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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 74-78

Cooking demonstrations to teach nutrition counseling and social determinants of health

1 Department of Medicine and Medical Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA
2 Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Hannah Hashimi
C/O C. Harada, UAB SOM, 1720 Second Ave S, Volker 102-D, Birmingham, AL 35294
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_234_19

Background: Future physicians should feel comfortable educating patients on disease-specific diets, and culinary medicine is an innovative approach to preparing medical students for this task. We present an engaged-learning program where medical students give community cooking demonstrations to gain experience counseling adults on nutrition and simultaneously develop understanding of the social determinants of health. Student volunteers undergo training in culinary skills, nutrition, motivational interviewing, and social determinants of health. They then lead cooking demonstrations at a local farmers’ market and later participate in a group debriefing session with faculty. Methods: Postexperience surveys were obtained. The primary outcome evaluated was feasibility of this educational intervention. Secondary outcomes were (1) student perception of the value of the program and (2) student self-rated learning of nutrition science, nutrition education, and social determinants of health. Results: A total of 117 students participated in the program over 3 years and 57% answered the postexperience survey. Students filled 91% of available volunteer slots (79 first-, 26 second-, 3 third-, and 9 fourth-year students). In a postexperience survey, 94.7% responded that the experience resulted in learning about nutrition education and 82.4% reported learning about social determinants of health. In commentary, students note that medical education was enhanced by interacting with community members. Discussion: Culinary education in a community setting is a feasible medical school service-learning activity that is well received by students. It can enhance learning of nutrition counseling skills and improve student understanding of the social determinants of health.

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