Health meets Food: the Culinary Medicine Conference Speakers 2022

Friday: Food Security and Culinary Medicine

Karen Washington

Rise & Root Farm

Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life, and has spent decades promoting urban farming as a way for all New Yorkers to access to fresh, locally grown food.

Karen has been a resident of the Bronx for over 26 years, although in 2015 she began living part time in Orange County, NY near the farm. Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Karen worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate, she stood up and spoken out for garden protection and preservation. As a member of the La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden fresh vegetables to her neighbors. She also co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award.

Professionally Karen was a Physical Therapist for over 30 years, and she “retired” in April 2014 to start Rise & Root Farm.
To grow your own food gives you power and dignity. You know exactly what you’re eating because you grew it. It’s good, it’s nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community.”

Cindy Leung, ScD

The Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

Dr. Leung is a nutrition epidemiologist whose research focuses on diet and health disparities in vulnerable populations. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, her research focuses on three primary areas: 1) understanding stress as a novel mechanism underlying food insecurity and children’s risk of obesity, 2) evaluating the impact of participating in federal food programs on dietary behaviors and chronic disease risk, and 3) assessing stakeholder-supported strategies for improving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She has also conducted several studies on diet and cellular aging.

Kofi Essel, MD, MPH

George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Dr. Essel is a board-certified community pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s National and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWUSMHS). Dr. Essel also serves as the Director of the GWUSMHS Community/Urban Health Scholarly Concentration for medical students and is a contributor on the Clinical Public Health Leadership Team. He has over 10 years of experience in nutrition and obesity education. His advocacy work and research revolves around health care training, health disparities and community engagement, with a special interest and national recognition in the areas of addressing obesity and food insecurity in families.

Dr. Essel grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is happily married, has 2 children and loves cooking and spending time with his family.

Chef Elizabeth Suvedi

Manager, Culinary Medicine
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Chef Elizabeth manages the culinary medicine program for Spectrum Health.

For over 15 years, she worked in human resources consulting for companies like Willis Towers Watson, Motorola, Ford, Whirlpool, and Amway. Often working long hours each week, Suvedi and her husband (whom she met at Michigan State) knew they needed to strike a more realistic balance for their growing family. Suvedi transitioned to different roles in her professional career, but didn’t feel totally fulfilled. “I hit a point where I needed to make a more impactful change”.

Jaclyn Lewis Albin, MDJaclyn Lewis Albin, MD

Director UT Southwestern Culinary Medicine Program
Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Albin launched UT Southwestern’s Culinary Medicine Program and serves as its Director, working to teach nutrition through hands-on cooking classes to students, health care professionals, and the community. She is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and practices primary care across the lifespan. She also serves as the founding Associate Program Director for the combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program.

Dr. Albin is trained in lifestyle medicine and is a certified culinary medicine specialist (CCMS). She serves on the national advisory board for the CCMS program and studies the impact of culinary medicine classes in medical education and patient care. She is passionate about nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental influences on health, and she seeks to drive positive change at a population health level. Food as medicine delivers a unique opportunity to integrate the clinical, educational, and research aspects of this work through the training of future health care professionals, delivery of innovative patient support in lifestyle behavior change, and high-quality research.

Milette Siler, RD, LD, CCMS

Culinary Medicine Community Dietitian
UT Southwestern | Moncrief Cancer Institute

Milette Siler has been involved with the Culinary Medicine project since 2014, when a collaboration between Moncrief Cancer Institute and Texas Christian University first brought the program to North Texas. Her career is focused upon advancing Culinary Medicine in both a professional student and community setting.

In the Professional Student arena, Milette serves as Culinary Medicine dietetic instructor for UT Southwestern’s medical school, bringing enhanced nutrition education to medical students, residents, and other health professionals. She also enjoys her continued partnership with Texas Christian University, working as an adjunct preceptor collaborating with dietetic interns to bring nutrition education to students at UNT Health Science Center. In the Community setting, Milette teaches hands-on cooking classes for cancer survivor patients served at Moncrief Cancer Institute. Additionally, she networks with local food pantries and other organizations to bring Culinary Medicine to underserved populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Milette is an enthusiastic food scientist, and would like to take this opportunity to thank her husband and children for always being willing to try her kitchen “experiments” with a smile.

Saturday: Culinary Medicine Practice Transformation

Chef Emily Schlag, RD, LDN

St. Barnabas Hospital

Emily Schlag is general manager of the Teaching Kitchen and Center for Culinary Medicine, a part of the new SBH Health and Wellness Center which opens this fall. Emily is a chef and registered dietitian who was most recently assistant program director at the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans.

She holds a B.S. degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University and is working towards a Master’s degree in in public health with a focus on nutrition. She is fulfilling her dream of combining her passion for food with her desire to inspire others to make positive changes in their health and well-being. This includes providing nutrition education in the form of hands-on cooking classes, which will be a key component of our culinary center.

