Culinary Medicine: Cooking Up Health

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The Culinary Medicine Course: Cooking Up Health is offered by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine for FSM medical students. The course is intended for first-year medical students; second- fourth year students who can attend all sessions may also apply to participate. AOSC Students in Integrative Medicine are encouraged to enroll as part of our IM education track.

Culinary Medicine is the utilization of a unique combination of nutrition and culinary knowledge to assist patients in achieving and maintaining optimal health. This course is intended to expand students’ comfort in counseling patients in successful behavior change around nutrition and cooking. The "learning" portion of the course includes a combination of pre-work/videos/didactics and hands on culinary sessions- all focused on plant-based diets. The "giving-back" part of the course engages students in service learning by bringing them into Chicago Public School classrooms to administer an established grade school nutrition curriculum to children and/or families in at risk communities. Through this course participants will learn basic culinary skills, steps to create nutritious meals, relationships between food, health, and disease, and cultural competencies around nutrition.

NOTE: The Culinary Medicine elective is approved for credit by the FSM Curriculum Committee. It does not displace any elective requirements for Phase 2-3 students.

What to expect:

For a fun video overview where you can see your classmates in action check out:  http://yournmconnection.nm.org/home/med-students-cook-up-health

The six didactic and hands-on course sessions run 2.5 -3 hours, during which students learn practical information about relevant topics and gain hands-on experience in a kitchen.

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Class time will be faculty guided and discussion based. Groups are comprised of 10-12 students led by one to two faculty facilitators. The culinary medicine curriculum follows a specific format for each lesson:

Each lesson will begin with a shared experience, comprised of learning a kitchen technique relevant to the day’s focus, cooking and sharing a healthy meal that illustrates nutrition health concepts. Students and instructors, including medical professionals and a chef from our partner organization Common Threads, prepare foods relevant to each session’s discussion in the NMH professional kitchen. At the end of each session, students and instructors gather to practice mindful eating and talk about the complex social and cultural functions of food by sharing their own food stories.

The last 90 minutes of the course will be a review of the role of nutrition in certain disease processes and small group case based discussion on evidence based nutritive literature.  Topics to be addressed may include mindful eating, the Standard American Diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition guide, understanding state of the science of macronutrients, the gut microbiome and impact of diet, food sensitivities, and inflammation as a precursor to chronic disease. Scientific literature underpinning each of these topics will be presented in the form of journal articles, videos and websites and discussed with the students.  

Students will be encouraged to continue to cook and eat mindfully outside of class. A Facebook group page and Common Bytes online group course will provide an interactive forum for uploading pictures of meals, recipes and tips.


Throughout the teaching kitchen course, students participate in a service component teaching children about basic healthy nutrition concepts and easy hands-on food preparation. Medical students are able to apply the newly acquired knowledge by serving in established Common Threads programs as volunteers to foster healthy nutrition habits. CT has programs in many Chicago Public Schools and out-of-school programs, providing valuable education to children and families in at risk communities. Students will be expected to co-facilitate a minimum of 4 in-class sessions at Jenner Chicago Public Schools for grade-school children.

 

Contact Us

For additional information about any of our MD education programs, contact Nancy Heap.

Areas of Scholarly Concentration

The mission of the Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) is to train MD students to perform a highly mentored project which culminates with the writing of a thesis.  AOSC projects related to integrative medicine AOSCs can be developed through the Medical Social Sciences & Outcomes Research area of investigation. For details on past projects, see our Areas of Research section.