New culinary elective course teaches UofL med students to help patients eat better

Eat 2B Well
Eat 2B Well

A doctor, a dietitian and a chef walk into a kitchen …

No joke. They are there to teach medical students about choosing and preparing food that will sustain their own health as well as give them the tools to talk about food realistically with their patients.

The Eat 2B Well culinary medicine program is a new eight-week elective for students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine designed to help future physicians understand the challenges their patients face in obtaining, selecting and preparing foods. Eat 2B Well was conceptualized by Toni Ganzel, MD, MBA, dean of the School of Medicine, Jon Klein, MD, PhD, vice dean for Research, and Karan Chavis, the dean’s chief of staff. UofL nutritionist Diana Pantalos, PhD, RDN, developed the curricular content.

Eat 2B Well was modeled on The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, developed by Timothy Harlan, MD.

With increasing evidence that a poor diet causes or exacerbates many chronic diseases, it is more important than ever for physicians to help their patients eat well. However, physicians traditionally learn about nutrition in terms of science and clinical impact, which doesn’t always translate to helping patients eat better. Eat 2B Well is aimed at helping future doctors understand the issues their patients face in terms of resources, time and food preparation skills.

“Many of the chronic health problems that burden the Commonwealth, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can be prevented through good nutrition. The goal of Eat 2B Well is to equip UofL medical students with the real-world practical knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking so that they can best help their future patients,” Klein said.

Each Eat 2B Well class includes instruction on practical nutrition, disease association, and food preparation from a team that includes a registered dietitian/nutritionist, a professional chef and a member of the Medical School faculty. Local chefs, including Anoosh Shariat of Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh, Kathy Douglas of the Fresh Chef Experience and Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery, provide instruction for the food preparation portion of the class.

Joining the medical students in the classes are students from the culinary track of YouthBuild Louisville, an education, job training and leadership program for low-income young adults ages 18-24. Classes include discussion of issues associated with food insecurity and the health problems resulting from poor nutrition. Class groups will then prepare meals utilizing cost-conscious ingredients readily available at grocery stores and markets in West Louisville, and prepared with equipment available in low-income homes.

“To talk comfortably about food, medical professionals need to be respectful of individuals’ food cultures, to understand how complex social factors influence food habits and to have hands-on experience preparing food themselves,” Pantalos said.

In the near future, organizers are planning to extend the program to include community engagement activities, providing at-risk families with food preparation education.

Whole Foods Market is providing food for the classes, which take place at Cooking at Millie’s, 340 W. Chestnut St. Additional sponsors include Gordon Food Service and Save-A-Lot Grocery. New Roots, Inc. and the Sullivan University and Jefferson Community and Technical College culinary arts programs have provided logistical support.

Celebrity chefs:

  • Eneitra Beattie, Brown Forman Corporation, Bourbon Street Café
  • Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery
  • Kathy Douglas, Fresh Chef Experience
  • Tina Lee, Fresh Stop Market, Dare to Care
  • Lorita Rowlett, Fresh Stop Market
  • Anoosh Shariat, Anoosh Bistro, Noosh Nosh
  • Gabe Sowder, Wiltshire Pantry
  • Andrea Wells, Farm to Baby Louisville

Source: New culinary elective course teaches UofL med students to help patients eat better (UofL News, Sept. 25, 2017)