Healthcare Culinary Conference

Bridging Healthcare, Food and Community

Join us for UMass Amherst’s inaugural 2-day workshop specifically designed for healthcare professionals where you will gain experience in:

  • Developing culinary skills that support dietary guidelines, reflect cultural preferences, and meet economic constraints.
  • Understanding the social determinants of health and the impact of food insecurity on individual health.
  • Recognizing and appreciating the significance of food in preserving cultural identity.
  • Identifying the importance of collaboration between healthcare systems and community food systems to address nutrition-related health disparities.


To provide a model for an integrated academic-community effort to improve health outcomes, alleviate food insecurity, and promote food is medicine through the delivery of a culinary medicine program designed to teach medical professionals about dietary guidelines, cultural food preferences, food systems, and hands on preparation of healthy foods to change patient behaviors and reduce healthcare costs.

Hands-on Experience

Tour a local farm to develop a common understanding of the terms: healthy, local, and sustainable produce and explore the interconnectedness of these concepts and their impact on community health and wellbeing.

Prepare cultural and/or economic constraint dishes under the guidance of an expert chef to gain appreciation of food preparation and preferences of various community members living in Western Massachusetts.


Learn and grow in your knowledge of:

  • The historical evolution of science-based recommendations, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), to trace the development and changes in nutritional guidelines over time.
  • Current consumer perspectives on food, nutrition, and health through research and analysis of contemporary data and surveys to stay updated on prevalent public attitudes and beliefs.
  • What is food insecurity and how does it impact health, well-being, and ability to manage chronic disease.
  • The importance of food in maintaining culture and connection.
  • How collaboration between partners within health care systems and community food systems is essential to promoting access to healthy food.

Quick Agenda:

Wednesday, June 5th 2024

  • 8:30-11:30 am: Local Farm tour and conversation with Growers and Agriculture Extension Services
  • 11:30 am – 1:30 pm: Lunch at BlueWall on UMass Amherst campus and check into the conference at Campus Center

1:30-5:30 pm: All events to be held in Marriott Center (11th floor of the Campus Center).

  • 1:30-1:45 pm: Welcome by Deans Allison Vorderstrasse (Elaine Marieb College of Nursing) and Anna Maria Siega-Riz (School of Public Health & Health Sciences)
  • 1:45-2:45 pm: Keynote Speaker:  Michel Nischan-Advocating for Equitable Food Access
  • 2:45-3:00 pm: Break
  • 3:00-3:30 pm: “Food Insecurity as a Public Health Issue” with Dr. Lorraine Cordeiro
  • 3:30-4:00 pm: “The Impact of MassHealth Flexible Services” with Dr. Kurt Hager
  • 4:00-4:30 pm: Q&A
  • 4:30-5:00 pm: “Evolution of the Dietary Guidelines” with Dean Anna Maria Siega-Riz
  • 5:00-5:30 pm: “Tailoring of Dietary Advice–Insights from Healthcare Professionals”
  • 5:30-6:30 pm: Break
  • 6:30–8:30 pm: Culinary Conference Grand Banquet

Thursday, June 6th, 2024

Events to be held in Marriott Center (11th floor of the Campus Center) unless otherwise noted.

  • 8:30-9:00 am: Breakfast, 10th Floor Amherst Room.
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Morning session
  • 9:15-10:15 am: “Consumer Food and Health Perspectives” with Dr. Milton Stokes
  • 10:15-10:30 am: Break
  • 10:30-11:10 am: “The Sensory Importance of Food” with Dr. Alissa Nolden
  • 11:10-11:50 am: “Designing Health Next-generation Plant-based Foods” with Dr. Julian McClements
  • 12:00- 1:30 pm: Lunch and Panel discussion, 10th Floor Amherst Room
  • 12:45-1:30 pm: “Community Partners Working in Food Is Medicine Programs”
  • 1:45-4:30 pm: Hands-on Cooking Activity with Leading Chefs
  • 4:30-5:00 pm: Wrap up
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