Nov 22, 2022 Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Food & Nutrition Service Team Member Earns Lifetime Achievement Award and Becomes U.S. Citizen During Same Week

Norman White, second from left, with his Food Services team colleagues.

(New Brunswick) - Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Food & Nutrition Service Team Member Norman White had two reasons to celebrate recently – he became a United States Citizen and his colleagues honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award during 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 Food & Nutrition Service Team Family honored him with the department’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to RWJUH and commitment to customer satisfaction and overall excellence.

A member of the RWJUH Family for more than 30 years, White started working in Food & Nutrition Service while a student at Franklin High School. A teacher there connected him with Human Resources at RWJUH and he worked his way up to become a cook.

“I told my English teacher at the time, Mrs. Superville, that I wanted to work and she knew a Human Resources person at RWJUH,” White recalled. “She connected me with Jack (Food & Nutrition Service Assistant Director Jack Jegou) and Tony (Food & Nutrition Service Director Tony Almeida) and I have been here ever since.”

After he landed the job at RWJUH, White started by delivering food trays to patient rooms. He admits “it took a couple of weeks to get used to it” but soon found 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 always loved to cook back home in Jamaica.”

He enjoys meeting the challenge of cooking for the hundreds of employees and visitors who visit the RWJUH Dining Room each day, but also likes to cook traditional Jamaican dishes such as oxtail stew and brown-stew chicken when he’s not at work.

Although White has been in the U.S. since he was a child and has worked at RWJUH for nearly three decades, he was not a U.S. Citizen. He began preparing for the citizenship exam 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 citizen and what I would miss out on.”

For a month, White studied a list of 100 questions and had to successfully complete an exam with 10 randomly selected from the group. He passed and was excited to vote in his first election in November.

Over the years, colleagues have asked him if he would ever be interested in working in a different department. Not a chance, White says.
“Our team is great – I can’t see myself working in another department,” he said. “I love it here.”

He recalled how the department came together to keep the hospital operating during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People worked 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 one son and three daughters. His oldest, Melissa, is currently attending Duke University Medical School. Her goal is to become an anesthesiologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital one day.

“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) New Brunswick, a 614-bed RWJBarnabas Health Facility, is New Jersey’s largest academic medical center through its deep partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. RWJUH is the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of 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 and children’s care including The 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 ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness. 

Contact: Peter Haigney
RWJUH Public Relations
(732) 937-8568