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  • How do I sign up or get more information?
    If you’re interested in participating, please complete this application or email us at to speak with a member of our team.
  • What is the RENEW Program?
    The RENEW Program (Restore and Empower through Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness) is a 10-week lifestyle medicine program designed for Sarasota Memorial Hospital staff, family members, and Sarasota community members. Our proven model has been creating success for individuals across the Sarasota community since 2017. The program focuses on nutrition, fitness, stress management, and peer support to improve heart health and overall well-being. Each week, participants attend a virtual activity with the other RENEW participants to share successes and challenges and learn healthy lifestyle, wellness, and stress management tips. In addition, there is online learning that can be reviewed at the participants’ convenience. Participants can use a digital food journal that allows them to obtain feedback on nutrition and serving sizes from a nutritionist or dietitian. Wellness coaches work with each participant, sharing support and tips throughout their journey. Go to to learn more.
  • Who is eligible to participate?
    All eligible participants must have a diagnosis of at least one of the following: Diabetes Mellitus Type I or Type II Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) High blood pressure High cholesterol Elevated BMI (>25.0) Peripheral Vascular Disease Heart failure Stroke (CVA) Coronary Artery Disease (Can include stents/angioplasty, CABG, hx of MI) History of smoking Other cardiovascular risk factors may be considered, such as family history of heart disease. Participants also must be: Employed by Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), a family member of an SMH employee, or a resident of Sarasota County or Manatee County. Between ages 21 and 80 Able to exercise Comfortable with using technology such as websites, apps, Zoom video chats, etc. Exclusion criteria includes but is not limited to: pregnancy, active cancer, and active eating disorders. If you have more questions about eligibility, please contact us.
  • When is the program offered?
    We offer three 10-week programs each year: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Please see the 2023 schedule below: Spring 2023: February 7-April 14 (Applications closed) Summer 2023: May 29-August 4 (Applications closed) Fall 2023: September 11-November 17 (Applications open) 2024 dates coming soon.
  • How much does the program cost?
    To learn about program fees see visit Email us at for any questions regarding program fees.
  • Can I use my Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA) to pay for the program?
    The program fee is often reimbursable through your FSA or HSA. Follow these steps: Print a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from your FSA/HSA company (see instructions below). Have your medical doctor or nurse practitioner complete it. Complete the payment for the RENEW program online and obtain a copy of your receipt. Ask a RENEW Health Coach to download copy of your receipt. The RENEW Health Coach sends you copy of your receipt along with an itemized invoice for your FSA/HSA company. You must add your physician info in top right corner of the invoice. Submit your (1) LMN, (2) receipt, and (3) invoice to your FSA/HSA provider for reimbursement before the start of the program. Please download the attached instructions for obtaining a Letter of Medical Necessity:
  • Do you offer classes?
    Yes, we offer weekly group classes and activities on various wellness topics such as a Grocery Store Tour, Mindfulness and Stress Management Tools, a Guide to Dining Out, and more. Currently, the majority of our activities are offered as virtual interactive lessons. Two classes are held in person at HealthFit: Intro to Strength Training and a Cooking Class. RENEW participants also receive a complimentary HealthFit membership for the duration of the program, where they can choose from a wide variety of exercise classes overseen by nationally accredited trainers.
  • Do you offer meal plans and recipes?
    Yes. Once you are enrolled in the RENEW program, you'll receive a new meal plan each week. You can choose between Mediterranean (includes chicken, seafood, eggs, and dairy) or a Plant-Based plan (vegan and vegetarian friendly). We also have a recipe database of over 200+ recipes. Categories include Under 30 Minutes, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Pressure Cooker, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian, and more.
  • Do participants follow a specific diet or exercise regime?
    RENEW offers nutrition, exercise, and stress management guidelines for optimal wellness. However, participants set their own individualized goals in all of the above wellness categories. This allows us to personalize the experience for each member. Weekly coaching appointments help participants identify and reach these goals. The program’s nutrition guidelines feature a Mediterranean lifestyle, which is an approach with growing interest due to its balanced and achievable structure. No foods are off-limits in this program. Instead, we implement a "treat budget system" to teach moderation around certain foods and beverages.
  • How much time will the program require?
    About two-three hours a week for 10 weeks. There are weekly 30-minute coaching appointments with health coaches, a weekly one-hour virtual wellness activity with other RENEW participants led by health coaches, and one-hour is spent on the program apps and other online activities each week.
  • Who manages the program?
    The program staff includes a Registered Dietitian and certified Health and Wellness Coaches. The medical directors of the RENEW program are SMH Cardiologist Chippy Ajithan, MD, who is also the medical director of SMH’s Ornish Lifestyle Program, and SMH Director of Clinical Research Kirk Voelker, MD. To learn more about the team and their credentials, please visit Meet the Team.
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