Culinary Health and Medicine Program

Experiential Nutrition Education Through Practical Instruction and Healthy Cooking

According to a 2019 study published by The Lancet, which analyzed the health effects of poor diet across 195 countries, 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life-years were attributed to dietary risk factors. In the United States, poor diet and the resulting health conditions account for an astonishing portion of the nation’s healthcare costs.
In 2018, Nova Institute (formerly the Institute for Integrative Health) committed itself to find a solution to help reverse our nation’s growing rate of chronic disease. Collaborating with our partners at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, led by Fellow Chris D’Adamo, we worked to address the key reason that people make poor dietary decisions: the lack of practical nutrition knowledge. Thus the Culinary Health and Medicine Program was born. This first-of-its kind program created a culinary medicine curriculum as a core requirement for first- and second-year medical students. 

This program works with healthcare professionals, medical students, patients with chronic disease, and community members to change the dietary patterns that lead to disease and poor health. 

Our program focuses on experiential nutrition education through practical instruction and healthy cooking. Centered around our all-inclusive teaching kitchen, our multi-disciplinary team of medical educators, physicians, dieticians, researchers, and community health advocates to engage communities, educate future physicians, and equip patients with practical tools for healing. 

As of May 2020, the program has hosted more than 250 first and second-year medical students with the most recent cohort participating in the program in February 2020. In January 2020, the Institute hosted the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for the first inter-professional Culinary Health & Medicine Program course. 

Research published in June 2021 about the groundbreaking Culinary Health and Medicine Program showed that it is possible and practical to teach medical students a more complete perspective on food and health that will immediately benefit themselves and their patients in myriad ways.

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