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Marc Allen and Mary Howard preparing salmon.
Marc Allen of Food and Nutrition Services prepares salmon to be served in the Virginia Mason Hospital cafeteria. Mary Howard, director, Food and Nutrition Services, watches.

SEATTLE – (Sept. 1, 2016) — Virginia Mason Medical Center and Mary Howard, director, Food and Nutrition Services, have been named a 2016 Ocean Hero by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for making sustainable seafood a part of the health care setting.

“This recognition is a testament to the deep commitment Mary and her team have to serving healthy food while protecting our food systems,” said Brenna Davis, director, Sustainability.

In July 2014, Virginia Mason became the first medical center in the United States to earn MSC certification for serving only seafood grown and harvested by certified sustainable methods. Since then, Virginia Mason has expanded its offerings and now exclusively serves MSC-certified seafood in the hospital cafeteria.

“We serve fresh, MSC-certified fish daily to provide our staff and patients with healthy, nutritious meal options,” Howard said. “The certification helps us manage our supply chain to ensure quality, minimize environmental impacts and protect oceans for future generations.”

MSC is an international, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to safeguard seafood supplies for the future. The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means it is sourced from a sustainable and well-managed fishery and is traceable from ocean to plate. Close to 10 percent of the annual global harvest of wild-capture fisheries are MSC-certified.

Virginia Mason is approved to use the blue MSC ecolabel. Learn more about how the medical center is protecting the environment.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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