SAVANNAH – Mercer University School of Medicine and Forsyth Farmers' Market, in collaboration with Executive Chef Matt Roher and his staff at The Landings Club, announce a partnership that brings together future physicians and chefs with the intent of teaching the effects of healthy nutrition on an individual's overall wellness.
The partners have organized several activities aimed at addressing specific health issues in the Savannah/Chatham County community. Through these events, medical students, chefs and community members will focus on the significant role that food choices and nutrition play in preventing and managing obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
The pilot program adapts Tulane University School of Medicine's Culinary Medicine Curriculum to teach volunteer medical students how basic dietary measures can affect positive patient outcomes and reduce common diseases associated with an individual's diet. Concurrently, students learn or enhance their own basic cooking skills, giving them additional knowledge to use when caring for their patients.
Several aspects of the collaboration are in place, including:
- Healthy culinary classes in food-insecure areas served by the Forsyth Farmers' Market Farm Truck 912
- The establishment of a cohort of participants to study the use of the community culinary medicine classes in increasing healthy outcomes in focus areas
- Preventive health screenings for individuals served at Forsyth Farmers' Market Farm Truck 912 stops
- Nutrition education classes and activities for children
Community classes will run on a limited basis beginning this fall. The program will run in its entirety starting in 2016 at select community centers in Savannah affiliated with Farm Truck 912 stops.
Mercer University School of Medicine and Forsyth Farmers' Market aim to help a cross-section of the Savannah community by implementing education-based, preventive-health programs for all ages that explain the connection between food, nutrition and overall health. The community culinary medicine program, as well as Forsyth Farmers' Market Farm Truck 912, were generously funded through Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
About Chef Matthew Roher
Chef Matthew Roher serves as senior executive chef for The Landings Club on Skidaway Island in Savannah, Georgia. Chef Matthew is a longtime supporter of local and community based food systems and has been integrating this approach into the diverse culinary programming offered at The Landings Club. The Landings Club, one of the largest private residential golf club communities in the nation, has embraced and supported a wide range of healthy initiatives aimed at improving overall health and wellness of the membership. Chef Matthew describes the partnership with Mercer University School of Medicine as "another step in the journey" towards this goal. Learn more about The Landings Club at www.landingsclub.com or like The Landings Club on Facebook.
About Forsyth Farmers Market
The Forsyth Farmers' Market (FFM) was founded in 2009 by six women who came together with the intention of supporting their common vision of a local food system that is good for the health of all people and the environment. The founders also sought to address food access by opening the market with a token system that allow shoppers to use SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program, formerly known as food stamps). By partnering with Wholesome Wave Georgia to double SNAP purchases and by conducting outreach to those community members who utilize SNAP the FFM has had one of the highest SNAP sales at a single farmers' market in the state year after year. Forsyth Farmers' Market Farm Truck 912 outreach will encompass conversations, communication and activities at the community center mobile market sites and surrounding neighborhoods.
About Mercer University School of Medicine, Savannah Campus
Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) was established in Macon in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. MUSM opened a second, four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 in collaboration with Memorial University Medical Center. More than 60 percent of Mercer graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer's rigorous, engaging and collaborative academic environment fosters the development of community-responsive physicians.