Zest: The Health meets Food Newsletter – January 2022

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of Zest.

Zest. It says a lot about what the folks who are involved with Culinary Medicine are about. People connected with the Culinary Medicine movement have just that: a zest for life, learning, and teaching.

Zest evokes the excitement and passion that is happening at the intersection of where health meets food.

New Members Join the Advisory Board for the CMSB

The Culinary Medicine Specialist Board has elected five new members to the Advisory Board.

The new members include Lizabeth Boulware, Chef Jeffrey Quasha, Richard McCarthy, Heather Nace, and Chef Ramana Pryor. This allows expansion of expertise on the board to include foodservice professionals and community members alongside representatives from private practice and academic medicine. In addition to the new members, Dr. Sabrina Falquier-Montgrain steps into the role of Chair of the Advisory Board with Liz Boulware taking over the newly created role of Secretary.

The Board directs activities of the CMSB and is organized into four committees including Standards, Certification, Marketing, and Clinical Support.

Standards Committee | Chair: Susan Warner, MD, CCMS
The Standards Committee sets guidelines for training and implementation of the Health meets Food courseware at partner sites and interacts with the Certification Commitee on issues related to the Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist program.

Certification Committee | Chair: Kerri Dotson, RD, LDN, CCMS
The Certification Committee sets guidelines for the certification exam as well as guiding the Health meets Food curriculum. The Curriculum Subcommittee reports to the Certification Commitee for validation of new courseware as well as continuous quality improvement.

Marketing Committee  |  Chair: Sabrina Falquier Montgrain, MD, CCMS
The Marketing Committee guides policy and process around efforts to spread the word about the Health meets Food curriculum, the Culinary Medicine Conference, and the Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist Program.

Clinical Support Committee  |  Chair: Kristi Artz, MD, dipABLM, CCMS
The Clinical Support Committee seeks to guide the process of implementation of Culinary Medicine programming  around efforts to spread the work about the  Health meets Food curriculum, the Culinary Medicine Conference and the Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist Program.

More information about the Advisory Board ».

Monthly Zest Food Lovers Questionnaire: CMSB Advisory Board Member

Leah Pryor

University of Vermont Medical Center
Executive Chef Manager

Chef Leah started her culinary career in 1994. She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with her AOS in culinary arts in 2000, and promptly took the Chef position at Fog Island Café, where she ran the kitchen and externship program teaching young cooks the ways of from scratch, high volume, breakfast and lunch cookery. She followed her passion for food to Vermont and took the chef position at Mary’s Restaurant Inn at Baldwin Creek. She worked closely with Chef/Owner Doug Mack who started the Vermont Fresh Network in 1996, way before farm to table was a movement.

In 2010 Chef Leah decided to make a change and went to work for the University of Vermont Medical Center. In 2017 she was awarded a UVMMC Foundation grant where she has been able to create the Chef Educator role and expand Culinary Medicine at UVMMC. There she continues to be an integral part of the Culinary Medicine team and program. In 2020 she was promoted to Executive Chef Manager in Nutrition Services where she oversees the culinary aspects of Patient Services and continues her work in leading the Culinary Medicine program.

What is your favorite ingredient?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What is your least favorite ingredient?

Salmon Roe

What turns you on creatively?

Creating with others.

What turns you off?

Spreadsheets. Useful to most but that’s not how my brain receives information.

What is your favorite recipe or meal?

Lobster boil on the beach.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you love?


What culinary flavor or aroma do you hate?

Hate’s a strong word… but I dislike overly smoked items.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


What profession would you not like to do?


Julia Child invites you to a potluck dinner with James Beard and Auguste Escoffier. What dish would you take?

I have many ideas for this question, but one of my favorite pot luck dishes that’s always stunning and a crowd pleaser is my Avocado Kimchi salad.

Registration is now open for the 8th annual Health meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference

This year’s meeting will take place June 9 through June 12, 2022 and offer a hybrid experience.

The conference will be held in Orlando, Florida in collaboration with the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management. There will be an online streaming option, similar to the 2021 conference, that will allow for the full conference experience, including lectures, expert panels, culinary skills-building programming, and small group interactions with your colleagues.

The overarching theme of this year’s conference is using Culinary Medicine and teaching kitchens as a practice transformation tool — how do we restructure clinical practice and healthcare foodservice with a focus on food and health amongst our patients, colleagues and policy makers.

Featured Culinary Medicine Conference Speaker: 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 and Naked Magazine, and has been featured in forksoverknives.com. She conducts research on nutrition education in medical institutions and on how a plant based diet impacts cardiovascular disease.

Culinary Medicine Conference Tuition and Discounts

Full conference tuition is $425.00.

There is a $50.00 Early Bird Discount for the conference registration that expires on March 1, 2022. The early bird discount is automatically applied.

In addition, there are discounts for certain groups:

$50.00 off for those in academia using their institution email address during registration, RDs, nurses, pharmacists, certified diabetic educators, chefs, and those working in foodservice. This discount is applied in addition to the Early Bird Discount. Use coupon code “welovelegumes”.

$150.00 tuition for medical students, nursing students, and undergraduates attending Health meets Food. Student discount does not apply to post-undergraduate students, residents, or fellows. (No Early Bird Discount is available for student tuition). Use coupon code “studentoflegumes”.

2022 Culinary Medicine Conference Host Hotel

This year’s host hotel will be the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld, and we have negotiated a nightly rate of $159.00.

