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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 070. | March 07, 2024
070: Docs Who Rock Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Suzannah Bozzone
070: Docs Who Rock Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Suzannah Bozzone

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At the intersection of exercise, classical music, and Food as Medicine is Dr. Suzannah Bozzone, a certified lifestyle medicine physician and devoted yoga instructor who recently joined Dr. Frank Sabatino on the NHA Health Science Podcast.

This episode unravels Dr. Bozzone’s fervor for yoga and music, providing a melodic backdrop to her inspiring narrative of embracing plant-based living and cultivating a holistic approach to healthcare.

During the high-energy conversation, are valuable insights into how Dr. Bozzone’s passion harmonizes with the diverse tapestry of cultural choices and fosters community well-being.

Transitioning to Plant-Based Living

Dr. Bozzone explored her transition to a plant-based lifestyle, revealing the hurdles she encountered, especially in dealing with dairy, and elaborated on the transformative shift in her nutritional outlook. Despite her background as an athlete, initially subscribing to the belief in meat consumption for protein needs, her perspective underwent a significant transformation.

mint chutney is an indian sauce

This metamorphosis occurred during her attendance at the Lifestyle Medicine conference in San Diego, where influential figures like Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn presented compelling evidence in favor of plant-based living. The conference became the catalyst for Dr. Bozzone, marking a pivotal moment in her understanding of how dietary choices profoundly impact health.

Understanding Community Health

Dr. Bozzone’s experiences working with diverse communities in different parts of the United States and abroad have shaped her holistic approach to healthcare. From her time in Sonoma, California, where she observed health disparities between affluent wine enthusiasts and fieldworkers, to her work in Denver with a diverse patient population, she gained insights into the importance of fully understanding plant-based nutrition and its influence on health outcomes.

Engagement with the Latino Community

Her connection with the Latino community, both in the U.S. and during international experiences in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, highlighted the need for culturally sensitive healthcare. Dr. Bozzone emphasized the significance of meeting people where they are and understanding their cultural backgrounds to provide effective and compassionate care.

Community Initiatives

Dr. Bozzone’s commitment to community health extends beyond her clinical practice. Her involvement with the YMCA and projects like the Heart and Soul Project reflects her dedication to addressing health disparities. The Heart and Soul Project focuses on teaching teens to grow and cook plant-based food, with a special emphasis on Latino and African American flavors. Additionally, her role as a board member of the YMCA showcases her ongoing efforts to promote overall well-being within the community.

Medical Director of Wellness

Dr. Bozzone’s experience as the medical director of wellness in Sonoma showcased her energy and commitment to making a positive impact on community health. Her role underscored the importance of approaching healthcare beyond traditional practices, emphasizing lifestyle choices, and addressing social determinants of health.

Cultural Sensitivity

Acknowledging the strong ties to culture, religion, and community within the Latino population, Dr. Bozzone highlighted the significance of celebrating roots and traditions. Rather than disregarding or changing cultural practices, the approach is to find healthier alternatives within the familiar framework.

Overcoming Resistance

Dr. Bozzone discussed her early experiences working in Sonoma and the challenges faced when introducing plant-based nutrition. She emphasized the importance of meeting individuals where they are, acknowledging their existing habits, and finding common ground. By emphasizing what they already recognize as beneficial, such as walking or traditional foods like frijoles, she builds on familiar practices rather than imposing foreign concepts.

The Power of Purpose-Driven Living

Shifting the focus from disease management to purpose-driven living, Dr. Bozzone discussed her philosophy in patient care. She encourages individuals to identify their purpose and aspirations beyond mere health metrics. By aligning health goals with personal objectives, she fosters a sense of empowerment, making lifestyle changes more meaningful and sustainable.

Refining Identities in the Wellness Journey

Addressing patients who have already delved into lifestyle changes, Dr. Bozzone notes the importance of refining identities. She urges individuals to find joy in the journey rather than defining themselves solely by specific lifestyle choices. By focusing on purpose and intentional choices, vitality and healthy behaviors become contagious, contributing to overall well-being.

