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Culinary Medicine: Sep. 22-24

*Check this space for regular updates to the conference schedule. 


This Farms, Food & Health training program offers northern Michigan health care providers an innovative Continuing Medical Education program that highlights local food, and culinary and nutrition trainings.

Take your practice to the kitchen:

  •  Chop, dice, and puree your way to better health outcomes for your patients
  •  Experience what it’s like to cook on a tight budget
  •  Engage in a partnership with local farmers to grow a healthier population
  •  Write scripts for fruits and veggies
  •  Explore cutting-edge nutrition interventions
  •  Motivate your patients on a personal subject...their weight


Friday, September 22

3 pm: Welcome Session

The welcome session will provide the history and genesis of the idea for hosting a Culinary Medicine Training for local doctors and other health care providers in our region. Included will be an overview of what makes our region especially well-suited for this conference. And you will get a sneak peek at what the next two days will give participants:

  • Cooking classes and instruction designed to answer the questions that health care providers and educators get from patients struggling to make dietary changes for health and wellness. Lots of time cooking and in the kitchens, mixed with discussion and networking
  • Fun and interactive ways to learn about our local food system, the food bounty we are privileged to live near, and food access resources
  • Nutrition science messages for your patients, translated for both general health and the top health concerns in our region (overweight and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular health for all stages in the lifecycle)
  • Recipes and nutrition knowledge along with tools and educational materials that are ready for use in the clinic
  • An opportunity to test some of these new skills and tools in your clinics (with opportunities for additional CME) while also providing feedback to conference organizers and funders so we can learn, enhance, and grow these concepts and resources for the region
  • A positive and uplifting experience engaging with peers and food and nutrition professionals

4 PM: Keynote

"Culinary Nutrition approaches that enhance dietary patterns and health outcomes- Might Teaching Kitchens Be Catalysts of Personal and Societal Health Enhancement?"
~Dr. David Eisenberg, associate professor Harvard School of Medicine, T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, founder of Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Learn more here

What is Culinary Nutrition and how did we get here? How might emerging models of “Teaching Kitchens” serve as learning laboratories for health professionals, patients, students and communities?  This session will review this new and evolving practice in an era of global obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. What does the current literature say about this approach?  Can it transform the evidence-informed dietary approaches so important for better health outcomes?

DAVID M. EISENBERG, MD, is the director of culinary nutrition and adjunct associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He is the founding Co-Director of the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference, and founding Co-Director of the recently established CIA-Harvard Chan Teaching Kitchen Collaborative, a group of 32 organizations with teaching kitchens, intended to establish and evaluate best practices relating to nutrition, culinary and lifestyle education. Read more about Dr. Eisenberg here

​A 'Certified Local Food Event' emphasizes community. The badge signifies that this event is committed to a sustainable future— not only for the event but for the community as a whole. When an event displays this badge it has the backing of Taste the Local Difference®. "From farm to fork to compost and back again."

6 PM: Networking Reception

This reception will offer opportunities for physicians and other health care community members to meet with each other and our local food heroes: farmers, entrepreneurs, educators, and community champions. Enjoy a scrumptious array of locally grown foods prepared by the Great Lakes Culinary Institute.

We have partnered with Taste the Local Difference® to make Culinary Medicine a Certified Local Food Event! This means, at least 20% of the food at the Networking Reception and throughout the conference will be locally sourced from Michigan farms and businesses.


Saturday, September 23

​7 AM: Continental Breakfast


8 aM: Tour at Sara Hardy FARMERS MARKET

This off-site excursion will give participants the opportunity to have small group tours of the market and a chance to meet local farmers, see their products up close, learn about their individual farming practices and explore the seasonal variety available for purchase.  The market manager will also educate participants on all different supplemental nutrition assistance programs that can help people at the market, such as the Bridge Card, the digital version of food stamps. Learn about other farmers market-oriented programs such as Double Up Food Bucks and Munson’s fruit and vegetable Rx program. Recipes that will be used throughout the two-day training will use many of the same market items and products.

9:45 aM: SESSION A

"Exploring food access and food environments as an adjunct assessment feature"
~Presenters: Dr. Cyrus Ghaemi, DO;  Les Hagamen, Operations Director Father Fred Foundation; Laura McCain, RD

This overview session and culinary demonstration will give the current state of food security and food environments of our region, help practitioners understand screening and diagnosis codes associated with food insecurity, and allow for seeing, tasting and discussion around common foods provided by a Grand Traverse County Food Pantry. A short video will highlight the Double Up Food Bucks program and we will offer a snapshot of an organic farm operation in East Jordan, Michigan, offering low-income families access to farm shares to improve healthy food access in our region. A chef- and dietitian-led food demo will offer tastings and discussion with tips and recommendations for quick, easy, and cost-effective nutrition quality enhancements for the pantry meals. 

11:45 AM: Break and LIGHT LUNCH


"Using a local food approach for prevention and chronic disease management"
~Presenters: GLCI Chef Faculty members, with Kelly Willson, RD, Judi Marlin, MS, RDN, Connie Metcalf, RD, CDE

This session will educate physicians and other health care providers about our local food system and allow time to cook with local foods while learning basic culinary techniques including: knife skills, traditional mise en place, chopping and cutting techniques, simple solutions for keeping and maintaining a well-stocked pantry and other skills. Participants will cook local food-based recipes for quick and healthy meals that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the graphic.



"Culinary Nutrition Research Briefing"

This briefing will outline the key research papers and nutrition resources discussed in the first kitchen session and what we plan to discuss in the next kitchen session.


