The 167-bed Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage serves Alaska Native and American Indian people, many who bring appetites for subsistence foods, according to an article on the ADN website.
A network of donors, staff and Alaska tribal organizations work together to provide the traditional food.
Providing it isn't easy. Hospital food services are carefully regulated. So is subsistence fare. It took an act of the federal government — the 2013 Traditional Foods Nourishment Act — to pave the way for regular subsistence service at public and nonprofit facilities, the article said.
Prior to that federal legislation, about 30 percent of ANMC's inpatient menu was comprised of traditional items. Now, about 60 percent of the menu contains items that range from simple favorites like caribou stew to modern fusions like pizza topped with fiddlehead ferns.
Providing these options can show patients that their culture is valued and recognized and can have a healing, restorative effect.
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