Culinary Medicine course helps TCOM students learn benefits of healthy diet

The holidays are the eating season, and students at UNT Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine are signing up for a new course on how eating behavior affects health.

These students are destined to become osteopathic physicians who practice a whole-person approach to health care, and the new elective course, Culinary Medicine, fits well into the curriculum. In addition to online instruction, the trial course will include four three-hour hands-on cooking sessions.

“I anticipate this course will give me the skills to practice one of the tenets that osteopathic physicians strive to follow: ‘The body is self-healing,'” said Ashley Allen, who like all the course participants is a first-year TCOM student. “The key to preventing and curing many chronic diseases is not another drug intervention or surgery but a healthy diet, which is the focus of Culinary Medicine.”

More than 80 students signed up for the course, which begins in spring 2014. Only students with a GPA of 80 percent or better were eligible. A further restriction is that only 18 seats are available, so a lottery selected participants.

The innovative course is dedicated to preparing physicians to be more engaged in the holistic method of care that integrates the effects of nutrition and eating behavior on chronic disease and quality of life.

“If we can teach our patients how to eat healthy before the onset of disease such as diabetes, we will be able to reduce the number of patients diagnosed with most preventable diseases,” said class participant Jennifer Brekke, TCOM ’17.

Collaborative partners in the program include the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane Medical School, the TCU Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Moncrief Cancer Center.

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