn't feel like a hospital, and the children love and respond to it. If it weren't a hospital, it would be a great place for the family to hang out!
The members of the Children's Advisory Council have seen to it that this hospital heals on every available level. It was so inspiring for me to be among this group of dedicated top notch professionals volunteering their time, working silently behind the scenes, to improve the quality of children's health care in America. I am completely honored to be counted among them, and I am truly excited about the impact that we will make together in improving children's nutrition.

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That is a terrific post!
I used to work in a hospital system and was always appauled at the choices for the staff and patients. I worked to get the local farmers market into the lobby over the summer and worked with staff to get some new Mediterranean inspired meals into the cafeteria. I have since left that job but I hope things are still in place.
Thanks for all the work you do - seen and unseen!

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The Sneaky Chef is available at fine booksellers everywhere: