Are you attending AAP Experience in Washington D.C. this week?
Be sure to stop by and visit the Dr. Yum Project at booth #2140
Founder, Chief Visionary Officer.
Tell us more about Dr. Yum Project. Who does it support and serve?
Founded and led by a pediatrician, the Dr. Yum Project is a national nonprofit organization. Our programs are designed and maintained by nutrition and cooking education experts, physicians, early childhood educators, speech-language pathologists, feeding therapists, and registered dietitians.
We scale our programs by training early education teachers and directors, providing resources for physicians in general and specialty fields, and partnering with other nonprofits and community groups to leverage each organization’s strengths to increase our reach and impact exponentially.
How was Dr. Yum Project started?
In response to the growing rates of childhood obesity, pediatrician Nimali Fernando MD, MPH, fondly known as Dr. Yum, started the Dr. Yum website in 2011 to teach her patients and their families about the benefits of healthy eating. What started out as a recipe site and a few after-school cooking classes grew into a bigger project focused on identifying and helping communities overcome barriers to eating well.
In 2013, The Dr. Yum Project, a 501 (c)3 organization was born. In 2014, our teaching kitchen and garden were opened. This space serves as our hub for in-person teaching and our home base for outreach, virtual nutrition, and cooking educational programs. In 2020, as COVID restrictions dictated a shift to virtual offerings, we pivoted and leveraged our most impactful programs, as described below, to better the lives and health outcomes for tens of thousands of families across the country each year.
What is the mission of the organization?
Our mission is to help families and communities overcome barriers to eating well. We teach pediatricians, preschool teachers, and parents how to get kids to eat their veggies. We are unique in our family-centered approach to picky eating, feeding, and cooking.
Currently, the greatest need is to help pediatricians and stems from The American Academy of Pediatrics 2023 “Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Obesity” which states Intensive Health Behavior and Lifestyle Treatment (IHBLT) should be offered to anyone 6 years old and older (and in 2 to 5-year-old patients at the discretion of the physician).
Because programs offering IHBLT are often not readily available, the Dr. Yum Project created Touchpoints, a program of health behavior modules pediatricians can offer to patients right in their office. It can be used in the management of children with overweight or obesity and/or with any children with health behaviors like poor nutrition or with a family history that puts them at risk for metabolic dysfunction.
Tell us more about the potential reach and size of your audience.
Dr. Yum's potential reach is enormous. One-on-one interactions with families can occur by working with pediatric offices and preschools. Our free website and social media presence also enable countless families to benefit from our expertise and resources.
How does social media factor into the success of those you provide services to?
Social media is often the "expert" parents rely on for various questions, including feeding and picky eating help. Being a pediatrician in this landscape lets us break through the noise and provide evidence-based guidance to struggling parents.
How does working with Social Cascade assist the project's goals?
As a nonprofit organization, increasing impact is always top of mind. By working with Social Cascade, we are seeing our messaging and parent guidance being spread exponentially via other pediatric offices which reinforces the legitimacy of the information provided.
How can someone learn more about the organization?