ILM Staff

Rani Polak, MD, Chef, MBA is founder and director of the Culinary Healthcare Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and a Research Associate, PM&R Department, Harvard Medical School. Prior to this position he completed a Research Fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and a residency in Family Medicine at the Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Polak had the good fortune to be the founder of the Hadassah Healthy Cooking and Lifestyle Center, and the Israeli Society of Lifestyle Medicine. His first lifestyle intervention won the Hebrew University’s Kaye Award Price for innovation, and his book, Delicious Diabetic Recipes is a gold best seller.

Dr. Polak’s current focus is in nutrition education, and clinical and translational research relating to culinary medicine and medical education. His work focuses on CHEF Coaching utilizing evidence-based medicine to help individuals and professionals efficiently and cost-effectively improve nutrition. Aspects of this work includes a Patient CHEF Coaching program to improve the eating behavior of patients with cardio-metabolic risk factors, and a Clinician CHEF Coaching program that trains clinicians on how to provide effective culinary healthcare education. The Clinician CHEF Coaching program has been implemented into the Yale Preventive Medicine/Internal Medicine residency program and was recently approved by Harvard Medical School for Continuing Medical Education credits. Follow Dr. Polak on Twitter, @RaniPolakMD.


Rachele Pojednic, PhD, EdM is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Simmons College and a former Research Fellow at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Harvard Medical School. She holds a PhD from Tufts University in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, where she was awarded the Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She also holds an EdM in Physical Education and Coaching.  As a researcher, her work has a specific focus on physical activity and nutrition interventions for the prevention and treatment of non-communicable chronic disease. She serves as co-chair of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Is Medicine® education committee, is on the American Council on Exercise Industry Advisory Panel, and is a council member of the True Health Initiative. Dr. Pojednic has also been an active member of the fitness industry for the past 15 years and is an indoor cycling instructor at Flywheel Sports in Boston. She has been a consultant and writer to several organizations, including Joy Bauer and the Today Show, Huffington Post Healthy Living Blog, Boston Magazine, Runners World, Women’s Health and Self Magazine. She blogs at and tweets at @rachelepojednic.

Mary Kennedy is a Research Associate at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. In this role, she identifies and coordinates research projects for the Institute and manages the Yale Preventive Medicine Residency Program rotation in Lifestyle Medicine. Twice yearly, students from Yale School of Medicine visit the ILM for a two-week rotation in Lifestyle Medicine. This work is supported by a three-year training grant funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.In addition to her work at the Institute, Ms. Kennedy manages a school nutrition education project for Stonyfield Farm, and is a Technical Assistant for the inaugural Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. Ms. Kennedy has written numerous health articles for publications such as Good Housekeeping, O magazine, and the American Institute of Cancer Research’s Monthly Newsletter and was an Associate Producer for NOVA’s documentary Marathon Challenge. She received her MS in Nutrition Communication and Food Policy from Tufts University and her BS in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Boston University. Additionally, Ms. Kennedy is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist.


Cary Wing, EdD, FACSM, is the  Social Media Coordinator for the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and has been in the health and fitness field for more than 30 years. She is a national speaker, freelance writer, medical fitness business advisor, and social media specialist.  For ten years she was Executive Director of the Medical Fitness Association (MFA).  Dr. Wing is an associate editor of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®; editor of the Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer Manual; associate editor of ACSM’s Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines, 4th Edition; and author of 101 Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing in Health/Fitness Clubs.  She holds a MA in physical education & sport, with a concentration in fitness management, from New York University, and an Ed.D. in applied physiology from Columbia University. Tweet @caryhwing.

Mary Alice Hanford is the Academic Coordinator for the ILM. She manages CME course logistics, educational materials and manuscript submissions, performs literature searches, provides editorial and formatting assistance, provides research support, prepares presentations, and maintains research databases. Mary Alice has a BA in English from the University of Connecticut and an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives an active and healthy lifestyle in the Boston area with her husband and two cats.

Contact Information

Edward M. Phillips, MD
Director, Institute of Lifestyle Medicine
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston
300 First Avenue, Charlestown, MA 02129
+1 (617) 309-2435 |

Mary Alice Hanford
Academic & Research Administrator, Institute of Lifestyle Medicine
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network
125 Nashua Street, Boston, , MA 02114
+1 (617) 573-7116 |

Cary Wing, EdD, FACSM
Social Media Coordinator & Event Support
804-921-8237 (Cell)