NCNM Announces Food as Medicine Institute

New Organization to Focus on Community Nutrition Education

PORTLAND, Ore. (March 4, 2014)—National College of Natural Medicine today announced the formation of the Food as Medicine Institute (FAMI), the latest in its line-up of community-education initiatives. The institute’s mission is to provide nutrition education for healthcare professionals and the general public. FAMI will offer a variety of lectures, workshops and conferences for healthcare professionals who want to expand their understanding of the relationship between nutrition and health as a means of preventing and reducing chronic disease. It will also provide public classes and workshops for those who wish to deepen their knowledge about the value of whole-foods nutrition and preparing delicious, healthy meals.

FAMI joins NCNM’s roster of education institutes that offer programs to the public, as well as to healthcare professionals. This list includes the Women in Balance Institute, opened in June 2012, and Traditional Roots Institute, launched in May 2013. Leading the new Food as Medicine Institute are co-founders Drs. Courtney Jackson and Julie Briley, naturopathic physicians and NCNM graduates.

NCNM President David J. Schleich, PhD, notes that since NCNM began its focus on community education in nutrition, there is heightened focus on nutrition and health. “NCNM teaches our students the correlation between food and health—food as medicine is literally the foundation of naturopathic education. We’re delighted that this knowledge is going mainstream, with grocery stores now stocking organic foods—even fast-food chains are moving toward healthy menu options,” Schleich said. “NCNM’s Food as Medicine Institute will continue to be at the forefront of this exciting re-awakening about the importance of whole foods and farm to table nutrition.”

Bob’s Red Mill and the ECO Project

FAMI’s origins were established in 2011 with the formation of NCNM’s ECO Project (“Ending Childhood Obesity”), a partnership developed with support from Bob’s Red Mill founders, Bob and Charlee Moore. The collaboration grew from a shared concern about the increased prevalence of childhood obesity and the associated rise of disease affecting children like diabetes, hypertension and liver disease.

The ECO Project is a 12-week series of bilingual nutrition education and hands-on cooking workshops offered free of charge to low-income families within the greater Portland metro area. The unique, 90-minute classes, taught by licensed naturopathic physicians, have had approximately 500 families successfully completing nearly 6,000 workshops.

In 2012, the popularity of the ECO Project led to the development of NCNM’s low-cost Food as Medicine Everyday nutrition and cooking community workshops, which are based on the ECO model. In addition to the ECO Project, the Moores have also helped fund NCNM’s Charlee’s Kitchen, a research/ teaching kitchen. Under the FAMI umbrella, Charlee’s Kitchen now hosts an evolving series of hands-on cooking classes taught by some of Portland’s top chefs, including Ken Gordon, Abby Fammartino, Kimi Reid and Tressa Yellig, among others.

Food As Medicine Institute

FAMI will host its inaugural Food As Medicine Symposium April 5–6, which will offer continuing education lectures for healthcare providers and classes for community members. The symposium, with a keynote presentation by Bob Moore, will also be a focal point and gathering for local businesses and organizations dedicated to improving access to natural and healthy foods for everyone.

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