Food as Medicine

Health, Wellness & Disease Management for Medical Practitioners

Identifying a need for more nutrition training for both their doctors and patients, Stony Brook Southampton hospital engaged East End Food Institute to offer three different culinary medicine programs on an ongoing basis, starting in 2018. In our immersive Culinary Medicine series facilitated by Paula Montagna, MS RD CDN, Director of Clinical Nutrition at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton's medical residents learn nutrition concepts and culinary skills they can put into practice for themselves and provide for their patients. 

Each workshop is centered around a treatment theme such as cardiometabolic health, glucose management, microbiome support, neuroprotection, etc. All of the recipes featured locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and include a discussion on the importance of food sourcing and how personal and environmental health intersect. 

We offered a pilot program of  six culinary workshops in the 2018-19 year, attended by a total of 62 residents with an average of 10 attendees per session. From a sample group of residents who filled out a survey at the conclusion of the pilot, 75% reported a higher level of confidence in offering nutritional guidance to patients after attending these classes and 50% reported preparing some of the recipes at home. 

Dr. Devan Trammel, DO, a participant in the pilot program and 2019 graduate writes: 

The program has been such an amazing experience both educationally and personally. Feeling a connection to the food that you buy and prepare is not to be under appreciated. These programs excelled in not only providing delicious and healthy recipes, but also putting meaning behind where the food came from and what sets it apart from all of the other commercial options. This program will help me pass the knowledge and importance of the connection to your food on to my patients.

For the 2019-20 year we are offering a series of seven workshops to build on these past successes and solidify the curriculum for this cutting edge program. 

“Eat Real to Heal” for Patients

Starting in June 2019, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Center for Parkinson’s and the East End Food Institute teamed up to offer a hands-on educational series for Parkinson’s patients and their care partners. The goal of the program is to provide evidenced-based, nutritional information in a small-group, hands-on format that will enable participants to immediately incorporate nutritional principles and new recipes into their daily lives.  

Starting in the fall of 2019 we also teamed up with the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton to serve their patients. In these workshops, we explore the role of what we eat in recovery and treatment of symptoms associated with women’s cancers.

Paula Montagna, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC creates the curriculum and facilitates each workshop, focusing on self care, gut health, neuroprotection, oxidative stress and hormone control, as well as addressing some of the secondary complications and side effects of medication and treatment.

We collaborate with Ms. Montagna and the Program Directors to curate a menu that features nutritious, locally sourced ingredients, and provide information to participants about food sourcing. Each session concludes with a shared meal to build community and reinforce learned concepts. Participants and their care partners go home with recipes and informational handouts to help them seamlessly integrate what they learn into the rest of their lives.