Our Mediterranean Diet

Continuing Education Conference for U.S. Pharmacists and Dietitians at ISI Florence
The Mediterranean Diet from an Italian Perspective
“Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”      
Florence, Italy – November 8-12, 2016


Dr. Peter Fischer (ISI Florence), Dr. Jill Fitzgerald (University of Connecticut, School of Pharmacy), and Dr. Jane Kerstetter (University of Connecticut, Department of Allied Health Sciences) teamed up to develop a continuing education conference on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet for American practicing pharmacists and dietitians.



Forty American pharmacists and dietitians attended a 4-day conference at ISI Florence in early November 2016.  The primary purpose of the conference was to reveal new perspectives of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle to practicing health care providers in the U.S. Most of the conference speakers were Italians who provided a unique perspective on the Mediterranean diet: its important foods, culture, and history. As part of the conference, there were guided walking tours of Florence, trips to a Tuscan winery and olive oil pressing facility, olive oil, wine and street food tastings, a gala dinner, and full immersions into Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella and Ospedale Santa Maria Nuova. The pharmacists particularly enjoyed the guided tour of the pharmacy laboratory, where medicines are manufactured according to ancient Galenic recipes. The conference workshops and tours took full advantage of the rich Mediterranean cuisine and examined first-hand the profound role food plays in community, family, ethnicity, nutrition, health, and national identity. Participants experienced the insider’s view of the real Mediterranean diet; one that is considerably different from what is portrayed in the U.S. and one that they will always remember.

Jane Kerstetter, PhD, RD
Professor Emerita, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut