My name is Mary and I’m head of the Stanford Children’s Hospital Parent Working Group. In 2017 my team and I received an ImproveCareNow Patient and Parent Innovation Fund award to host a fun and interactive cooking class to teach members of our center how to cook healthy meals for people with IBD. Through this project, we hoped to build self-management skills and help strengthen our center’s sense of community.

In 2017, our Stanford team was already involved in a year-long focus on nutrition in IBD. To begin with, we hosted a community-wide conference focusing on: Nutrition, Mindfulness, Emerging Treatments and Community Building. After that, and with support from our Innovation Fund award, we hosted our IBD Cooking Night. We even filmed a video during our event, so others could experience the Cooking Night after it was completed. After the cooking night had concluded, we created a Stanford IBD Center Cookbook, filled with recipes from the event and from our doctors and families. The fourth and final event for our year was the Summer Scamper Picnic (a hospital wide fundraiser) followed by an IBD center picnic – this is where we shared our cookbook.

Our cooking program, video and cookbook were great successes! Doctors, parents and patients shared that they were surprised at how much fun it was to hang out together in an environment entirely separate from the medical clinic or hospital. Patients and parents were able to meet, interact with and support others who are having similar life experiences.

Going forward, Stanford’s next steps will include additional cooking events. Our Family Advisory Council (FAC) and our Parent Working Group (PWG) have met to brainstorm new locations and cost-reduction strategies. We plan to team up with our local universities and community colleges and their cooking schools. Stanford’s patient population is geographically diverse, this will enable us to offer nutrition focused community building events at a local level. 

While we are not able to host additional cooking events this year, we will once again bring our IBD center together for Stanford's annual Summer Scamper. Following this fundraising event, we plan to host a community-building and nutrition-focused picnic, designed to reinforce our commitment to strengthening the sense of community between our patients, their families and our providers.


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