RLMI Staff and Board Members

Ted Barnett, MD, FACLM

Founding President and Board Chair, RLMI
Founder and CEO, RLMG

  • Dr. Barnett is the “High-Tech Doctor with Low-Tech Solutions”
  • BS from Yale University, MD from Tufts University
  • Board Certified in Diagnostic Imaging (1984) and Vascular and Interventional Radiology (inaugural exam 1995) and has practiced in the Rochester area since 1986.
  • Partner, Borg and Ide Imaging, Rochester, NY
  • Board Certified in Lifestyle Medicine, having passed the inaugural examination given by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in October 2017.
  • Teaches a 6 week plant-based nutrition course (accredited for 12 professional CME).
  • Trained CHIP facilitator
  • He, his wife and three children have thrived on an exclusively plant-based diet since 1991.

Susan Friedman, MD, MPH

Director of Clinical Studies and Vice Chair, RLMI
Medical Director, RLMG

  • Trained at Northwestern and Johns Hopkins Universities
  • Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester
  • Board certified internist and geriatrician
  • Lead author of the White Paper on Healthy Aging published in 2018 by the American Geriatrics Society.
  • Board Certified in Lifestyle Medicine, having passed the inaugural examination given by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in October 2017.
  • Completed eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate at T. Collin Campbell Center for Nutritition Studies.
  • Special interest in healthy aging
  • Recipient of numerous research grants
  • Trained CHIP facilitator
  • At home, she is happy to find new plant-based recipes for her husband, and 3 growing boys.

Carol H. Barnett, PhD, JD

Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer, RLMI

  • BA from St. Bonaventure University (class Valedictorian); PhD in English Language and Literature from Yale University; Law degree (JD) from Yale Law School
  • Co-Coordinator with husband Ted D. Barnett, MD of the Rochester Area Vegan Society since 1995
  • Vegan since 1991; raised three vegan children
  • Recipe and curriculum development and food preparation for plant-based nutrition course taught by Dr. Barnett
  • Curriculum development for “A Plant-Based Diet: Experiential Lifestyle Medicine Training for Clinicians”
  • Involved in town governance and green space protection, most recently as a founding member of the Rush Recreation and Park Association

Maria Dewhirst

Administrator, RLMI
Practice Manager, RLMG

  • Maria has a BS in Human Services from SUNY Empire State College
  • Maria came to RLMI with over ten years of experience as a nonprofit administrator. Most recently, she worked as the administrator of His Branches, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Rochester, NY.
  • Several years ago, Maria became plant-based after being diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 48 and is an enthusiastic WFPB advocate.

Robert Franki

Communications Director
Jumpstart Project Manager

  • Graduated with an MA in Digital Art Systems from SUNY Buffalo
  • Bloomberg Financial Markets, Senior Manager in IT
  • Contributor and manager in IT, data base management, graphics, and A/V production
  • Implemented learning management systems (LMS) in computer security and workplace harassment prevention
  • He and his wife combined homeschooling with business by developing an early music education program.
  • Completed eCornell T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate
  • Bob’s WFPB journey has included losing 115 lbs. over a 3-year period, and he enjoys sharing “survival tips” with anyone working to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Beth Garver

Director of Strategic Development

  • Beth graduated with a BA in Spanish/Latin American Studies, an MS in Education and a Certificate of Advance Study (CAS) in Educational Administration.
  • Diverse background in telecommunications, curriculum/instructional design, marketing/communications strategies, grant writing, teaching and home schooling, innovation, health care and technology education, and entrepreneurship.
  • Trained CHIP Facilitator.
  • Vegetarian since 1989, Vegan since 2009.
  • After participating in a 15 Day Jumpstart in 2019, adopted a low fat whole-food plant-based lifestyle.
  • Beth is married with a daughter, foster daughter and 3 loving cats.

Bubbie Staron

CHIP and Jumpstart Facilitator, Cooking Instructor

  • Currently a supervisor at Monroe County Department of Human Services, on the County’s Employee Wellness Committee since it’s inception
  • Co-founder of Rochester VegFest
  • Vice President of Animal Rights Rochester
  • In August 2019, Bubbie became a Certified Food For Life instructor. Food For Life is a program from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and is recognized as an award-winning nutrition education and cooking class program that provides an innovative approach to diet-related chronic diseases.

Kim Taylor

Jumpstart Facilitator

  • Graduated with a BS in Business Management from St. John Fisher
  • AADP certified Holistic Health Practitioner
  • Certificate in Nutrition from the Vegetarian Health Institute
  • Business owner, Life Coach, spent several years as a manager/district manager for a non-profit agency
  • Kim has been plant-based for 2 years. After taking Dr. Barnett’s 6-week nutrition course and the Jumpstart program last year, she has adopted the whole-food plant-based lifestyle.

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