Spectrum Health – Grand Rapids, Michigan


Lead Dietician – Krista Gast, RD

  • 18 years’ experience as a registered dietician
  • Certified in Weight Management
  • Obtaining Certification in Integrative & Functional Nutrition
  • artzkristi@gmail.com

Lead Chef – Werner Absenger, PhD, MSc

  • Program Director at GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education (SICE)
  • Ph.D., Mind Body Medicine
  • M.Sc., Human Nutrition
  • wernerabsenger@grcc.edu

Lead Physician – Kristi Artz, MD, CCMS

Director, Behavioral Science and Lifestyle Management – Leanne Mauriello, PhD

Advisor, Behavioral Science and Lifestyle Management – Kate Swanic, MHA


Research Interests

We have recently submitted two grants that cater to our research interests. They are as follows:

– Grant submitted to study the impact of culinary medicine on at-risk underserved pediatric patients

– Grant submitted to study the impact of culinary medicine on heart failure patients


Funding Mechanisms 

– America’s Promise Grant (for residency piece)

– Internal grant for heart failure- pending

– External grant for pediatric patients – pending

– Launching CME in May

– Philanthropy dollars via system foundation – pending

– Two class pilot funded by affiliate payor

– Departmental funds via corporate system allocation


IRB Status 

Spectrum Health currently has our own IRB and has classified this research as exempt.


Status of program adoption and implementation

– High level, we have used residency and community programming and are nearing the roll-out of CME programming

– Residency programming at Spectrum Health is inclusive of two week elective that ran in Fall of ’17, with planned elective offering in Fall ’18

– Residency programming once a month for four months for cardiology fellows at Spectrum Health

– Piloted community programming for environmental and nutrition services at Spectrum Health