E3349. We Are All Foodies: Improving Resident Wellness with Carefully Selected Catered Food Based on Resident Preferences
  1. Donald Chan; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  2. Christopher Lee; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  3. Alexander Vo; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  4. Grant Tatro; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  5. Kenneth Wimmer; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  6. Vanessa Starr; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether a resident-led intervention to change the catered meals improves the quality of the food and resident wellness.

Materials and Methods:
Resident physicians were surveyed about food quality of each restaurant and the hospital cafeteria before and after changes to the catered meals. Residents were able to suggest new meal options. A 5-point Likert scale, with 5 representing the highest value based on questions in the food quality dimension of the Acute Care Hospital Foodservice Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire, was used in the survey. Although there are substantive differences between patients and physicians, both face limited food options in many hospitals and share the ability to evaluate food. Nonparametric paired Wilcoxon rank-sum tests for each participant were used to compare the caterers before and after the intervention. Statistical significance was defined as <em>P</em> < .05. Calculations were performed in R (Vienna, Austria). Institutional review board approval was not required for this quality improvement project.

Seventeen of 18 residents were surveyed, except the first author who is also a resident and implemented the catering changes. The intervention group comprised four restaurants before and five different restaurants after the intervention. The control group comprised two caterers, a burrito truck and the hospital cafeteria, which remained the same before and after the intervention. The mean scores given by each respondent before and after the intervention were compared. Residents reported significant improvements in several aspects of food quality in only the intervention group restaurants for the questions “the food has been as good as I expected” (P < .01), “I like the way the vegetables are cooked or prepared” (P < .01), “the meals taste nice” (P < .01), and “the meals have excellent and distinct flavors” (P < .01). There were significant improvements in the intervention group caterers and worsening in the control group restaurants for the questions "the menu has enough variety for me to choose meals that I want to eat" (P < .01 and P = .03, respectively) and "I am able to choose a healthy meal" (P < .01 and P = .01, respectively).

This is the first paper to analyze quantitatively the effects of an intervention to change the food options for residents. A few other studies have investigated the connection between food at work and physician wellness. Mari et al. analyzed several interventions to improve psychiatry residents' wellness, and found that a food action team to improve the food for on-call residents was the most relevant to the residents' sense of wellness compared to other initiatives like social activities or wellness day. A review by Hamidi et al. reported negative impacts of not eating adequately at work on physicians' well-being, possibly affecting job performance. Further directions include quantitatively assessing the effects of different work-related or wellness interventions, among those being food options at work, on resident wellness.