United Hospital Center

By Kelly Povroznik

Kelly PovroznikMy name is Kelly Povroznik, and I am the director of Food and Nutrition Services and a clinical dietitian at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia (an affiliate of United Hospital Center (UHC)). Nutrition is important to me because it affects every facet of our being. If we are nutritionally deficient, then we are not physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

I first learned of ASPEN Malnutrition Awareness WeekTM (MAW) through their website. After attending the ASPEN 2019 Nutrition Science & Practice Conference in Phoenix, I was inspired to be an active participant and to also have UHC be an Ambassador for MAW.

At the time that I worked on my first MAW campaign, I was a clinical dietitian at UHC in Bridgeport, West Virginia. With Ambassador information in hand, I asked my supervisor, if we could join. She loved the idea and obtained approval from administration. UHC then received the honor of being the first hospital in West Virginia named as an Ambassador for Malnutrition Awareness Week.

From there, I enlisted the assistance of the hospital marketing team. Together, we created an expansive campaign for Malnutrition Awareness Week. We created brochures for department mailboxes, sent out emails to all hospital staff, posted information on our intranet, placed screen savers on nursing unit computers and posters by hand sanitizer stations, hung a large banner near the cafeteria entrance, and posted on social media.

We were also able to invite ASPEN staff member and dietitian, Ainsley Malone, to talk about malnutrition on our local news channel, WDTV. The interview expanded our reach to most of West Virginia.

MAW Banner UWVUHC’s participation in Malnutrition Awareness Week 2019 helped to begin educating the hospital staff and community on the growing epidemic of malnutrition. After MAW19, we held a brainstorming session for ideas to explore in 2020. The one tip I would give to Ambassadors is work with all your teams — your administration, supervisors, coworkers, and especially your marketing department. Input and help from our team is truly what made our MAW campaign at UHC a success.

There are so many benefits to being an MAW Ambassador—and it’s really not that much work. Malnutrition Awareness Week empowered our team to be proactive, offering opportunities to meet other healthcare practitioners and share information on how to spot and care for patients with malnutrition. It also helped in educating our patients about malnutrition. We now realize that our efforts have and will enable us to assist the people of West Virginia in becoming a healthier population—in all aspects—one day at a time.

Read more ambassador stories.