SBH Center for Culinary Medicine and Teaching Kitchen: Food as Medicine Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: The Saint Barnabas Hospital (SBH) Center for Culinary Medicine and Teaching Kitchen in the Bronx provides healthy cooking classes at low cost ($5 per class) to any interested community members. In addition, the center’s director, Abbie Gellman, hosts training sessions for medical residents and teaches specialized series in partnership with local organizations. For example, the center offers a three-week series for pregnant women with gestational diabetes in collaboration with the NYC Department of Health, and events for individuals with diabetes in conjunction with the community-based organization VIP Community Services. These specialized classes and events incorporate both cooking lessons and nutrition education. 

How they do it: There are generally three or four community classes offered each week. Examples include:

  • Meal Prep: Learn the basics of planning a balanced meal, using a chef’s knife, and essential cooking techniques
  • Rainbow Meals: Learn to include all colors of the nutrition rainbow in cooking
  • Healthy Desserts: Learn how to make healthier versions of classic desserts

Classes that reflect the culture of the community, including Caribbean Cooking and Soul Food, are also available. 

Private classes for medical residents are offered monthly.

Community classes are taught by culinary nutrition educators, and private group sessions, medically-tailored series, and sessions for medical residents are taught by chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and center director Abbie Gellman. 

Most classes include an hour to 1.5 hours of cooking skills, and, depending on the class and audience, nutrition education may be incorporated at the end of the class. Some classes also build in gardening lessons in partnership with Project EATS, which has a rooftop garden in the same building as the teaching kitchen. 

Mission: To teach the community and medical professionals how to prepare meals that are easy, delicious, affordable, and nutritious.

Major Funding: n/a

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: n/a

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: The center hosted the Healthy Living Initiative, a five-week cooking and nutrition education series, for 100 adolescents who were referred to the program by their physicians. Participant surveys showed that, after completing the series:

  • 52 percent would often select healthy ingredients at the supermarket (a 160 percent increase from pre-program survey results)
  • 60 percent would often make a meal with vegetables (a 275 percent increase)
  • 48 percent would often prepare fruits or vegetables to eat (a 500 percent increase).

FACT SHEET:

Location:
4507 Third Ave.
Bronx, New York 10457

Core Programs: Teaching kitchen

Number of staff: 3

Number of volunteers: 1 dietetic intern

Areas served: Bronx, NY

Year Started: 2020

Program Director: Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN

Contact Information: Email: SBHTeachingKitchen@Sbhny.Org | Phone: 718-960-3843

Learn More:

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