The Role of Yoga in Lifestyle Medicine

Drawing on her background as a yoga instructor, Dr. Bozzone incorporates yoga into her wellness approach. While teaching chair yoga in virtual employee wellness programs, she emphasizes the importance of structural alignment, core strength, and mindful practices. Yoga serves as a complementary tool to enhance overall well-being and resilience.

Collaborative Care in Love.Life/Telehealth

Dr. Bozzone shares insights into Love.Life/Telehealth, highlighting the collaborative nature of the platform. Regular clinical meetings allow for a diverse team of physicians to share experiences, discuss challenging cases, and provide valuable input. This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive comprehensive and well-rounded care, benefiting from the collective expertise of the Love.Life/Telehealth team.

Purpose-Driven Living

Dr. Susanna Bozzone’s journey in lifestyle medicine exemplifies the power of building connections, understanding cultural nuances, and fostering purpose-driven living. Her approach emphasizes collaboration, celebration of cultural roots, and the integration of practices like yoga into holistic wellness.

As the field of lifestyle medicine continues to evolve, Dr. Bozzone’s experiences provide valuable insights into overcoming resistance and creating meaningful change within diverse communities.

Episode Highlights

[00:00]             Introduction

[02:00]             From meat-based athlete to lifestyle medicine doc.

[06:00]             Dr. Bozzone’s recommendations on transitioning to plant-based eating.   

[08:00]             Challenges and benefits of raising plant-based children.     

[11:45]             World travels, diversity, and meeting people where they’re at.

[16:45]             Treating refugees was an experience Dr. Bozzone treasures to this day.      

[19:30]             The Heart and Soul project gives deeper meaning to all Dr. Bozzone is doing.        

[22:25]             Connecting diverse communities around food.          

[27:00]             From “disease management” to patient empowerment.

[32:00]             Love.Life Telehealth attracts many who have a huge WHY!

[36:00]             The power of yoga in overall well-being.

[40:00]             Music is a driving force for Dr. Bozzone.       

[43:30]             The love of community and Blue Zones.

About Dr. Suzannah Bozzone

Dr. Suzannah Bozzone is a dedicated board-certified family medicine physician with a profound belief that healthcare should transcend mere diagnosis codes, focusing instead on nurturing a purpose-driven identity. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Dr. Bozzone has dedicated over 17 years to serving diverse populations, particularly in the LatinX and refugee communities, both internationally and across the United States.

Her journey in medicine began at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where she pursued her medical education. Dr. Bozzone then honed her skills during residency at the University of Colorado Health Science Center in Denver, where she not only served as chief resident but was also honored with the Family Medicine Resident Award for Scholarship. Her commitment to excellence was further recognized at Davidson College in North Carolina, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Bozzone’s passion for holistic well-being extends beyond conventional medicine. In 2009, she became a certified Forrest Yoga instructor, integrating a mind-body approach into her practice. Embracing a broader perspective on health, she achieved diplomate status from the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine in 2017.

With clinical expertise in chronic conditions such as PCOS, weight struggles, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, digestive health, stress, and overwhelm, Dr. Bozzone emphasizes the importance of joy in the journey toward optimal health. Her approach involves empowering patients through nutrition, sleep, movement, stress management, and health-optimizing behaviors.

Dr. Bozzone’s commitment to community health is exemplified by her role as the medical director of wellness at the Sonoma Valley Hospital and her current endeavors in creating employee wellness programs and community initiatives. Her philosophy centers on providing patients with the tools to lead purpose-driven lives and fostering a sense of empowerment that goes beyond medical dependence.

Outside of her medical pursuits, Dr. Bozzone finds joy in her family life, balancing the responsibilities of being a fantastic wife and mother to three children under 12. She also enjoys practicing yoga, finding solace in nature, expressing herself through classical singing, and engaging with social media to further her mission of inspiring and empowering others toward vibrant, purpose-driven living.

Learn more at

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation and stress management.

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

More information:


A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.  [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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