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Rex Healthcare to Participate in Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 4

Effort is Latest in Series of Steps by Hospital Chefs to Encourage Healthy Eating

March 28, 2012

Contact: Alan M. Wolf
(919) 784-4467

RALEIGH, N.C. - On April 4, Rex Healthcare will participate in the first Whole Grain Sampling Day, a nationwide initiative sponsored by the Whole Grains Council. Rex will join major companies in the food industry, including ConAgra, Wal-Mart and McDonald's, in promoting whole grain foods and encouraging Americans to add more whole grains to their diets.

Lunch visitors to Rex's Courtyard Café on April 4 will be able to try free samples of items made with whole grains found on the hospital's menu: wheatberries, barley, bulgur and more. Rex's Black Hat Chefs will also answer questions and demonstrate healthy cooking techniques. "We have some unique ingredients in our menu that customers might be intimidated by," said Ryan Conklin, executive chef at Rex. "Customers will have the chance to try them without having to buy and may find something healthy they like."

Rex serves 3,500 customers a day in its Courtyard and Korner Cafés, in addition to 1,000 patient meals. Conklin hopes that the sampling day will encourage customers to try something new and healthy. He plans to send information cards about the benefits of eating whole grains on the food trays delivered to patient rooms.

"Our goal is to get the healthy, whole grain message out to the community," Conklin added. "We will have recipes and chefs talking about how to cook the dishes, which are very simple. We want the community and our co-workers to be able to use it when they go home."

Participating in Whole Grain Sampling Day is just the latest in a series of healthy food initiatives at Rex. Conklin and Jim McGrody, Rex's director of Culinary and Nutrition Services, recently visited East Chapel Hill High School to educate students about whole grains. Additionally, Rex is scheduled to remove all fryers from its kitchens in April, becoming the first hospital in the state to eliminate fried foods.

"As a health-care organization, we are really looking at our menu to make sure it's healthy," Conklin said. "We want to use our chefs' talent and focus on making good healthy meals for our patients and customers."

Rex is one of only three major hospitals nationally that are participating in the sampling day. "Having health-care organizations participate confirms the benefits of whole grains like reducing inflammation and the risk of cancer," said Karen Mansur, Program Manager with the Whole Grains Council. "Having the health-care outlets on our side is great for getting the message out to our consumers."

Learn more about Conklin's efforts to bring healthy, gourmet cuisine to the Rex community at Rex Connects, a new health and wellness blog, http://www.rexhealthblog.com.

Media Opportunity:
What: Rex Chefs will offer free samples of items made with whole grains for Whole Grain Sampling Day. Try some healthy menu items and learn about the benefits of eating whole grain foods.
When: Wednesday, April 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Rex Healthcare's Courtyard Café, 4420 Lake Boone Trail

NOTE: Members of the media will need to be escorted to the hospital's café. Please RSVP to Alan Wolf, alan.wolf@rexhealth.com or (919) 784-4467. Parking is free.

About Rex Healthcare

Rex Healthcare, a member of UNC Health Care, is a private, not-for-profit health care system with more than 5,300 co-workers. Rex Healthcare has 660 beds (433 general acute beds and 227 skilled nursing) and treats nearly 34,000 inpatients each year. Rex offers dedicated centers for cancer, surgery, heart and vascular, post-acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, wellness and women's care plus dedicated services for bariatric, heartburn, pain management, sleep disorders, diabetes education, wound and emergency care. Rex's medical staff includes more than 1,100 physicians and 1,700 nurses. Rex provides various health care services throughout Wake County with facilities in Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wakefield and downtown Raleigh. Rex was the first hospital in the Triangle to receive Magnet Recognition, placing Rex nurses among the top 6 percent in the nation. Rex was named one of the top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and was highlighted as one of the Top 50 Hospitals in the U.S. by Becker's Hospital Review in 2011.

About the Whole Grains Council

The Whole Grains Council is a nonprofit consumer advocacy group that works to increase consumption of whole grains. Formed in 2002, the WGC has grown significantly and created the Whole Grain Stamp, a familiar packaging symbol that helps consumers identify whole grain products. To learn more about the council or Whole Grain Sampling Day, visit www.wholegrainscouncil.org.