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Docs in the kitchen: A gastrodietary learning experience

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

A Cookin' Docs production brought to you by the University of Arizona Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Watermark Retirement Communities’ Hacienda at the River:

Low salt and full of flavor

Savor the best of both worlds – a physician’s expertise and culinary excellence. Juanita Merchant, MD, the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Arizona, leads a team of doctors who will show you how to skip the salt shaker and discover how to make low-sodium meals that please the palate. UArizona Nephrology Fellowship Director Amy Sussman, MD, will be on hand to discuss how important and achievable such diets are for chronic kidney disease patients. The Hacienda at the River’s Executive Chef David Sullivan will contribute his talents to an exciting cooking demonstration. Learn about food as therapy and bring questions for the specialists. Discover nutritional strategies that can help you thrive every day. Small bites and wine will be served during the presentation and a buffet dinner follows. This event is a fundraiser with a portion of the ticket price going to the University of Arizona Foundation. Learn more.

Cost per person: $100 – of which, $70 qualifies as a tax-deductible donation.

Space is limited for this exclusive event. Please call 520-485-1060 to RSVP by Sept. 26. We look forward to meeting you!

A smiling black woman with grey hair wearing a top with vertical black and white lines.
Juanita L. Merchant, MD, PhD
Regents Professor; Chief, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson

Merchant is a Regents Professor, the chief of the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and a professor of medicine at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. She is also the UArizona Cancer Center’s associate director for basic sciences and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine Council. Merchant earned a doctorate in cell biology and a medical degree in internal medicine from the Yale School of Medicine in 1984. She completed her residency training in internal medicine and a clinical/research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was recruited to Tucson in July 2018 from the University of Michigan, where she held a faculty position since 1991.

A white man wearing blue chef's clothing and a black baseball hat
David Sullivan, MAEd
Executive Chef, Hacienda at the River
Watermark Retirement Communities

Sullivan has 30 years experience in the food service industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UArizona and master’s in education from the University of Phoenix. He studied culinary arts at Pima Community College and restaurant management at Northern Arizona University, apprenticing under the Westward Look Resort's Chef Jason Jonilonis and working in many other Tucson area restaurants. He taught culinary arts at Ironwood Ridge High School and was a faculty member of the Art Institute of Tucson’s Culinary Arts Department. He also was executive chef at The Forum at Tucson, a senior living community, and Cornerstone Hospital. And he spent a season at McMurdo Station in Antarctica as sous chef. A former Tucson theater world veteran too, Sullivan sees food and cooking as a form of performance art and means to bring people together to add joy to their lives. As such, he finds food healing and transformative.

A white woman with brown hair wearing a navy blue blouse.
Amy Sussman, MD
Nephrology Fellowship Program Director; Professor, Department of Medicine
UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson

A professor of medicine, Sussman is the Department of Medicine’s vice chair of education as well as its clerkship director, in addition to her roles in the Division of Nephrology. She finished her medical degree at the University of Arizona and her internal medicine residency training at the University of Washington, where she also was chief resident and completed her fellowship training. It’s also where she started her academic career with three years of bench research on mechanisms of podocyte detachment in renal failure utilizing both cell culture and animal models. Recruited to UArizona in 2009, she’s served as a clinician educator who’s distinguished herself with multiple College of Medicine teaching awards. She maintains an active interest in glomerulonephritis and is sub-investigator of the Membranous Nephropathy Trial of Rituxan MENTOR clinical trial. She also serves as the medical director of DCI Desert Dialysis units (Sahuarita, South Tucson).

To request any disability-related accommodations for this event please contact the event coordinator at least three business days prior to the event.
PDF icon Event flyer3.49 MB
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Saturday, September 30, 2023 - 4:00pm
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Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Community
College of Medicine – Tucson


Tucson area
Hacienda at the River (A Watermark Retirement Community)
2720 E. River Rd., Tucson, AZ 85718


Carmen Mendoza
College of Medicine – Tucson
Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology