#11: Food As Primary Care: Transforming Hospital Cafeterias with Marydale DeBor

Marydale DeBor Headshot for At The Table Podcast

In this episode, I talk to Fresh Advantage founder Marydale DeBor about the business needs that spurred a complete cafeteria overhaul in her Connecticut hospital, how to prioritize nutritious, local food as primary care, and the role of hospitals in building healthy communities.

Marydale DeBor founded Fresh Advantage in 2011 with the goal of assisting health care organizations, educational institutions and community-based organizations to create integrated food service and learning programs for those they serve. Her approach is based upon principles of sound (basic and simple) nutrition to promote health, environmental responsibility and palate pleasing culinary quality. Marydale combines experience as a lawyer with a policy oriented practice in Washington D.C. in the early years of her career, followed by years of providing advisory services to philanthropies focused on improving health care service delivery that led to a senior executive position at a community hospital in Connecticut. In that role, she led an organization wide transformation of the role of food and nutrition in clinical care and community-based health promotion programs that inspired her to found Fresh Advantage.

Marydale is a lecturer in the School of Medicine at Yale University teaching students in a wide variety of health professional graduate programs on the topic of the role of food in clinical practice and community prevention programs. She regularly presents at national conferences and conducts webinars on the role of food and nutrition in institutions, and the role of hospitals in building healthy communities and food systems.



Fresh Advantage Website

Better Eating and Recovery: Addressing Food Insecurity at an urban Community Mental Health Center (Journal Article)

Plow to Plate 

Health Care Without Harm (full website launches March 7th)

Using Community Benefits to Improve Healthy Food Access 

Red Tomato

Black River Produce

Farm to Institution New England

Henry P. Kendall Foundation

Hospital Community Benefit Responsibility

Food Policy Council Map from Johns Hopkins

Children’s HealthWatch study on the health-related costs of food insecurity and hunger in Massachusetts 


11: Food As Primary Care: Transforming Hospital Cafeterias with Marydale DeBor A hospital isn't generally the first place that comes to mind when we talk about sustainable, local, nutritious food. But Marydale DeBor and the Fresh Advantage team are bringing a new foodservice model to hospital and school cafeterias - one that prioritizes food as primary care and sees hospitals as having a vital role in building healthy communities. SHOWNOTES & RESOURCES: atthetablepodcast.com/11






2 thoughts on “#11: Food As Primary Care: Transforming Hospital Cafeterias with Marydale DeBor

  1. Linda Hansen

    Would that we all had “Progressive CEOs” as well as advocacy from an expert with Marydale’s experience so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

    There are so many people all over the country doing this work on their own, and not making the exponential progress possible when we build on what others have already figured out. Organizations such as Fresh Advantage and Healthcare Without Harm are instrumental in providing this type of support for healthcare food service providers everywhere.

    Thank you, Marydale, for the work that you do!

  2. Pingback: Fresh Advantage featured on ‘At The Table’ Podcast with Jessie Johnson – Fresh Advantage®

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