Chef Heather NaceChef Heather Nace, RD, LDN

Director of Operations, Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

Heather Nace is originally from Baltimore, MD and holds a B.S. in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. She is currently pursuing an M.S. in Health & Wellness Management at Tulane University. As the Director of Operations of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, she is able to combine her experience of running a small business for twelve years with her culinary and nutrition knowledge. She provides leadership and coordination of medical student and community programming, kitchen operations, training of students, and special events. As a registered dietitian with a culinary background, Heather hopes to inspire others to achieve good health by sharing her knowledge and passions for food, nutrition, and home cooking.

Jaclyn Lewis Albin, MDJaclyn Lewis Albin, MD

Director UT Southwestern Culinary Medicine Program
Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Jaclyn Albin treats patients of all ages and trained in combined internal medicine and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. She joined the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2014 where she practices primary care in the Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Clinic. Dr. Albin also serves as the Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program.

She is passionate about nutrition, lifestyle, and other environmental influences on health, and she teaches her patients, students, and residents to prioritize these areas. She also studies the impact of childhood adverse experiences, often known as toxic stress, on adult health. Dr. Albin loves blending her love of nutrition and wellness with cooking, growing a garden, traveling, and spending time with her husband and children.

Kristi Artz, MDKristi Artz, MD, dipABLM, CCMS

Spectrum Health Medical Director Lifestyle Medicine

Kristi Artz, MD is the Medical Director of Lifestyle & Culinary Medicine at Spectrum Health. She is a practicing board-certified Emergency Medicine physician since 2006, Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist since 2017 and diplomate of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in 2018. Her current work is focused on reimagining how we connect with patients using personalized lifestyle interventions and transforming healthcare delivery models with a focus on improving health behaviors to prevent and reverse chronic disease.

Dr. Artz and her multidisciplinary team of chefs, Registered Dietitians, and certified health wellness coaches at Spectrum Health work with individual patients, teams, healthcare professionals and community members in a variety of dynamic in-person and virtual formats. Follow this link more information about Lifestyle and Culinary Medicine Spectrum Health.

Joette Giovinco, MD, MPH

Experienced Medical Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the broadcast media industry. Skilled in Television, Broadcast Journalism, Environmental Medicine, Preventive Medicine, and Occupational Medicine. Strong media and communication professional with a Master’s degree focused in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.


Sunday: Culinary Medicine in Healthcare Foodservice

Gary Cohen

Healthcare Without Harm

Gary Cohen has been a pioneer in the environmental health movement for more than 35 years. He has helped build coalitions and networks globally to address health impacts related to climate change and toxic chemical exposure. Cohen is co-founder and president of Health Care Without Harm, created in 1996 to help transform the health care sector to be environmentally sustainable and support the health and climate resilience of the communities they serve. Since its inception, the nonprofit has grown to lead and partner in groundbreaking initiatives in more than 72 countries.

Monica Aggarwal, MD, FACC

Adjunct Associate Professor, Division of Cardiology
University of Florida/Shands Hospital

Monica Aggarwal, MD, is an associate professor of medicine in the University of Florida Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Serving as the Director of Integrative Cardiology and Prevention at the University of Florida, Dr. Aggarwal focuses on promoting food as the foundation of healing and for its medicinal value. She is also the Director of Medical Education for Cardiology, where she directs education for medical residents and cardiology fellows, with a focus on prevention, nutrition and lifestyle. In the hospital, she has multiple initiatives including developing a 100% plant based menu for cardiac and vascular patients.

Dr. Aggarwal gives talks around the community and the country. She was named a “Next Generation Innovator” by Cardiology Today. She is often featured in Veg News, Naked Magazine and has been featured in She conducts research on nutrition education in medical institutions and on how a plant based diet impacts cardiovascular disease.

Chef Cary Neff

Chef Cary Neff is devoted to cuisine that is both satisfying and healthful.   Chef Neff revolutionized healthy cooking with the introduction of Conscious Cuisine,®. A quest to utilize food as medicine to demonstrate wellness thru conscious efforts to select, prepare and enjoy nutrient dense foods that excite the senses with satisfying flavors and immune boosting goodness. Chef Neff is a fierce advocate in combating food insecurity, engagement with local and national food banks by creating delicious recipes of most readily available plant-based ingredients. Re-inventing Americas dinner plate by using properly portioned animal proteins as a tasty compliment to provide unparalleled flavor and balanced nutrition.  His New York Times best-selling cookbook, Conscious Cuisine, reflects this “savoring the moment” philosophy with recipes that are delicious, elegant, and easy to prepare.

