Cooking Up Confidence in Eight Departments
Ties to the teaching kitchen in Spartanburg Regional Medical Center (SRMC) run deep. Departments serving cancer survivors and patients with diabetes and heart disease are just some that actively teach classes. The team has dietitians, physicians, nurses, and foodservice professionals working across disciplines toward common goals. Their signature program is Cooking Up Confidence: Skills in the Everyday Kitchen, a four-class series using produce boxes available to SNAP participants. They are multiplying its reach by preparing materials in Spanish in partnership with Clemson SNAP-Ed and holding train the trainer sessions for other facilitators. The team also holds monthly virtual support groups with cooking demos for vegetarian eating and heart health that promote whole food, plant based eating patterns. In support of patients with diabetes, the team started a produce prescription program at its Center for Family Medicine to encourage attendance in outpatient diabetes education. The team is also poised to begin culinary medicine education for medical residents and students virtually or on site in a pop-up kitchen. Many of these programs have been supported through collaboration with community organizations and shared grant funding.
With a commitment to equity, the SRMC team all the way to members of the hospital’s executive leadership team have been actively working on racial equity initiatives since 2017. They completed a Racial Equity Index Report, and data kept leading back to race being the driving factor in health inequities. They found that different zip codes within a 2-mile radius of the city had a difference in longevity of over 17 years of life. The team believes that improving healthy food access and cooking basics of community members promotes cooking and consumption of more fruits and vegetables to enhance health outcomes and ensure that every person can learn how to live their best life.