Wire*— A new twist on the farmers’ market concept is coming to downtown Phoenix Oct. 9, as the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix hosts its first monthly wellness market on the biomedical campus.

A partnership among Wesley Community Health Centers, Star Impacts LLC and the college’s Wellness Program, the Downtown Phoenix Wellness Market will offer produce for sale from four local farms as well as other products, including vegan tamales, salsa, steamed buns, olive oil, loose leaf tea, honey, hot sauce, gluten-free pastries and coffee.

UA College of Medicine Downtown Phoenix Wellness Market

Image courtesy of University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Wellness markets are scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month, beginning Oct. 9 through May 14, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on the lawn outside the college’s Health Sciences Education Building, 435 N. Fifth St., Phoenix. The market is open to the public.

“The Downtown Phoenix Wellness Market takes the simple idea of purchasing food and showing people how to use it as medicine,” said Daniel Drane, EdD, director of wellness at the college. “The market is an educational hub that will bring together people, food and free education.”

Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH, (Dr. Shad) oversees the college’s nutrition curriculum and is developing the wellness program for the market. “The idea of food as medicine is an ancient concept that is now being validated by modern science. In fact, the No. 1 risk factor for disease and death is dietary risk factors, ranking above smoking, excess weight and lack of physical activity,” said Dr. Shad, who is teaching students how to offer food prescriptions as a standard part of medical care for all patients.

Dr. Shad, who also serves as chief medical officer at Wesley, will bring clinical staff and medical students from the college’s Culinary Medicine Interest Group to educate market attendees on the health benefits of the foods sold and perform wellness screening exams, such as blood pressure or blood sugar checks and other health services.

Jason Kwan, PharmD, a 2016 graduate of the UA College of Pharmacy in Tucson, created the wellness market concept by contracting with vendors and establishing a partnership with the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. The idea is to increase access to nutritious food and teach people how to eat healthfully.

“We hope to instill behavior change by offering fresh produce and blending that with health education,” Dr. Kwan said. For example, people want to know what they should eat to reduce their risk of cancer. “We’ll show them the products to buy, then they can talk to a health professional about why eating that food can prevent diabetes or cancer.”

Dr. Drane not only hopes to attract students, faculty and researchers from the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, but workers from nearby downtown office buildings who can walk to the market at Fifth and Van Buren streets and learn how to improve their health.

Guests to the wellness market will find an assortment of experiences. They can browse food and beverage vendors, stop by the Wesley Wellness booth for information and blood pressure checks or visit booths staffed by the college’s medical students that focus on a monthly health topic. October’s theme is breast cancer awareness. Future months will offer activities such as outdoor Pilates and other exercise sessions.

Beginning in November, Dr. Shad and his students will provide mini Ted-like Talks and workshops to explore the connections between food and health, understand the concepts of integrative medicine and provide practical tips to prevent disease and achieve optimal health through lifestyle changes.

If you go

Event: Downtown Phoenix Wellness Market

When: Second Tuesday of the month, beginning Oct. 9 through May 14, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: on the lawn outside the Health Sciences Education Building, 435 N. Fifth St., Phoenix

*DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from trusted sources without translation.