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UMass Healthcare Culinary Conference: Bridging Healthcare, Food, and Community

  • Event
  • Wednesday, June 05, 2024 - Thursday, June 06, 2024
Join us for UMass Amherst’s inaugural 2-day workshop specifically designed for healthcare professionals where you will gain experience in:

Developing culinary skills that support dietary guidelines, reflect cultural preferences, and meet economic constraints.
Understanding the social determinants of health and the impact of food insecurity on individual health.
Recognizing and appreciating the significance of food in preserving cultural identity.
Identifying the importance of collaboration between healthcare systems and community food systems to address nutrition-related health disparities.
To provide a model for an integrated academic-community effort to improve health outcomes, alleviate food insecurity, and promote food is medicine through the delivery of a culinary medicine program designed to teach medical professionals about dietary guidelines, cultural food preferences, food systems, and hands on preparation of healthy foods to change patient behaviors and reduce healthcare costs.

Hands-on Experience
Tour a local farm to develop a common understanding of the terms: healthy, local, and sustainable produce and explore the interconnectedness of these concepts and their impact on community health and wellbeing.

Prepare cultural and/or economic constraint dishes under the guidance of an expert chef to gain appreciation of food preparation and preferences of various community members living in Western Massachusetts.

Learn and grow in your knowledge of:

The historical evolution of science-based recommendations, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), to trace the development and changes in nutritional guidelines over time.
Current consumer perspectives on food, nutrition, and health through research and analysis of contemporary data and surveys to stay updated on prevalent public attitudes and beliefs.
What is food insecurity and how does it impact health, well-being, and ability to manage chronic disease.
The importance of food in maintaining culture and connection.
How collaboration between partners within health care systems and community food systems is essential to promoting access to healthy food.
Quick Agenda:
Wednesday, June 5th 2024

8:30-12 pm: Local Farm tour and conversation with Agriculture Extension Services
12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch at Blue Wall on UMass Amherst campus
1:30-1:45 pm: Welcome
1:45-2:45 pm: Keynote Speaker: Michel Nischan, “Advocating for Equitable Food Access”
2:45-3:00 pm: Break
3:00-4:00 pm: “Food Insecurity and the Impact of MassHealth Flexible Services” with Drs. Cordeiro and Hager
4:00-5:00 pm: Stefanos Kales
5:00-6:00 pm: Break
6:00 –8:30 pm: Cocktails, Dinner, Speaker and Panel Discussion
Dean Anna Maria Siega-Riz, “Evolution of the Dietary Guidelines”
“Tailoring of Dietary Advice –Insights from Healthcare Professionals”
Thursday, June 6th, 2024

8:30- 9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00-12:00 pm: Morning Session
“Consumer Food and Health Perspectives” with Dr. Milton Stokes
“The Sensory Importance of Food” with Dr. Alissa Nolden
“Designing Health Next-generation Plant-based Foods” with Dr. Julian McClements
12:00- 1:30 pm: Lunch and Panel Discussion
“Community Partners Working in Food is Medicine Programs”
1:45-4:30 pm: Hands-on Cooking Activity with Leading Chefs
4:30-5:00 pm: Wrap up
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President's Welcome

Hello friends,

April brought a whirlwind of activity with ANCE on April 5th and Day on the Hill (DOTH) on April 8th!

With “food as medicine” front and center in the healthcare crisis today, we were thrilled to host Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, one of the leading global experts on this topic as our keynote speaker!

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SNAP-ed Nutrition Educator .. Read more >

Funded MS or PhD Graduate student Fully funded graduate assistantships for RDNs or RDN-eligible students in a full-time MS or PhD program in Health Promotion Sciences beginning fall 2024 at the University of Connecticut. Successful.. Read more >

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MDEF Scholarships

For 2024, MDEF will be giving out two MDEF scholarships and one MDEF Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) scholarship to deserving nutrition students, each in the amount of $1500. Please pass along to any nutrition students or interns who may be eligible to apply!

All applications are due by May 31st