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WRNMMC Nutrition Services Department undergoes leadership transition


By A.J. Simmons

WRNMMC Command Communications

The Nutrition Services Department (NSD) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center underwent a transition of leadership in August, welcoming six new service members to their team. Army Lt. Col. Asma Bukhari, Army Maj. Ericka Cisco, Army Maj. Joetta Khan, Navy Senior Chief Vaundas Bostic, Army 1st Lt. Carl Barnes and Navy Petty Officer First Class Ruben Muletpons all assumed new roles within the leadership of the NSD.
“NSD is a complex section with a number of underlying roles and contributions,” explained Khan, who assumed the role of chief of education and research in the NSD. “Most notably is our role in providing all meal services for our patients and their family members when they are here as inpatients and also in our Galley (Café 8901).”
Khan elaborated that through the provision of high-quality, nutritious meals, her department supports both the morale and the health of patients, visitors and staff, alike.
However, dining services are not the only provision of the NSD. According to Khan, the department offers education and training regarding healthy nutrition and features a patient care team that assesses and treats complex patient issues. The department also hosts multiple classes for nutrition-related concerns, such as healthy weight, heart health, pregnancy and iron deficiency, among many others.
“I feel our main mission is to lead military health care in providing highly efficient, accountable and patient-friendly nutrition services for all we are privileged to serve,” added Bostic, the senior enlisted leader for the NSD. He pointed out that this can be accomplished through four points: “providing nutritious, wholesome and tasty foods that enhance health and fitness; maximizing patient outcomes using evidence-based nutrition care; developing tomorrow’s leaders in military medicine; and pursuing innovative research that advances nutrition practices.”
“I feel the ultimate goal, however, is to link the chains in the relationship of life factors, environment and human choice to promote a healthier force, staff and enhance the lives of our patients,” said Khan.
Bukhari, director of the NSD, elaborated on the short-term and long-term goals she has for her department. Among her short-term goals, she noted that the strengthening of internal processes and meeting the complex nutritional needs of inpatients are among the most important. Meanwhile, her long-term goals for the department include the transformation of operations to promote nutrition education and reinforce healthy behaviors, as well as the growth of the department’s research portfolio to “embrace evidence-based practices and enable best health outcomes.”
Cisco, the chief of food operations, emphasized her confidence in the NSD staff to help accomplish these goals, saying, “We have a great team that works hard to push out thousands of meals to patients and staff daily. Communication, safety and teamwork are essential to our operations, and we strive to improve upon our processes daily.”
Cisco also thanked those who dine with the NSD for their “continued loyalty and patience when things don’t go perfectly.” She encouraged patients and staff to share their thoughts via comment cards, which can be found at the registers in Café 8901.
Barnes, who supports Cisco as the deputy chief of food operations for the NSD, highlighted the multifaceted nature of the department, explaining that it provides nutritious meals for a multitude of departments while also remaining active in research and education.
Khan elaborated that this multifaceted nature of the NSD helps to accomplish the department’s goals, saying, “As America shifts from sick care to prevention, it is imperative that individuals realize so much of our health is dependent on our daily interaction with our environment and choices we make. NSD is uniquely positioned to fill many roles in supporting that shift from education and meal prep to care and our role in promoting healthy food intake and activity.”
For more information regarding the Nutrition Services Department, visit the department’s webpage on the WRNMMC website, www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil.
The new leadership team in the Nutrition Services Department at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center includes (from left) Army Lt. Col. Asma Bukhari, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ruben Muletpons, Army Maj. Ericka Cisco, and Navy Senior Chief Vaundas Bostic.