University of Miami Chartwells' Manager Honored With the Inaugural Leadership in University Nutrition Award

Michael Ross to Receive Prestigious Nutrition Award for Pioneering Universal Meals at the University of Miami
Universal Meals
Universal MealsCourtesy of Universal Meals

MIAMI— Chartwells Resident District Manager at the University of Miami Michael Ross will be honored during a luncheon ceremony at noon on Thursday, Feb. 29, at the University of Miami’s Faculty Club at 1350 Miller Drive in Coral Gables. Ross will receive the Washington, DC-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s inaugural Leadership in University Nutrition Award, which recognizes his pioneering effort to initiate Universal Meals at the University of Miami in 2021 and expanding today.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Physicians Committee for Responsible MedicineCourtesy of PCRM

Universal Meals is a plant-based food program free of animal ingredients and the top nine allergens, which caters to students, staff, and guests with various dietary needs. Universal Meals recipes Breezy Burrito Bowl, No-Bake Brownie Bites, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Berries will be served at the ceremony on Thursday.

Chartwells’ Michael Ross and the University of Miami were pioneers by being the first university and dining service in the U.S. to find a solution to serving a student population with diverse nutritional requirements by piloting delicious, Universal Meals in the dining halls.

Alicia Sirkin, chair of the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine’s President’s Council

Sirkin and Physicians Committee President Neal Barnard, MD, will present the award. The Physicians Committee, a nonprofit organization with more than 17,000 doctor members, launched Universal Meals in 2021 as a means of improving the health of everyone in communities serving large, diverse populations, like universities and hospitals. Since its inception, Universal Meals programs have been adopted by nearly one dozen institutions. The Physicians Committee offers recipes and instruction for Universal Meals at no cost.

Universal Meals
Universal MealsCourtesy of Universal Meals

Sirkin adds, “A champion in bringing Universal Meals to this campus, Michael Ross has gone on to expand the program to other areas of the university, like developing a teaching kitchen series for students that focuses on Universal Meals recipes to prepare in their dorms or apartments, and serving Universal Meals recipes at a large campus-sponsored event.”

A new and innovative concept, Universal Meals recipes are free of the top nine allergens (milk, eggs, wheat, sesame, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and peanuts) and do not contain animalderived ingredients; gluten-containing grains; or alcohol. 

“Michael Ross and the University of Miami are culinary leaders,” says Dr. Barnard. “The foods are nutritious, delicious, and serve everyone—from people looking for healthy vegan meals to those seeking to avoid gluten or allergens. With the Universal Meals program, everyone has a seat at the table.” He adds, “I would like to especially commend Alicia Sirkin for bringing the Universal Meals program forward so effectively.”

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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