3rd Annual

Food As Medicine Symposium,

“Transformative Practices for Health” 

Thank you for joining us!

BNMC held its third annual Food as Medicine Symposium “Transformative Practices for Health” on September 27th and 28th 2023 at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine. The event featured national and local speakers during two days of rigorous discussion and workshops centered around values-based practices. The symposium focused on the food industry, food equity, and lifestyle medicine. We also highlighted partners’ food and nutrition practices that are rooted in integrity, accountability, and transparency and are creating meaningful and sustainable change in both clinical and population health outcomes.  

Our 2023 Agenda:

Day 1 September 27th, 12 pm – 3 pm at University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


1 pm – 3 pm WORKSHOPS 

Participants will have the option to choose from one of two workshops, both taking place simultaneously from 12 pm – 3 pm. One will feature a cooking demonstration for the general public to learn how to practice food as medicine in their daily life. 

The other workshop will offer continuing education credits for clinicians and members of the healthcare team to learn how to incorporate food as medicine into their practice. 

Workshop 1

1 pm3 pm Cooking Demonstration with Rachel Laster, MS, RDN CDN and Rhonda Wilson, RN 

Rachel Laster, Founder, Real Life Dietetics and Consulting 

Rhonda Wilson, Founder, Buffalo Black Nurses 

This workshop is for community members. Participants will learn how to cook soul food using seasonal ingredients and healthful substitutions, led by a Registered Dietitian, Rachel Laster. Rhonda Wilson of Buffalo Black Nurses will offer additional information for attendees to learn about disease prevention and management. 

Workshop 2

1 pm3 pm “The 15-Day Whole-Food Plant-Based Jumpstart, a Tool for Patient Success” 

Ted D. Barnett, MD, FACLM 

Ted D. Barnett, President and Founder Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute 

This workshop is designed for members of the healthcare team. Attendees will be introduced to Lifestyle Medicine and the evidence demonstrating its ability to prevent, treat, and reverse heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute’s ACLM-certified, Zoom-based Jumpstart will be discussed in detail. Since 2018 this monthly program has reached over 2000 participants from over 44 US states and 7 countries, and more than 200 physicians from around the US have referred their patients. Participants in this workshop will learn how to incorporate plant-based nutrition into their practices, and will receive recipes, patient and clinician handouts, and 2 CME credits.

Day 2 September 28th, 8 am-5 pm 


8:30 WELCOME: BNMC CEO Matt Enstice; Director of Health and Well-Being, Beth Machnica


9:15-10:00 MORNING KEYNOTE Food Equity, Angela Odoms Young, PhD Professor; Director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

10:00-11:15 PANEL DISCUSSION: Food Equity

Aims: Health equity cannot be achieved without food equity. The interconnected nature of the food system means that solutions for nutrition, hunger, and food-related challenges are at times rooted in spaces beyond the food system. The presence and degree of food apartheid we see today are largely a result of systemic racism, historical disinvestment, and other institutional practices specifically designed to. This panel aims to address and explore how various stakeholders outside the food system are approaching food as medicine to advance health and food equity.  

5-minute Public Health in Erie County Address, Gale Burstein, MD, MPH, FAAP, Commissioner of Health, Erie Co. Department of Health.


Georgina Dukes-Harris, Head of Community Mobilization, Impact Care      

Kelly Wofford, Director, Office of Health Equity, Erie County Dept of Health  

Angela Odoms Young, PhD Professor; Director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Jared Strohl, PhD, MA, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo

Moderated by Adamaah Grayse, MS, NYSPHC Graduate Fellow – Food Justice Organizer, Grassroots Gardens Western New York 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Discuss why and how racial justice is fundamental to food as medicine programs. 
  1. Name features of community-built environments that support health and food equity. 
  1. Recognize how community organizations can partner with local governments to support/advance food equity. Name how individuals from the community can get involved in ongoing efforts and vice versa. 
  1. Describe the complex relationship between poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, and give examples of solutions beyond the food system to address these challenges.  


11:15-11:30 BREAK 

11:30-11:45 VIDEO ADDRESS 

11:45-12:45 LUNCH 


12:45-1:30 AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: A Doctor Becomes a Chef: A Lived Experience in Food as Medicine, Chef Dr. Robert Graham of Fresh Medicine NYC

To observe measurable change in our health, everyone must be engaged–farmers, chefs, doctors, nutritionists, policy, community, media, and patients.
It is often said that food is the problem in the fight to combat chronic diseases; therefore food must also be the solution. The responsibility for a healthier future lies with no one person, group or government but rather all of us.

1:30-2:45 PANEL DISCUSSION: Lifestyle Medicine  

Aims: Lifestyle medicine is an emerging practice in Western medical care, yet has been used around the world for centuries. The five pillars – nutrition, movement, stress reduction, sleep, avoiding risky substances, and social connections – are effective in both the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, which are the leading causes of poor quality of life, death, and disability. As this field grows, how is it sustainably being incorporated into traditional healthcare? This panel aims to highlight best practice models from around the country for lifestyle medicine and culinary medicine programs. How is success defined? What data/metrics are used to measure and demonstrate success? How engaged are participants? What are the challenges/barriers? What best practices ensure interventions are culturally responsive? What are the different models to approach reimbursement?  


Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, UB Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, President and CEO, DietID, True Health Initiative

Ted D. Barnett, MD, FACLM, President and Founder, Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute 

Micaela Karlsen, Senior Director of Research, American College Lifestyle Medicine 

Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, FACOFP, Founding Director, American Osteopathic Association Health Policy Fellowship 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Recognize the spectrum and umbrella of approaches that fall under lifestyle medicine, and how they are being integrated into healthcare delivery. 
  1. Discuss the importance of cultural relevancy across the spectrum of these initiatives. 
  1. Be able to recognize and evaluate the various metrics that demonstrate efficacy in lifestyle medicine.  
  1. Name how individual community members can learn more or find a lifestyle medicine practitioner. 

2:45-3:00 BREAK  

3 pm – 4:30 pm Late Afternoon Panel: Private Food Sector in Food as Medicine 

Aims: There are various stopping points food takes before reaching the consumer, including processors, retailers, and distributors. This panel aims to highlight the practices of these partners in the food system and how they are navigating the complex relationship between nutrition, health, and profit. How are they contributing to advancing health outcomes, sustainability, and the bottom line? What data and metrics demonstrate success? How do organizations define their values and make decisions aligning with their values? How are they engaging healthcare experts in a meaningful way to inform their work and connect food products to health? What are the challenges? What are the upcoming opportunities they see with food as medicine? 

15 Minute introduction to Food Policy Regulation in the United States by Jerry Mande, CEO, Nourish Science.


Sarah Herbst, MS, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, Global Procurement, Rich Products Corporation 

Kristen Hansen, Group Vice President of Center Store, Our Brands, & Pharmacy, TOPS Markets  

Mollie Van Lieu, Vice President, Nutrition and Health, International Fresh Produce Association 

Moderated by Steve Ambrose, Founder & CEO, appetit 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Recognize the complex history and relationship between food policy and private industry in the United States and how it has influenced consumer behaviors and health outcomes.  
  1. Discuss specific actions private food sector companies can take to accelerate food as medicine efforts to advance public health. 
  1. Be able to translate federal policy recommendations from the White House Conference on Nutrition, Hunger, and Health into everyday practice as a community health worker. 



The University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 


The University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences designates this live activity for a maximum of 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

About the 2023 Symposium

Meet Our Speakers

The Venue

In 2023 we were generously hosted by the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School Of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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