Shuttles will be running daily between the hotel and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

View the List of Speakers »

View the Agenda »

Register Here >>

Book your hotel room now! »

Free Food Security Continuing Medical Education

Continuing Medical Education Online

The Health meets Food team now offers free continuing medical education programming focused on food security issues. The first two modules are available and can be accessed free online. One module covers food security in older adults, and the second covers the SNAP and WIC programs.

This is a significant issue for many in our society and the courseware covers background as well as actionable information for healthcare professionals.

Register Here »

Upcoming Culinary Medicine Events

Continuing Medical Education via Zoom

The Health meets Food team began offering online hands-on cooking classes for CME credit in early May 2020. The classes have been very successful and our first round sold out, so we are adding more classes! Participants will use Zoom to gather, collaborate, cook together, and discuss case studies. Each module will follow the workflow of in-person programming and will take about 3 1/2 hours to complete. A shopping and equipment list is available for each module to guide you in preparation.

For registration issues, questions, or for more event information, please contact Cecilia Hatfield at cecilia@culinarymedicine.org.

January 14, 2022 – CME Module 03 – Fats

January 16, 2022 – CME Module 08 – The Pediatric Diet: A Family Approach to Healthy Children

February 11, 2022 – CME Module 06 – Sodium, Potassium, and Hypertension

February 12, 2022 – CME Module 01 – Introduction to Culinary Medicine

March 12, 2022 – CME Module 16 – Anti-Inflammatory Diet

March 13, 2022 – CME Module 04 – Food Allergy & Intolerance

April 8, 2022 – CME Module 07 – Carbohydrates

April 10, 2022 – CME Module 01 – Introduction to Culinary Medicine

May 6, 2022 – CME Module 02 – Weight Management & Portion Control

May 7, 2022 – CME Module 05 – Protein, Amino Acids, Vegetarian Diets, and Eating Disorders

Register now!

Curriculum Committee Meetings Every Second Thursday of the Month

Health meets Food Curriculum Committee meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time. All partner sites are invited to join the Zoom meeting. The goal for the remainder of this academic year is to review the carbohydrates module.

You can find Zoom information for participation in the monthly meeting in the Instructor Resources inside Moodle.

Research Committee Meetings Every Third Thursday of the Month

The Health meets Food Research Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time.

Information on how to join the meeting via Zoom can be found in the Research Information for Health meets Food section of the Instructor Resources

Culinary Medicine in the News

Job Opening: Director, Culinary Medicine and Teaching Kitchen
St. Barnabas, The Bronx

The Director for the SBH Center for Culinary Medicine & Teaching Kitchen serves in a multi-faceted capacity which involves the daily operations of all related programs, including personnel management, strategic development, financial management, and collaborative communication. The Director will plan, develop, implement, evaluate and manage the various programs, including leveraging best practices and fostering an environment of continuous improvement, innovation and growth.

6 Week Intro To Culinary Medicine Course

Six-week intro to Culinary Medicine course

  • Live group, online classes taught by Culinary Medicine specialist, Dr. Erin Presant
  • Full of evidence-based info and guidance for your lifestyle and needs
  • Each week includes discussion and hands-on training
  • Q&A following each class for added personalization

UAMS Stays on Course despite New Challenges from COVID-19 Pandemic

Just as clinical operations and patient care started projects to build new facilities, the educational mission also saw some physical growth. The UAMS Culinary Medicine Kitchen officially opened Oct. 5 on the ground floor of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. Culinary medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. In the newly renovated space at the institute, UAMS Culinary Medicine program will provide the convenience of on-campus classes for faculty, student and, eventually, community groups.

Why Can’t You Lose Your Visceral Fat? A Specialist Weighs In

Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Terry Simpson who explained why visceral fat is hard to lose and what we can do about it.

South Carolina Programs Partner to Fight Diabetes

With November being National Diabetes Month and November 14 being World Diabetes Day, “Making It Grow” addresses that topic with the help of Clemson Extension Health Agent Ellie Lane and Christa Gonzalez, Director of Culinary Medicine of FoodShare South Carolina. Ellie shares with our viewers information about the Health Extension for Diabetes support program being offered, and Christa talks about how the FoodShare program provides fresh food boxes, recipes and culinary medicine cooking classes.

Doctors want their patients to benefit from new farm at St. Joe’s Oakland

Alexandra Babcock, lifestyle and culinary medicine coordinator at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, delivers fresh produce to patients at the Reichert Health Center in Ann Arbor on Oct. 27, 2021. St. Joseph Mercy Health System came up with the idea for The Farm when it was looking for new and innovative ways to improve health and wellness in the community and saw a solution: improving access to fresh food, nutrition education, and therapy.

The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) Program

The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) designation identifies clinicians who have a unique foundation for incorporating healthy eating into patients’ diets: comprehensive knowledge of nutrition and the culinary techniques to prepare food that is consistent with real-world budgets, time constraints, and nutritional ideals. Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Pharmacists, Registered Dietitians and Nurse Practitioners are eligible for certification.

The hybrid 60-credit curriculum includes a distinctive combination of online nutrition education courses, live conferences, and in-person attendance at hands-on teaching kitchen modules.By completing the program, clinicians will enhance their confidence and quality of care by learning how to:

  • Integrate nutritional counseling to supplement pharmacological treatment
  • Educate patients about weight loss and weight management
  • Develop practical examination-room dialogues that inspire behavioral change
  • Implement new strategies in even the busiest primary care offices