As an independent culinary consultant and president of Culinary Innovations and Neff Group consultant services, Chef Neff heads a think tank of talented food scientist, dietitians, chefs and physicians dedicated to re-invent food industries servicing healthcare, education, senior care, and hospitality food service. Demonstrating how to purchase foods, consciously, how to develop menus and recipes mindfully by focusing on the power of food to deliciously satisfy, nourish

Trained in classical French cooking at Chicago’s venerable Washburne Trade School while apprenticing under the tutelage renowned chefs and award-winning restaurants and hotels. Chef Neff has enjoyed a fascinating culinary career. Formally, serving as the Vice President of Morrison Healthcare/Compass One. In addition, Chef Neff held positions as executive chef at the 8700 Restaurant, in Scottsdale, AZ, and has served as both the general manager and executive chef of the historic Wrigley Mansion Club in Phoenix.  He was also the first chef for the Scottsdale Princess Resort, playing an instrumental role in obtaining the coveted AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Four Star awards; he also held prestigious positions at such respected Chicago establishments as the Ritz Carlton-Four Seasons Hotel and the Park Hyatt Hotel.


Karl Guggenmos, MBA, AACKarl Guggenmos, MBA, AAC

Executive Consultant, HMS
Dean Emeritus, Johnson & Wales University

Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos is the senior culinary advisor at Healthy Meals Supreme. He is also Dean Emeritus at Johnson & Wales University (JWU), where he recently retired as the university dean of the culinary development after a 30 -year tenure at the university where he also served as the university dean of culinary education as well as an instructor, overseeing 4 campuses and more than 6000 students.

During his 50-year career, Dean Guggenmos has consulted on many initiatives including the culinary medical program established at the Goldring Center of Culinary Medicine at Tulane University Medical School. This program was adopted by more than 35 medical schools across the United States. He also served on Advisory Boards with Starbucks and Tyson.

Earlier in his career, Dean Guggenmos served as the executive chef at restaurants worldwide until 1988, when he joined JWU. Global Master Chef Guggenmos is the recipient of a long list of prestigious awards including the Silver Star Medal Chaine des Rotisseurs (2016), Education Ambassador of Rhode Island (2015) and Presidential Medallion, American Culinary Federation (2010).

Global Master Chef Guggenmos is a member of a variety of organizations including the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the Retail Bakers of America, the Golden Toque and the National Association of Catering Executives. He is regularly invited to judge prestigious culinary competitions worldwide and was named a Global Master Chef by the World Association of Chefs Societies in 2008. Global Master Chef Guggenmos also holds an MBA from JWU.

Chef Kerri Dotson, RDN, LDN, Director of Operations and Executive Chef - George Washington University Culinary Medicine ProgramChef Kerri Dotson, RDN, LDN, CCMS

Director of Operations & Executive Chef – George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program

Chef/RD Kerri Dotson has worked in diverse areas of nutrition and foodservice industries including restaurants, critical care, public health, maternal health, outpatient counseling, and community nutrition since receiving her B.S. in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University and completing her Dietetic Internship at Tulane University. As Executive Chef and Director of Operations for the George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program – the premier interdisciplinary program bridging culinary arts, science, nutrition, and medicine – Kerri is fulfilling her dream by combining individualized counseling and nutrition education with hands-on cooking classes. Through this revolutionary program Kerri teaches medical students, healthcare and foodservice professionals, and the community at large, how to cook food that is affordable, healthful, easy to prepare, and most of all, delicious.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMSTimothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS

Executive Director – George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program
Chairman – Culinary Medicine Specialist Board

“Eating well and eating healthy is the same thing,” says Dr. Tim Harlan, aka Dr. Gourmet, who discovered his love of food long before embarking on a successful career as a physician. By the age of 18, Harlan was managing his first restaurant and had learned cooking techniques from some of the finest chefs. He subsequently opened an intimate French bistro at age 22.

Returning to school to pursue a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Dr. Harlan found his way to medicine. While completing his degree at Emory University School of Medicine, he began writing about the clear link between food and health, blending his extensive knowledge of food and nutrition with his medical expertise.

Barbara Kamp, RD, CCMS

Chef Barbara Kamp, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, earned a Masters Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University. She joined the Culinary Medicine Specialist Board in June 2021 to lead the programming for chefs and foodservice professionals.

Kamp comes to the CMSB from Johnson and Wales University where she was an Assistant Professor teaching a variety of culinary lab courses including Cooking in the Global Market Place, The Science of Cooking and Sensory Analysis, and Plant Based Cookery. Kamp also teaches an academic course, Introduction to Nutrition, to culinary and baking and pastry students.

Prior to joining the faculty at Johnson and Wales University, Kamp conducted research at the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging at Florida International University, Miami, FL. She coordinated a national demonstration project of the Steps to Healthier Aging; Eat Better and Move More program. Kamp studied at the California Culinary Academy where she graduated with honors. She has a wide range of experience in the food industry. Kamp worked at the Doral Saturnia International Spa and Resort, where she perfected her skill in the art and science of preparing healthy, low fat, high taste foods.

Before entering food service Kamp received her Bachelor of Science in Art from New York University where her fields of emphasis were sculpture and silversmithing. Kamp has lived all over the United States and has a great understanding and appreciation of each regions individual cuisine. She also lived abroad in England, where she continued to study sculpture and in Brazil, where she became fluent in Portuguese.

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