Culinary Medicine Partnership

In partnership with LSU Health New Orleans, Nicholls State University proudly announced its latest offering– a two-week course in culinary medicine beginning in the summer session of 2019. The program began July 1st. Nine third-year LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine students are enrolled. They are currently studying the possible preventative effects that nutrition can have in treating chronic diseases, as well as the crucial, fundamental culinary skills and recipes to promote good nutrition. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, eating patterns and specific foods have proven to be effective treatments in some cases of epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and acute cough.

Dr. John La Puma, the founder of ChefMD and Chef Clinic, defined culinary medicine as: an evidence-based field that blends the art of cooking with the science of nutrition. It is multidisciplinary in its way of blending art and science, which are arguably very similar in that they both take time, craft, and attention. Culinary medicine promotes the teamwork of physicians and nutrition professionals to prevent and treat patients’ illnesses by learning more about the food we eat.

“The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education is excited to offer this career planning elective to the Class of 2021. While students are taught the science of nutrition during their first and second years of medical school, the Culinary Medicine CPE gives them the opportunity to translate this into practical knowledge,” Dr. Catherine Hebert, the associate professor of clinical medicine and co-director of clinical sciences curriculum at LSU Health New Orleans stated. She continued, “It is not just about telling a patient to cut out salt and fat. It is about teaching them how to do this in a way that is realistic given the time and money constraints that we all face.”

During the course, students begin the day in the classroom. Here, they learn nutrition theory through lectures, case studies, and simulations that focus on such ailments as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. In the afternoon, the third-year will move from classroom to kitchen in order to learn fundamental culinary skills and related recipes from chefs and other culinary professionals. What is learned in the morning is then created in the afternoon, meaning that the nutrition content learned at the head of the day is used in relevant recipes in the afternoon. The Culinary Department Head Chef John Kozar gave the example, “Let’s say they learn about diabetes in the morning, we will work on dishes appropriate for the diabetic patient in the afternoon.”

The learning does not stop at the walls of the classroom or kitchen. Students will also take field trips to Rouses Supermarket with a Registered Dietician (RD), tour the kitchen at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, and test their new nutritional knowledge at local restaurants.

“This is an exciting opportunity for both Dietetics and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to have an even bigger impact on the community,” expressed Dr. Brigett Scott, associate dean of the College of Science and Technology and associate professor of dietetics. “What people eat has one of the biggest impacts on their health. Ultimately, the goal is that these future doctors will practice in Louisiana and promote the nutrition and culinary skills they learned to make an impact on the health of our community.”

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