Abstract ID: 3696

Primary Topic: Curriculum design and development
Secondary Topic: Teaching, learning, and assessment

Culinary Medicine: Lessons learned from implementing curricula across the country
Amy Locke, MD; Sonia Oyola, MD; Geeta Maker-Clark, MD; Misha Kogan, MD; Seema Kakar, MD; Rupa Mahadevan, MD, , Chicago, IL, United States; Melinda Ring, MD, Osher Collaborative for Integrative Medicine, Chicago, IL, United States

Late Breaker: No


Medical school nutrition curricula have struggled to provide the needed skills for assisting patients with health behavior change, despite a strong societal need for guidance in this area. Culinary Medicine is a unique approach to helping physicians improve the lives of their patients, while also impacting their own wellness. Challenges include access to a teaching kitchen, suitable faculty knowledge, implementing inter-professional education and funding.

University of Utah Health (UUH) developed a Culinary Medicine program with the School of Medicine (SOM) and the College of Health (COH) using the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University curriculum in 2016. In 2017, this elective was expanded to students from the COH and School of Pharmacy using curriculum designed and taught by UUH faculty.

The Culinary Medicine program at Pritzker School of Medicine is offered as part of the curriculum for all students rotating through Family Medicine and as an 8 week optional elective for M1 students taught by physicians and a chef/dietitian. The program has recently expanded to include community outreach in the South Side of Chicago, at Blackstone Bikes and the Montessori School of Englewood.

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University received a grant to co-create a Culinary Medicine curriculum in partnership with Common Treads, an organization which is experienced in delivering cooking and nutrition education in schools and other youth program sites in Chicago and across the country. The first student cohort participated in 2017.

Georgetown School of Medicine launched its Culinary Medicine elective in the Fall of 2017 in collaboration with Capital Food Bank who supplied the space.

These evidence-based, nutrition curriculum are examples of innovative strategies to foster appreciation for nutrition in prevention and management of disease. This panel discussion will highlight the different curricula along with the challenges and successes in implementation.


Nutrition knowledge, food choices, and healthy cooking habits have been shown to play a significant role in the prevention and management of obesity and its related diseases. (1) Yet primary care residents and practicing physicians feel unprepared to counsel their patients about important elements of lifestyle such as nutrition and exercise. (2,3) A third of Americans are obese and nearly two-thirds are overweight; the negative sequelae of obesity and its co-morbidities cost the U.S. roughly $190 billion annually. Culinary Medicine is a new approach to teach health care professionals the necessary skills to affect behavior change with patients. Implementation of curricula has been slow to reach students despite interest due to difficulties operationalizing this program on a large scale. The purpose of our presentation is to highlight the importance of this type of interactive, interdisciplinary education while exploring the steps, barriers, successes of starting this type of nutrition curriculum at different schools of medicine.

  1. Conroy, M. B., Delichatsios, H. K., Hafler, J. P., & Rigotti, N. A. (2004). Impact of a preventive medicine and nutrition curriculum for medical students. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(1), 77–80. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2004.03.009
  1. Smith S, Seeholzer EL, Gullett H, et al. Primary Care Residents’ Knowledge, Attitudes, Self-Efficacy, and Perceived Professional Norms Regarding Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Counseling. J Grad Med Educ. 2015;7(3):388-394.
  1. Schlair S, Hanley K, Gillespie C, et al. How medical students’ behaviors and attitudes affect the impact of a brief curriculum on nutrition counseling. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012;44(6):653-657.


  1. Define culinary medicine and describe the role it can play in training students and residents to assess patients’ habits and provide assistance in lifestyle modification
  2. Identify strategies for implementation and solutions to common challenges of culinary medicine curriculum into health sciences education
  3. Articulate the role of culinary medicine in the personal wellness of health care providers

Methods/Session Format

Each school (4 total) will share their experiences followed by a 20 minute moderated panel discussion.


Participants will be involved in an interactive discussion with the faculty/panelists representing the University of Utah, Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University and Georgetown University after short presentations where each faculty describes a short history of the program, current impact of the work on either medical students, community member or both, challenges regarding sustainability and future outlook. Throughout the post-presentation Q and A, participants will have the opportunity to discuss related educational examples of innovative medical student education in their own settings. Participants will also be encouraged to consider the benefits of and barriers to incorporating educational programs for training medical students to address nutrition with patients.