Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine Partners with Local Restaurants to Create Healthcare Meal Delivery Platform

Nourished supports local restaurants and frontline healthcare staff during COVID-19 pandemic

Newswise — Philadelphia—Penn Medicine is proud to announce the creation and launch of Nourished, a new meal delivery platform for frontline hospital staff, to ensure safe and convenient access to local takeout meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nourished allows staff to easily order affordable meals from a curated list of local restaurants via text message.

Penn Medicine’s Workforce Wellness Committee partnered with the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation to create the program. Nourished launched as a pilot at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) on April 1, 2020 and will be available at Penn Medicine’s other downtown hospitals—the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital—on April 22, 2020. Five restaurants are currently participating in the program: Baology, Cafe Ynez, El Merkury, On Point Bistro, and Pumpkin.

Ryan Schumacher, an innovation associate at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, initially proposed Nourished. Lisa Bellini, MD, chair of the Workforce Wellness Committee and senior vice dean of Academic Affairs in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, saw its potential, and in less than two weeks from inception the program was up and running at PPMC with the support of founding restaurant partners Judy Ni at Baology and Jill Weber of Café Ynez. Ni and Weber partnered early in the initiative, co-designing the program with Penn to meet the needs of restaurants and the health system.

“Many aspects of daily life have changed with the arrival of the coronavirus, including ordering take-out. Food access during the pandemic has been a challenge, both for staff looking for a safe and affordable meal and for restaurants who have been hurt by a lack of business,” said Bellini. “We knew this was something we could help solve for, and a team quickly came together—from innovation experts to medical students like lead backend developer Chris Streiffer—to create Nourished.”

Nourished ensures safe practices are consistently followed when meals are prepared and delivered through participating agreements with each restaurant. Meals are packaged individually so that contact between each meal for staff is minimized. Additionally, contactless delivery prevents the possible spread of the virus and ensures that all meals are transported directly from the restaurant’s kitchen to a controlled hospital access point, respecting physical distancing. Since its launch, Penn staff have ordered more than 750 meals through the program.

Nourished also allows staff to help restaurants in the community that are in need of support during the pandemic. Staff can order lunch or dinner from a menu of three to four options from the restaurant partners. The orders help local restaurants stay open and continue their operations during what has become a challenging time for the Philadelphia food scene.

“Nourished helps restaurants in the community out while providing meals in a safe, sustainable, and delightful way to all of our hard-working health care professionals—it’s a true win-win,” said Schumacher, the Nourished program lead. “Our goal is to ensure employees can rely on Nourished to provide delicious food and our local community restaurants can rely on us for support. It’s been incredible to see the way the community has rallied around this.”

Schumacher and Bellini hope that Nourished can scale not only within Penn Medicine but to other health systems and communities interested in creating their own programs, with the continued development of protocols and a web platform for Nourished.

To join Nourished or for more information, Penn Medicine staff at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center can visit the PennMedicineTogether website.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.6 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $494 million awarded in the 2019 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 43,900 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2019, Penn Medicine provided more than $583 million to benefit our community.


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