Department of Nutrition Leads a Robust Undergraduate, Graduate, and Medical Student Teaching Program Devoted to Nutrition-focused Culinary Instruction
The Department of Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is nested in the School of Medicine and reaches undergraduate, graduate, and medical students with nutrition focused culinary instruction. The department offers undergraduate courses titled Case Cooks that are open to all undergraduates, regardless of major. The goal is to introduce students to basic cooking techniques; explore the role of food in culture, health and well-being; and to build confidence in the kitchen while exposing them to new foods, cooking techniques, and recipes. Students enrolled in the multiple masters level nutrition and public health degree programs also have the opportunity to get involved with departmental community-based nutrition interventions or specialized study.
The department also leads the Jack, Joseph, Morton Mandel Wellness Pathway for medical students with a nationally award-winning curriculum focused on lifestyle and culinary medicine. The Pathway is one of eight extra-curricular pathways for medical students and currently has the highest number of enrolled pathway students (170). Its core curriculum competencies help physicians guide their patients (and themselves) towards prescribing healthy lifestyles and engaging in wellness promotion behaviors.
Lastly, CWRU has community-based culinary medicine research interventions that specifically aim to mitigate health disparities and improve health outcomes among underserved populations. These interventions have been specifically designed to demonstrate high levels of cultural humility across all aspects, including recruitment, foods/recipes included, participants incentives, site location, transportation, etc.
In its new 2,400 square foot Teaching Kitchen that can accommodate 48 participants, a demo area, and live stream instruction, the workstations are designed to recreate the home cook environment. The hands-on classes in the teaching kitchen are designed to empower participants to improve their own health and those of their future patients by creating healthy, culturally diverse meals while learning to shop, plan, cook and store foods that contribute to dietary patterns that meet current Dietary Guidelines.