Eleonora Gafton is an associate professor and professional chef in the Nutrition and Integrative Health program at Maryland University of Integrative Health, one of the nation's top graduate schools for health and wellness studies. Growing up on an organic farm and winery in Romania, Ms. Gafton developed a passion for natural foods.

Professional Narrative

She completed her chef training at Ministerul Turismului International in Bucharest, Romania, to work in a three-star hotel, becoming the first female executive chef in a communist country. Ms. Gafton later received a bachelor's degree in hotel management from Cornell University and worked in the hotel industry in Washington, DC, for 20 years. Ms. Gafton also holds a doctoral degree in clinical nutrition (DCN), a master's degree (M.S.) in herbal medicine and clinical studies, a PMC in Nutrition from the Maryland University of Integrative Health, and a certificate in health coaching (CHHC) from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in N.Y.

Doctor of Clinical Nutrition, Herbal medicine practitioner, and certified nutrition specialist experienced in using herbs, whole foods, and dietary supplements for health and wellness. Areas of interest include stress management, digestive health, food allergies, chronic diseases, metabolic syndrome, weight management, and facilitating self-discovery. Passionate about science-based nutritional protocol development and enjoy educating clients on dietary and lifestyle changes.

Dr. Gafton is the 2022 recipient of The James Truby Community Service Award honoring outstanding service to the local, regional or national community. Dr. Gafton was recognized for her work with community outreach nutrition programs and service to her local community through her church. James Truby was a long time MUIH Board member and supporter of MUIH. He was fiercely committed to community service as evidenced by his active involvement, leadership position roles, and support of many non-profit organizations.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Cherpak-Castagna CE, Gafton EN, Nault D, Van Lare SJ, Freeman KC. Cross-Sectional Survey of Graduate Clinical Nutrition Students Describing Dietary Choices and Recommendations. J Am Coll Nutr. 2021 Feb 18:1-10. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2020.1863282. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33600293.

Nutritional Intervention for Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease in Client Diagnosed with Multiple Medical Conditions: A Case Study - Research Symposium


Whole Foods Cooking Labs

Sports Nutrition Cooking Lab

Redefining Nutrition

Culinary Herbs in the Kitchen and Beyond

Graduate Colloquium



The Herbert C. Brown Community Service Award - 2013

The Excellence in Innovation and Service Award -2019

Teaching Faculty Award - 2021

The James Truby Community Service Award - 2022

Personal Narrative

I was born in Arad, Romania, and I grew up on a farm. I was part of the national track team and competed internationally during my high school years. I came to this country at a young age, and I was a nanny for two small children while I learned the language. I was fortunate to be admitted to Cornell University, and I got my BS in Hotel business and management with a concentration in food and beverage and minor finances. After 20+years spent in the corporate environment, my health deteriorated, and I did not find relief through conventional medicine. I realized that I needed to manage my health; thus, I needed to educate myself and change careers. I joined MUIH in 2010 and never left.

In my spare time, I like to create new dishes, explore farmer's markets, find fresh ingredients and spend as much time in nature as possible. During COVID, I adopted a Bishon Frise/Toy Puddle who is my "Velcro," his name is Nick. He loves long walks and loves his veggies. He loves to spend time with me in the kitchen as he gets to taste most of the foods that I prepare. My kitchen is the zen place; it brings me joy and allows me to express my creativity. A great meal complemented with a fine glass of wine brings joy and excellent conversation.

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