"Medical Nutrition Therapy in the Kitchen"
~Presenters: GLCI faculty instructors and Mary Shanahan, MS, RD, Jodi Jocks, MS, RD, CDE, Emilie Klemptner, MS, RD

This session will expand on what we’ve explored throughout the day. By diving deeper into the macronutrient food components, we will focus on the whole and minimally processed in-season foods and recipes that can be used for weight management in one kitchen, while another kitchen will focus on diabetes, and the third on cardiovascular diseases. Our menus will promote a "food-first" nutrition care plan that allows for individual taste preferences and unique needs. We will explore the buzz around tropical oils, dairy beverage alternatives (nut, soy and hemp milks), meat alternatives, fermented foods, and plant based-diets. Other discussion topics may include recipe modification and substitution, culturally appropriate recommendations, food label and ingredient updates, and modified texture or consistency based on lifecycle needs. Recipes for this session will be best served for lunch or dinner. 


Join together and share your experiences with the rest of the participants. We will have opportunity to learn about each kitchen’s unique experiences and enjoy a meal together out of your tasty cooking.


Sunday, September 24

This day will focus on the programs and resources that are available in the community and for the provider to use as a referral resource. These community-based programs are all nutrition- and cooking-focused in some way and participants will get first-hand experience with them so they are better equipped to describe these programs to colleagues and patients.  


9:15-11:15am: Concurrent  Breakout Sessions

Session A: "Eat Better for Less: An introduction to Cooking Matters for Adults"
~Presenters: Jane Rapin RD, CDE & Michelle Smith RD, Michigan State University Extension, Health and Nutrition Institute, USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP- Ed) Program Instructors


Cooking Matters believes the negative health and economic effects of hunger and poor diet can be avoided if families know how to shop for and prepare healthy, low-cost meals. Cooking Matters for Adults is a nutrition program where participants will learn how to eat healthy, cook and grocery shop on a limited budget. The program consists of six lessons, lasting approximately two hours each. With the help of an experienced chef and nutrition educator, participants gain the skills and confidence to make healthy, budget friendly meals for their family. Each week, participants receive take-home food, which they can use at home to practice a recipe they learned in class. Michigan State University Extension facilitates Cooking Matters courses throughout state. Experience a hands-on class with MSU Extension Grand Traverse County staff and Registered Dietitians Jane Rapin and Michelle Smith.

Session B: Core4 Weight Management Program, “Appetite Awareness Training” 

Presenters: Mary Shanahan, MS, RD, Clinical Nutrition Manager/Director Core4, Munson Healthcare with Laura McCain, RD and Culinary Chef

Explore the question, “Are you a mindless or an enlightened eater?” while learning about the key elements of this program that includes focusing on internal versus external environmental cues to control appetite and “eat like a baby.” This core concept allows the participant to rediscover the stomach signals (hunger and fullness) as a positive and effective way to stop binge eating and reduce the preoccupation with food that in turn leads to weight control. The program supplies the participant with a toolkit of strategies to work toward a life-long normal relationship with food. 

Session C: "Dining with Diabetes."

Northwest Diabetes Initiative will offer this interactive demo session. Course overview and objectives coming soon. 

11:30 aM: SESSION D

"Think Like a Chef, Cook Like a Dietitian, Eat Like a Local Farmer"

This wrap-up session will be our final interactive, audience-participation session joining our chefs, dietitians, and other faculty members together. 


Food System Field Trips

Two off-site food and farming systems field trips will take place after the final session on Sunday. Participants can choose between two options: 

"On the Farm: Northwest Lower MI Farm Tour"
~Presenters: Farmer Nic Theisen, Loma Farm and Michigan State Extension Suzanne Pish, and Roger Betz with Don Coe

Food doesn’t come from a grocery store or a vending machine. It comes from the earth and is grown with skill and care by farmers who utilize different types of farm practices such as building the health of the soil, because the soil is where the plants get their nutrients that they pass on to us. See a farm first hand.  And, as providers in a rural region, obtain additional CME credit for learning information that will help you to provide care and resources for farm families you may find yourselves treating. Farming is a business, too, and about a year ago commodity prices fell, especially affecting dairy farmers. Michigan saw a rise in attempted suicides among farmers and farm families. Michigan State University Extension responded by forming the Farm Stress team, made up of Suzanne Pish, Roger Betz, Tom Cummins and Beth Stuever, to create resources for educators and others who work with farmers and their families. Learn more here


Oryana Natural Foods Cooperative Grocery Tour

~Health Education Providers and Steve Nance

Oryana Community Co-op has grown from a back porch grain-sharing cooperative amongst a small, impassioned group of local citizens to a $17 million, 10,000 square foot grocery store and café located in the heart of Traverse City. It is a leader in local food sourcing, buying fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, eggs and more from more than 100 farmers and producers in a 100-mile radius, investing nearly $3 million in the local agricultural economy annually. In order to serve people of diverse income levels, Oryana accepts the Bridge Card, is a proud participant in the Double Up Food Bucks program and provides tips for anyone interested in how to eat healthy whole foods on a budget. As the first co-op in the country to be named a Certified Organic Retailer, Oryana maintains its focus on whole foods and the freshest organic produce and is often a frequent stop on a patient’s road to health. Learn what patients are asking and seeking, how the local food scene supports whole health initiatives, and how Oryana partners with providers to provide a holistic experience for the patient.

Munson Medical Center is accredited by the Michigan State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Munson Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 17 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The one-time registration fee covers the full 2.5 day conference including all hands-on cooking instruction and educational sessions, keynote presentations, meals, off-site excursions plus the opening reception for less than $30 per credit hour for all healthcare providers.