Norman White, second from left, with his colleagues from the Food Services team.
(New Brunswick) – Norman White, a member of the Food and Nutrition Service team at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), had two reasons to celebrate recently: he became a US citizen and his colleagues honored him with a lifetime achievement award in the same week!
White recently completed the requirements to become a US citizen just in time to vote in the recent election. To add to the celebration, his family from the Food and Nutrition Service Team presented him with the Department’s Achievement Award in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to RWJUH and his commitment to customer satisfaction. customer base and overall excellence.
A member of the RWJUH family for over 30 years, White began working in food and nutrition service while a student at Franklin High School. A teacher put him in touch with RWJUH human resources and he worked his way up to become a cook.
“I told my English teacher at the time, Ms. Superville, that I wanted to work and that she knew a human resources person at RWJUH,” White recalled. “She put me in touch with Jack (assistant director of food and nutrition service Jack Jegou) and Tony (director of food and nutrition service Tony Almeida) and I’ve been here ever since.”
After landing the job at RWJUH, White began delivering trays of food to patient rooms. He admits “it took him a few weeks to get used to it,” but he quickly realized that he enjoyed communicating with patients and families.
About 10 years into his career, Almeida encouraged him to begin training to become a cook.
“I fell in love with it right away,” White said. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking at home in Jamaica.”
He enjoys the challenge of cooking for the hundreds of employees and visitors who visit the RWJUH Dining Hall each day, but also enjoys cooking traditional Jamaican dishes such as Oxtail Stew and Brown Stew Chicken when he is not at work.
Although White has been in the United States since childhood and has worked at RWJUH for nearly three decades, he was not a US citizen. He started preparing for the citizenship test after his mother encouraged him to do so.
“My mom was the biggest influence,” he explained. “She explained to me all the benefits I would have as a citizen and what I would miss.”
For a month, White studied a list of 100 questions and had to pass an exam with 10 questions randomly chosen from the group. He passed and was thrilled to vote in his first election in November.
Over the years, colleagues have asked him if he would ever be interested in working in another department. Not a chance, said White.
“Our team is great – I can’t see myself working in any other department,” he said. “I really like it here.”
He recalled how the department came together to keep the hospital running during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People were working double shifts almost every day to keep the department running,” White said. “Everyone came together (to respond to the crisis).”
Norman is especially proud of his son and three daughters. His eldest, Melissa, is currently attending Duke University Medical School. Her goal is to one day become an anesthetist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
“I always tell my kids to treat people the way you like to be treated — it will always come back to you one day,” White said.
About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) of New Brunswick, a 614-bed RWJBarnabas Health Facility, is the largest academic medical center in New Jersey thanks to its extensive partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. RWJUH is the flagship cancer hospital of the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey. Its other centers of excellence include cardiovascular care, from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and women’s care. and children, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). A Level 1 trauma center and the first designated pediatric trauma center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its innovative approaches to emergency preparedness.
Contact: Pierre Haigney
Public Relations RWJUH