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New Culinary Medicine program helps MD students learn nutrition basics

Fourth-year medical students at Penn State College of Medicine now have an opportunity to participate in a Culinary Medicine course to learn cooking and nutrition basics, which they can then pass on to patients.

Culinary Medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.

“In the United States, the traditional medical approach has been to focus on treatment rather than prevention of disease and illness,” said Tomi Dreibelbis, Culinary Medicine course co-director and senior director of educational affairs and instructor of public health sciences. “For the past 100 years, the standard medical school curriculum has required spending only a few days in four years discussing how nutrition affects wellness and the risk of progression of disease. Diet and nutrition will take us either on the path to wellness or on the path to disease.”

Dreibelbis has a background as a public health nutritionist and a graduate degree in health education. She was inspired by the Culinary Medicine program at Tulane University School of Medicine and its teaching kitchen where students are required to take nutrition courses throughout their four years of medical school. She visited Tulane in July 2016 and worked with her counterparts there to bring the program to Penn State. The first class launched in September 2016.

Learn more about the Culinary Medicine program at Penn State Medicine.

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