2013 Distinguished Service (Acute) Award

HAH Ruby H CroppedThe Healthcare Association of Hawai’i honored Ruby Hayasaka, RD, MS, MA, with its 2013 Distinguished Service (Acute) Award at their annual awards and scholarship dinner in October. Ruby received the award for her innovative, creative and energetic efforts to promote healthy, sustainable food both personally and professionally as the director of Nutritional Services at Castle Medical Center.

Ruby oversees the state’s only vegetarian hospital cafeteria, The Bistro. Several years ago, Ruby observed that nurses and caregivers on the floors of Castle Medical Center were often too busy to make the trip down to The Bistro during their breaks or at lunchtime. In response, Ruby created the “Bistro Express Cart” that brought sandwiches, salads, and other items from the Bistro up on a cart, complete with convenient point of sale purchasing. It is a huge success with both staff and visitors. A self-professed “foodie”, Ruby is also passionate about health and wellness, exhibited by her tremendous personal weight loss story. She has a passion for local farming and has a micro “farmers market”, which is available daily in The Bistro and includes locally sourced seasonal produce showcased in an attractive display available for purchase by associates and visitors who are thrilled to be able to purchase fresh papaya, tomatoes and other items to take home.

Last year, Ruby organized a special event on Oct. 28 at Castle Medical Center to celebrate National Food Day. She brought together physicians, government representatives, and local farmers to participate in a panel discussion about the importance of nutrition and high quality food. The event was attended by several hundred community members, and culminated in the launch of Hawaii’s first ever “Farm Roof” to be located at Castle Medical Center. The rooftop farm was Ruby’s innovative idea. The Farm Roof now allows Castle Medical Center to grow nutrient rich micro-greens and other healthy produce directly on one of its roofs, in an area that is visible to patients and associates. The greens are harvested and then served in patient meals and in the Bistro. Besides the obvious health component of using fresh micro-greens, the farm has also allowed the hospital to reduce the amount it spends on purchasing greens, so it has also had a positive financial impact.