Using the Life-changing Power of Teaching Kitchens to Transform the Health of the Community
With the institutional mission of UT Southwestern to educate, discover, and heal, this academic medical center owes its teaching kitchen program to just one physician and one culinary-trained dietitian. Education has been the foundation of the program. The team offers inter-professional training to a group of 50 students including medical, physician’s assistant, physical therapy, dietetic, and other graduate students annually. In order to enhance the diversity of future leaders and serve a more diverse population in the future, the team trains bilingual medical and dietetic students in culinary medicine. UT Southwestern also hosts graduate medical programs including pediatric and family medicine residencies and gastroenterology fellowships.
The team has also expanded to the research space with both education-based studies and a grant-funded clinical trial with Spanish-speaking participants. This has been an opportunity to target efforts to promote food equity, which requires concurrent study of the many factors driving access, sustainability, and scalability, particularly as it impacts communities that bear the greatest burden of disease due to systemic societal oppression. They have worked with students and community health workers in the past to reach underserved communities. A new teaching kitchen in south Dallas will provide a community space to offer culinary medicine as both a patient care model and a community engagement opportunity.