The Healing Kitchens Institute Team
Rebecca Katz, MS, Founder, Healing Kitchens Institute is a nationally-recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health for the chronically ill. As a consultant, speaker, teacher, and chef, Rebecca works closely with patients, physicians, nurses, and wellness professionals to include the powerful tool of nutrient-dense food. Rebecca is the Executive Chef for the two premier Nutrition and Health CME Conferences: The University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Nutrition and Health: State of the Science & Clinical Applications conference, and The Center for Mind-Body Medicine's Food as Medicine conference. She lectures and does culinary demonstrations for leading healthcare institutions, including the University of California, San Francisco; Stanford School of Medicine; and Johns Hopkins University. Her work also garnered an invitation to speak to the Department of Health and Human Services, White House Panel on Alzheimer's and Dementia. She has a Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education, and received her culinary training from New York's Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts.
Rebecca is the author of several acclaimed cookbooks:
The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory and Mental Clarity
Oren Slozberg is the executive director of Commonweal and the program director of the Center for Creative Community at Commonweal in Bolinas. He has been a senior program developer in the fields of education, youth development, and the arts for more than 30 years.
Oren joined Commonweal in 2013 as the chief strategies officer. He works closely with Commonweal Co-Founder and President Michael Lerner, developing sustainability and organizational development strategies for future programming. As director of the Center for Creative Community at Commonweal, Slozberg explores the intersection of dialogue, cognition, creativity, and community. Through work in different communities, the Center for Creative Community seeks to deepen our exploration of complex issues in our world—issues that Commonweal programs confront daily. Slozberg helped develop new programs as part of the center including the Power of Hope summer camp for teenagers, the Fall gathering, the ROC gatherings, and more.
Oren is an experienced youth development program developer and practitioner with a long history working with young people in the Bay Area. He was also a field researcher for the Community Network for Youth Development, studying the correlation between youth development organizational practices and youth development outcomes. In 2002, Oren developed a conference center for the California Endowment’s new center for health providers in downtown Los Angeles.
In 2003, Oren co-founded the MMG Foundation, dedicated to Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) in California public schools. In May 2006, he became executive director of Visual Understanding in Education (VUE), the national organization that implements VTS in the United States and abroad, reaching more than 100,000 students. In that role he directed the national team of VTS trainers in the development of elementary school program implementation and assessment tools. Slozberg is a senior trainer in VTS who has led more than 60 VTS trainings. In 2016 VTS merged into Commonweal to further expand its reach into new communities around the world.
Stefania Patinella, Executive Director, Healing Kitchen Institute, has many years experience teaching nutrition and healthy cooking to a diverse audience, from health care professionals to undergrads to children in public schools. She has held teaching positions at The New School, Kingsborough Community College, Natural Gourmet Institute, and Columbia University’s Institute for Human Nutrition. At Columbia University, she delivered a culinary medicine curriculum for healthcare professionals in the school’s first Medical Nutrition Program. For eight years, she was Director of Food and Nutrition program at The Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit that serves 70,000 children and families each year in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods. There, she founded a holistic cooking, nutrition education, urban gardening and food justice program that served thousands of kids. She also revamped the free meal service program for children, replacing processed foods with from-scratch, whole-foods recipes, and lead the expansion of this foodservice model to over 50 additional non-profits in NYC. Stefania graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English in 2000 and completed her Chef’s training at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in 2003. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Health Arts and Sciences at Goddard College and studying medical herbalism at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism.
Wendy Kohatsu, MD, Core Faculty, Healing Kitchens Institute, is a UCLA School of Medicine graduate, trained in family medicine at UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital. She graduated as one of the first four Fellows in the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, under the direction of Dr. Andrew Weil, in 1999. For twelve years, she served on the Advisory Board for the University of Arizona’s annual Nutrition and Health Conference. Dr. Kohatsu now serves as the Director of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency program in Santa Rosa, California. This is the first Integrative Medicine Fellowship for the Underserved (IM4US) on the West Coast. Her clinic, Vista Family Health Center, is a thriving community health center in Sonoma County. Innovative clinic projects include lifestyle group visits for patients to foster healthy behavior change, osteopathic manipulation, an integrative medicine consult clinic, and the Veggie Rx prescription research project in which doctors write prescriptions for patients to redeem vegetables and fruit from their local farmers market.
Catherine McConkie, NC, Core Faculty, Healing Kitchens Institute, has worked for over 15 years training students in culinary nutrition. She is executive chef for the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s Food As Medicine professional nutrition training program and was chef faculty for CMBM’s training program in partnership with Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis. She is the founder of The Caregivers Table, an educational cooking program designed to nourish the well being of clinical caregivers. She is also co- creator of Diabetes in Motion, an awareness-based food and movement series at San Francisco General Hospital, and lead chef instructor at the hospital’s Wellness Center. She is the author of The Slow Cooker and the Instant Pot: Recipes, tips, and tricks to get more time with less pressure and has two more books on the burner—The Caregivers Table and Silk Purse From a Sow’s Ear: How still edible food becomes delicious nutrition. Catherine graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in 2001 and Bauman College’s Nutrition Consultant Training program in 1999.