May 28, 2019
Halal meal options are now available to patients at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. Checking out a few of the offerings are, from left: Kiran Malik-Khan, Northern Lights Health Foundation Board Member and communications director for Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council Fort McMurray chapter; Jennifer Applin, manager, Patient Food Services; Murray Crawford, AHS Senior Operating Officer, Area 10; Kathy Clarke (Food Services supervisor; and Mohammed-Ali Al-Zabidi (president, Markaz Ul Islam, Congregation of Fort McMurray).
Story by Logan Clow
FORT McMURRAY — A new Halal menu option at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre (NLRHC) has community members here applauding the hospital’s dedication to diversity and inclusion.
The hospital has served more than 100 certified Halal meals since it began offering the meal choice last November.
“It truly represents a milestone celebrating how inclusive our community is,” says Mohammed-Ali Al-Zabidi, president, Markaz-Ul Islam, Congregation of Fort McMurray.
The NLRHC is the eighth Alberta Health Services (AHS) facility — and lone North Zone facility — to serve Halal foods. Seven other AHS facilities, all located in Edmonton and Calgary, also currently offer the option.
“This is how you build and strengthen a community and champion diversity. This launch is a major milestone, and a much-awaited community need,” says Kiran Malik-Khan, Northern Lights Health Foundation Board Member, and communications director for Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC), Fort McMurray chapter.
Murray Crawford, AHS Senior Operating Officer for Area 10, says the inclusion of Halal meal options at the hospital is one of many examples that illustrates the progressive actions that led the Canadian College of Health Leaders to recently name AHS as their recipient of the 2019 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award.
“This is one example of how we listen to patient feedback. We’re pleased to offer a comprehensive food-services menu for our patients,” says Crawford.
“This reflects our ongoing efforts and commitment in supporting the diverse needs of our patients and community. It’s important to us that our patients are comfortable while they receive the care they need here. One of many ways we do that is by offering our patients healthy and nutritious meals that align with their dietary preference.”
“Halal” is an Arabic term in Islam that means “permissible.” The dietary rules of Islam determine accepted Halal food.
Jennifer Applin, manager of Patient Food Services at the NLRHC, notes that this menu option offers a balanced, nutritionally adequate diet without pork or any sources of alcohol. Halal-certified beef and poultry are offered as well as fish and vegan choices to supplement the diet.
Generally, a breakfast tray includes hot cereal, toast, cheese, milk, juice and a hot beverage. A lunch meal includes soup, crackers, salad, vegan meal (which includes a protein, starch and vegetable), dessert and a hot beverage. Dinners, which are Halal-certified, include a protein, starch and vegetable, as well as dessert and a hot beverage.