Last month the Doctor Yum Project Board Members went to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibit in San Francisco. Every year over 12,000 pediatrics health professionals from around the world gather for approximately 350 educational sessions. In addition there is a three-day exhibition with over 300 businesses related to pediatric health, including pharmaceutical companies, children’s hospitals, health-related products and services, and nonprofit organizations.

As a small Virginia nonprofit we were very excited to participate in such an important event. Our goal was to share our approach to showing families the connection between good food and good health and the specific ways that we make healthy food fun. We were anxious to see how other pediatricians would receive our message and how much interest there was in our work.

There was a lot of planning that went into such a big event. First, our booth had to look the part so we enlisted the help of our graphic designer Ashleigh Buyers and Stafford Printing to create three large banners to showcase our three programs: 1) Preschool Nutrition Curriculum 2) Teaching Kitchen and 3) Website. We decided to entice attendees with tastes of two of our favorite recipes, our Green Dragon Smoothie and Pumpkin Energy Bites and devised a plan to make large batches of them each night before the exhibit. Then we came up an idea to share all the free cooking tools on with pediatricians by doing demonstrations of the site on ipads.

The result was OVERWHELMING. Our booth was packed from opening to closing each of the three days. Pediatricians around the globe were faced with diet-related illnesses just like we are in Virginia and were looking for answers to how they can counsel families. They were thrilled to be able to share our website with their patients, and many enrolled their practices as official Doctor Yum Project partners, and will be displaying our logo on their website with a link to ours, making it easy for their patients to find our information. They were most excited by the Meal Maker Machine and Menu Planner features. Matt Krom and his talented team in Cambridge Massachusetts clearly just hit it out of the park when it came to designing a jaw-dropping, and unique recipe website.

One of the best moments of the conference was a book signing with my co-author Melanie Potock at the exhibit hall. Thanks to our friends at the Experiment and Workman Publishing, we were able to sign free copies of “Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater” for so many pediatric providers. It was exciting to see that our book would be going to so many different places around the world and helping families to establish healthy eating habits in young children. Thanks to FunBites, for for providing so many of their adorable heart-shaped food cutters to share with attendees at our book signing as an idea to make food fun!

I have to say the success of our first national conference would not have been possible without the help of such a dedicated Board of Directors. We are all so passionate about the work we do in Virginia and were humbled by the response we got in San Franciso. We are already looking forward to next year’s conference in Chicago!

If you are part of a pediatrics office and are interested in being a Doctor Yum Project partner practice click HERE!

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