Association Insight
Randy Sparrow, System Director Food & Nutrition Services
and Environmental Services at Pro Health Care

President of Association for Healthcare Foodservice 

What are your goals as the President for AHF?
My goals are to grow membership and public awareness of the healthcare foodservice industry by growing the AHF name and brand. Self-operated hospitals create great food that is not only nutritious but also delicious. I want to help change the public’s perception of hospital food. I also want to strengthen further the already strong alliances among our organizations; hospitals, senior living facilities and business partners.
Are there any new benefits or features your association has introduced lately?
Our online benchmarking program, Benchmarking EXPRESS™ is new and is already setting the industry standard for industry benchmarking. We are now offering ACF certification through our annual conference and are in the process of expanding that offering. Our national culinary competition also takes place at our annual conference, and this year for the first time we are taking the competition off-site to a destination location. We have augmented our sponsorship program to offer more levels with increasing benefits. We are also currently expanding our educational programs and opportunities for our members.
What is a common challenge within your industry?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided plenty of challenges. It has changed reimbursement for hospitals and healthcare systems, dramatically changing the landscape of the organizations where we work. Maximizing the patient and visitor experience while actively managing costs of both labor and supplies is another issue. Beyond the ACA, recruiting millennials into the organization is another challenge. We have recently made student membership free. We are also actively reaching out to colleges and culinary institutions to introduce healthcare into curriculums, as well as recruiting educators into AHF membership.
What legacy would you like to leave from being AHF’s President?
The legacy I’d like to leave focuses mainly around the goals I have for the organization; making the AHF brand more recognized and respected, public awareness of a new era of hospital food, and stronger relationships among our organizations.
What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten? 
It’s a toss-up between my wife’s pot roast and my grandmother’s home made beef and noodles. I’m a farm boy at heart! The best dessert I’ve ever had is also a toss-up. It’s either a chocolate almond soufflé I had at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in April of 1983, or the bread pudding at Dion’s in Momence, Illinois.