Two Departments Collaborate on Interprofessional Culinary Medicine Education
The University of Utah Center for Community Nutrition provides targeted nutrition programming in schools and to community groups. This team has worked to change public policies and improve community environments so that healthful foods are accessible and affordable for all. The UUCCN continues to advance research in community, school, clinical, and policy interventions by designing and implementing novel ways of interacting with our communities.
The University of Utah’s Osher Center for Integrative Health is led by Amy Locke MD, as Chief Wellness Officer at University of Utah, and seeks to expand a holistic health approach to the employees, patients and community members of University of Utah Health. The program joined the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Health in 2022, which allows the University of Utah to build greater collaboration across the university, grow their patient and community programs, and extend their reach to better serve vulnerable populations.
Beyond the classroom, the innovative collaboration continues between the Center for Community Nutrition and the Osher Center for Integrative Health. In 2016 the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology partnered with the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and launched a new elective in Culinary Medicine, which aims to integrate students throughout the Health Sciences in a kitchen environment to explore the impact of food and nutrition on specific health outcomes.
This course prepares students to analyze how nutrition translates into practical food choices and patient advice regarding what, when, why, and how to eat. A unique strength of the course is that it emphasizes an interprofessional environment. Developed and instructed by registered dietitian Theresa Dvorak from Nutrition and Integrative Physiology and family physician Amy Locke from the School of Medicine, the course is open to all health science graduate students. Through medically and culturally diverse case studies and role playing, students practice counseling skills in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Culinary Medicine takes place in a teaching kitchen, where students prepare and enjoy meals while discussing the science of nutrition and how to help patients make lasting health behavior change. Students then have opportunities to practice their skills in community engaged cooking experiences.