UTHSC and UT Introduce Culinary Medicine Program to Knoxville Health Care Community

The Culinary Medicine program at UTHSC trains medical students and residents in the principles of nutrition and healthy eating, so that they can share that knowledge with their patients in the future. An upcoming continuing education class aims to share that knowledge with health care providers in Knoxville.

In an effort to spread the message that healthy eating is a key to overall good health, the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in collaboration with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will host a continuing Culinary Medicine education class for health care professionals Saturday, August 27, in Knoxville.

The Introduction to Culinary Medicine class, the first of its kind in Knoxville, will be held from 10 am to 1 pm at UT’s Culinary Institute, 2712 Neyland Drive. The cost is $200 and participants will receive 4.5 hours of continuing medical education credit. Go to culinarymedicine.org to register.

The class uses the same Health Meets Food™ curriculum that is used in the UTHSC College of Medicine to train students and residents. The program was developed to change the narrative between health care professionals and their patients about food. Susan Warner, MD, CCMS, Culinary Medicine program director in the UTHSC College of Medicine, said the curriculum is suitable for physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dietitians, educators, and anyone who wants to be more knowledgeable about cooking and eating more healthfully, as a route to better overall health.

The curriculum includes instruction in basic nutrition principles and culinary skills, as well as in how fresh food prepared healthfully can be used to prevent, improve, or reverse chronic diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It merges medical science, evidence-based nutrition and culinary skills to encourage healthy lifestyles for both health care professionals and their patients and clients. Organizers of the Knoxville program include Dr. warner; Brynn Voy, PhD, interim head of the Department of Nutrition in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, and professor of Animal Science for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; and Chef Tyler White, program manager for the UT Culinary Institute.

dr Voy said the mission of UT’s Department of Nutrition is essentially to optimize health and well-being through the diet. “Training health professionals in culinary medicine, through events like this continuing education course, will expand the toolkit that we can use to accomplish this mission,” she said.

dr Warner led the introduction of the Culinary Medicine curriculum in the College of Medicine more than five years ago. Since then, the program has become so popular with medical students that demand has outpaced capacity at UTHSC. Proceeds from the Knoxville CME class will support the Culinary Medicine program for medical students at UTHSC.

The class is evidence of the collaboration across institutions in the UT System to improve the lives of the citizens of Tennessee. “The goal is to train the trainer,” Dr. Warner said. “Teaching health care professionals the basics of healthful eating equips them to encourage their patients to cook and eat more healthfully.”

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