Lifestyle Medicine Program Expands to NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt as part of Citywide Expansion

Lifestyle Medicine Program Expands to NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt as part of Citywide Expansion

Mar 01, 2024

Dr. Alexander Ling, Clinical Lead of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt, NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health CEO Michelle Lewis, NYC Health + Hospitals Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine Dr. Michelle McMacken, NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health Dr. Ted Long, Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo, Staten Island Borough President’s Office Director of Health & Wellness Dr. Ginny Mantello, and others celebrate the launch of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at Gotham Health, Vanderbilt.

New York, NY — NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that its nationally recognized Lifestyle Medicine Program has expanded to NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt in Staten Island, the first time the program is available in in Staten Island. This is the fifth of six new sites to make the program available citywide, following the recent launch of the program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi in the Bronx, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and Kings County in Brooklyn, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in Queens. The pilot program, launched at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in 2019 with the support of then-Borough President Eric Adams, has already seen hundreds of patients. The Lifestyle Medicine Program’s team supports patients in making evidence-based lifestyle changes, including a healthful plant-based diet, increased physical activity, improved sleep habits, stress reduction, avoidance of substance use, and stronger social connections. Adults living with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or health concerns related to excess weight are eligible to enroll. The Gotham Health, Vanderbilt program can accommodate 32 new patients each month, and the care team includes physicians, a nurse practitioner, a dietitian, a health coach, a program coordinator, and an exercise trainer. Current patients of NYC Health + Hospitals can get a referral to the program from their provider, and people who are not yet patients of NYC Health + Hospitals can see if they qualify to enroll in the program by contacting 347-507-3695.

“We are grateful to Mayor Adams for his conviction in the power of lifestyle changes and this administration’s bold vision and action in addressing chronic disease,” said Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “The opening of a lifestyle medicine clinic at Vanderbilt represents a huge step forward in ensuring equitable access to services for those with chronic conditions looking to make changes to their diets and will go far in ensuring that all New Yorkers live long and healthy lives.” 

“I am thrilled to celebrate the launch of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt,” said Michelle McMacken, MD, FACP, DipABLM, Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Healthy lifestyle behaviors are foundational to preventing and treating common chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The Lifestyle Medicine Program’s talented interdisciplinary team will provide patients with the guidance they need to adopt healthier habits, while also helping to address food insecurity and other key barriers to lifestyle change. Kudos to NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt for offering this invaluable resource to patients and the community.”

“We are thrilled about the launch the Lifestyle Medicine Program here at Gotham Health, Vanderbilt,” said Michelle Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health. “Lifestyle Medicine Program at Gotham Health, Vanderbilt offers our patients both knowledge and tools for embracing healthier lifestyles, including access to materials on plant-based eating and individual counseling sessions.”

“Now that I’ve started the Lifestyle Medicine Program, I’m making different choices about what I eat,” said Lydia Miles, a patient of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt. “I feel so much better. When you eat this way, you’re full and content, but not overly full. I also started meal planning, so I get more sleep during the week, and I’m taking small steps to exercise more. I would definitely recommend the program.”

The Lifestyle Medicine’s nine-month program provides every patient with the following resources:

  • 6 to 9 one-on-one counseling sessions. Patients will have 2-3 visits each with a physician, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife, a dietitian, and a health coach to develop and implement a personalized care plan.
  • 14 weekly group classes. Topics include reading nutrition labels, grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and sleep and stress management techniques.
  • 8 weekly exercise classes.Patients will work with an exercise trainer and take home a resistance band for strength training.
  • 6 free, monthly deliveries of seasonal fresh produce. Patients will work with dietitians to learn about incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet across culinary traditions and skill levels. Delicious and healthy recipes developed by the team’s dietitians accompany each produce box. (Launches early 2024)
  • Health Bucks. Patients will have access to Health Bucks, which are $2 coupons that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at NYC farmers markets. Five of the seven program sites have farmers’ markets on their campus.
  • Culinary skills videos. Patients can learn cooking skills through short videos developed by the Lifestyle Medicine team in partnership with an online culinary school, Rouxbe. The videos will feature healthy cooking across various culinary traditions, including Caribbean, South American, Central American, and South Asian, and will be translated into Spanish, Mandarin, Bengali, and Haitian Creole. (Launches summer 2024)
  • A plant-based cookbook. Cookbooks on plant-based eating for type 2 diabetes are available as well.
  • Support accessing benefits. Community health workers and/or food navigator referrals will help eligible patients access SNAP benefits and nutrition resources.

Each site will partner with local community-based organization(s) to explore ways to support community members in nutrition and other aspects of lifestyle change. The Lifestyle Medicine Program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt will collaborate with Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI).

“Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI) looks forward to an innovative partnership with the NYC Health + Hospitals Lifestyle Medicine Program, Vanderbilt,” said Aja Stubbs, Associate Vice President for Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI)’s Next Step Resource & Recovery Center. “Many of the members at CHASI’s Next Step Resource & Recovery Center are in early recovery from substance use, and their health needs are complex. Incorporating new, healthy habits can be transformative for people who are disconnected from their medical and social needs. Some are learning about nutrition and exercise for the first time in many years. This program offers a holistic and manageable way to get back into the swing of things – especially for our clients and families facing the burden of chronic disease patterns. We hope this connection will be a valuable resource for our qualified clients and their families looking to add to their recovery capital.”

Once all of the sites are launched, the program will be able to accommodate nearly 4,000 patients per year. With support from the City of New York, NYC Health + Hospitals is committing approximately $5 million a year to fund staffing and programmatic services for the Lifestyle Medicine Programs.

Particular attention has been placed on ensuring that the curriculum is relevant for patients from diverse backgrounds and experiences. For example, the Spanish-language curriculum reflects cultural adaptations, not simply a translation of the English-language version. Moreover, individual visits with the medical providers, dietitian, and health coach allow for tailored behavior change recommendations based on each patient’s social, financial, cultural, and family context.

Formal evaluations of the Bellevue pilot program revealed a successful implementation process, extremely high demand for services (more than 850 patients requested to enroll in the first few months), and positive health outcomes including clinically and statistically significant improvements in weight, glycemic control, and diastolic blood pressure.



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About NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health is a Federally Qualified Healthcare Provider formed in 2012 to enable individuals and families to address their health care needs in their own neighborhoods. Serving more than 100,000 New Yorkers annually in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens, Gotham Health consists of 38 healthcare sites in all five boroughs of New York City. Gotham Health provides easy-to-access, high-quality, affordable health care services with a focus on primary care. It is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and building healthy communities, with a focus upon providing patients and families convenient access to high-quality preventive care, such as annual check-ups and immunizations. Health care teams are trained to help patients manage ongoing conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.