Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH
Nimali is a pediatrician practicing in Fredericksburg, VA and founder of the website doctoryum.org and The Doctor Yum Project. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh school of Medicine and School of Public Health with an M.D. and Masters in Public Health. She completed residency and chief residency in Pediatrics at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center Houston and served there for two years as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the department of Pediatrics. In 2005 she and her husband, also a physician, moved their family back east to Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 2014 she opened Yum Pediatrics, a full service general pediatrics practice with a focus on wellness and prevention through a healthy diet. Yum Pediatrics shares a large teaching kitchen and teaching garden with The Doctor Yum Project. She is also co-author of the new book, “Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater, a Parent’s Handbook” and co-creator of “The Picky Eater Course” a video course for raising healthy, happy eaters from birth to school age. A portion of the royalties of her new book will be donated to the Doctor Yum Project’s programs.
Heidi is at her core, passionate about connecting busy families with great resources available to make their lives easier, healthier and all around more fulfilling. In her current position as the Director of Operations and Marketing for Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine, Heidi has spearheaded many programs helping local families feel more connected with the community, including Play with your Plate, a partnership with Doctor Yum where in area restaurants rehabilitate their kids menus to offer healthier dining options. Prior to her time with FredParent, Heidi was the founding Executive Director for Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization created to support, empower and connect military families. Her background also includes eight years in roles as a Shopping Center Marketing Director in California, Maryland, Virginia and Hawaii, and 13 years as a small business owner with Barefoot Moments Custom Photography. In her personal life, Heidi and her husband Dave stay busy with their active sons aged 13 and 9 with the typical school, sports and extra-curricular activities and enjoy making time to run, hike, surf, ski and travel as much as life allows.
Santhi Nair, MD
Santhi was born in India. Her family moved to the United States when she was 5 years old. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from The George Washington University. She earned her Medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine (Dominica, West Indies). She completed her Pediatric Residency and Chief Residency at Crozer Chester Medical Center in Pennsylvania. She went on to work as an Attending Physician in General Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2006 she and her husband moved to Fredericksburg, VA to be close to their families. Currently she is practicing pediatrics at The Community Health Center of the Rappahannock Region in Fredericksburg, VA. She is Board Certified with the American Board of Pediatric and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Nair is very passionate about fighting the epidemic of Obesity. She is and wants to be involved in promoting a Heart Healthy Lifestyle for her patients and her community. Her husband Sudeep Menachery is a physician at the Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg. Together they have two daughters, Riya and Rehka. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, reading, travelling and experiencing different cultures.
Jessica is a native of Fredericksburg and is an avid community volunteer. She is a graduate of the University of Richmond; her professional career in early childhood education and business development expanded to her volunteer efforts with non-profit organizations. Jessica was an integral part of bringing the Children’s Museum of Richmond to Fredericksburg, serving on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Museum of Richmond and coordinating several local fundraising events. She is the past Chair of the Washington Heritage Museums Board and past President of the Fredericksburg Area Service League. Jessica and her husband, Chuck are raising 3 daughters, Ginny, Sally and Anna. When she’s not volunteering or carpooling her kids to various extracurricular activities, Jessica enjoys running, skiing and travel. She recently joined the Doctor Yum Project Board, where she hopes to continue to spread the word about healthy eating and living.
Cooking Program Instructor and Preschool Curriculum Liaison
Cooking Program Instructor
Formerly known as Thomas the “Tiny Taster”, Noah has grown up along with The Doctor Yum Project, tasting and critiquing some of Doctor Yum’s earliest recipes. Noah also volunteered at some of the very first cooking camps, where he became comfortable cooking and teaching kids in the kitchen. Now he is in college working towards being in the medical field himself. Noah enjoys being in the in teaching kitchen and instructing a new generation of Tiny Tasters, showing them that healthy food can be fun, too. He is a great spokesperson for the Doctor Yum Project, and may be spotted around town making green smoothies, passing out recipes and helping to create a culture of wellness.
Ashleigh Buyers is a multimedia designer and University of Mary Washington graduate. She started working with the great team at Dr. Yum Project in 2011 when she was still in college. Ashleigh has continued to work with them on a number of inspirational projects such as the Dr. Yum Project preschool curriculum, Dr. Yum’s “Raising a Healthy Happy Eater” book and most recently the recipe website.
When she is not working her magic through the Adobe Creative Suite, she can be found driving, walking and biking all over northern Virginia taking in all the sights, sounds and tastes it has to offer. She is especially fond of a certain frozen custard shop in Fredericksburg. Strawberry milkshake, please!
Preschool Curriculum Liaison
Trudie grew up in England and graduated from the University of Durham with a Bachelor in Education. She taught second grade until moving to the United States to marry her husband Ed. Trudie is passionate about early childhood, wearing many hats in her current position as the Al’s Pals program specialist and Virginia Quality Regional Rater for Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area; a community partner of the Doctor Yum Project. Trudie has 2 daughters and a beloved bulldog Monty, and enjoys travelling back to the U.K to visit her family whenever possible!
Daryle Darden, MD
Daryle is a local physician and devoted spouse of Dr. Yum. He is also known to his children as “Dr. Yuck” for being caught red handed with junk food on a few occasions. In his defense, he tries to lead by example and devote a lot of his diet to veggies, green smoothies, and drinking clean refreshing H2O. He works at a local Fredericksburg medical imaging practice (Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg). When not goofing around with the kids, he assists the Dr. Yum Project with accounting, website work, and general IT related issues.