“Food for Life” Program Established at Mount Sinai Metabolic Clinic

GDF board members gathered with faculty and patients from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to celebrate the new “Food for Life” program, which was funded by GDF to provide patients at the Clinic for Inherited Metabolic Diseases greater access to specialized foods that are a vital component of their health management.

Many of the more than 600 patients treated at the clinic must adhere to very restrictive diets to avoid serious health complications, but the specially-made foods they need can be prohibitively expensive and are usually not covered by insurance.  The centerpiece of the new “Food For Life” program, an onsite pantry stocked with a variety of the foods, makes them available free of charge to qualifying patients.

Under the supervision of Melissa Wasserstein, MD, director of the Program for Inherited Metabolic Diseases at Mount Sinai’s Department of Genetics & Genomic Sciences, staff nutritionists are developing recipes and conducting cooking classes to help patients, many of whom are children, successfully incorporate the foods into their diets.

“GDF is pleased to support the establishment of this innovative initiative, which we believe is the only one of its kind in New York and even nationwide,” said Elisa Ross, GDF President. “Our goal is to make a difference in the lives of people with inherited genetic diseases, and this program is clearly doing that.”

Contributions to help sustain the Food Program can be made directly to Mount Sinai.

Pictured above (l to r): Dr. Wasserstein; Lorie Broser, GDF Board member; Denise Vazquez and her son Kenneth Rivera, a patient at the clinic; Angela Kurtz,  MS, RD, CDN, Director, Metabolic Nutrition; Megan Madden, MS, RD, CDN, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator; Ilona Ginevic, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator.

Dr. Eric Schadt, Chair of the Department of Genetics & Genomic Sciences, joined the launch ceremony and is pictured above in the Clinic reception area next to a new plaque recognizing the GDF. Also pictured (from l to r): Marion Yanovsky and Samara Heiman, GDF Board members; Dr. Wasserstein; Angela Kurtz.

Dr. Wasserstein explored the new pantry with clinic patient Angela Lashley (center) and her Mom Della Thorne (left)

Lorie Broser, GDF Board member, joined clinic patients as they showed Dr. Robert Desnick, Mount Sinai’s Dean of Genetics & Genomic Medicine, some of the foods now available through the program.