BNMC 1st Annual Food as Medicine Symposium





8:30 am – Opening Remarks – Marla Guarino, Farm to Hospital Catalyst, BNMC

8:45am-9:30am – Keynote Address

The Critical Role of Research and Advocacy: From Practice to Policy

David Waters – CEO, Community Servings; Karen Pearl – President & CEO, God’s Love We Deliver

Without federal support for Food as Medicine interventions, it is up to agencies across the country to provide medically tailored meals, produce prescriptions, and other food and healthcare innovations to fill this gap in services, collect data, and share results widely. This session features two national leaders with combined 65+ years of experience who have dedicated their careers to advocating support for Food as Medicine interventions.

9:35 am – 12:10 pm – The Importance of Nutrition in Medical School Education (Two Presentations)

Although diet-related chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in the country, the average American medical school offers nineteen hours of nutrition education over the course of a four-year medical degree. There is a great opportunity to incorporate nutrition and culinary medicine into medical education to better serve the collective health of our population, and it is being done right here in Western NY.


9:35 am-9:55 am – Culinary Medicine: Back to The Future 

Prof. Michael S. Fenster, University of Montana Culinary Medicine Program

9:55 am – 10:55 am – Panel: Building the Healthcare Team of the Future: Interdisciplinary Approaches 

Prof. Michael S. Fenster – University of Montana Culinary Medicine Program

Dorothy Johnston – SUNY Erie

Dr. Helen Cappuccino – Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Nicole Klem MS RDN – UB School of Public Health and Health Professions

Moderator: Dr. Roseanne Berger, Sr. Associate Dean – GME Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences



11:00 am – 11:20 am – Nutrition Education in Medical Training: Time for More than Lip Service

Dr. Stephen Devries, Executive Director, Gaples Institute 

11:20 am – 12:20 pm Panel: Incorporating Comprehensive Nutrition as a Component of Clinician Education 

Dr. Jill Tirabassi – Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Daniel Sheehan – Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Katherine LaVigne Mager – Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Matthew Zahn, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Moderator: Dr. Gary Giovino, SUNY Buffalo Distinguished Professor Community Health and Health Behavior


Lunch Session: Participants are invited to get some lunch while joining this presentation.

2:25pm-12:30pm; Q&A 12:30pm-1:15pm

Interactive Farm to Fork Cooking Demonstration

Patti Green – Healthy Living with Patti Green and Allison DeHonney – Urban Fruits and Veggies

Food as Medicine interventions have been demonstrated to be highly effective in treating and preventing disease, what goes into creating such healing meals? Join us as we discuss the WNY growing season and how to prepare a meal with all in-season veggies. Why should we eat seasonally and how does this contribute to our overall health? Speaking of health, how is your relationship with your physician? Are you having good, quality conversations while in the office? Join us we will discuss it all!


Fireside Chat

1:20 pm – 2:20 pm – Food as Medicine Interventions and Food Equity   

Dr. Robert Rock – Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Avik Chatterjee – Boston University/Boston University Medical Center

Rita Hubbard-Robinson – NeuWater &  Associates, LLC.

Moderator: Marydale DeBor, JD. – Fresh Advantage, LLC.

Buffalo, NY has the fourth-highest youth poverty rate in the country and is one of the most segregated cities. Our efforts to address food and health inequities will only be as successful as our interventions to address the root cause of the issue. This session features national and local experts in addressing health inequities as it relates to food.


2:30 pm -3:30 pm – Panel: The Importance of Collaboration Among Healthcare and Community Organizations

Dr. LaVonne Ansari – Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.

Dr. Raul Vazquez – GBUAHN

James Thompson – Evergreen Health

Jen Regan – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County

Moderator: Jeanette Koncikowski, Grassroots Gardens 

Buffalo, NY is known as the city of good neighbors and home to phenomenal clinical-community partnerships that are changing the landscape for how healthcare is provided. This session features three local Food as Medicine innovations in our community that are demonstrating success.


3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Future Directions: Next Steps in Collaborations and Building Coalitions

Dr. Ken Snyder, Kaleida Health, Allison DeHonney, Urban Fruits & Veggies, and Michael Ball, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

Research advances our efforts. Let’s talk about ideas and collaborative efforts.  The session will also include an update on the Great Lakes Health Quality Institute and how the framework of Baldrige Communities of Excellence and Community Based Participatory Research can serve as a roadmap for accountability and success in achieving momentum and alignment in community needs assessment goals and action plans.  We will discuss the importance of advocacy efforts at both the state and federal levels including an invitation to join coalitions locally and nationally.

Transforming Food Systems for Health and Equity

Betsy Skoda, Healthcare Without Harm

Healthy Food in Health Care-New England

Food as medicine strategies can connect to emerging initiatives to efforts to build greater sustainability, equity, and resilience in the food system. Join this session to learn about values-based purchasing strategies, such as Good Food Purchasing Standards and Anchors in Action Coalition, and how food as medicine initiatives can align with these efforts to create new opportunities for community health and wealth.


4:15 pm – 4:30 pm – Closing Remarks 

Dr. Ken Snyder and Symposium Planning Committee