Culinary Medicine Class Soars In Popularity

The next generation of doctors in Fort Worth is getting a hands on lesson on how to use food as medicine. The Culinary Medicine Program between TCU and UNT Health Science Center is the first of its kind in Texas.

(Published Thursday, March 8, 2018)

The next generation of doctors in Fort Worth is getting a hands on lesson on how to use food as medicine.

The six-week Culinary Medicine class combines Texas Christian University and UNT Health Science Center students for hands-on lessons.

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The program is the first of its kind in Texas and one of only few dozen around the country.

According to Anne Vanbeber, with the Nutritional Science program at TCU, TCU seniors studying to become dietitians teach medical students from the UNTHSC how nutrition can be as powerful as medicine.

The class explores the link between diet, disease and the role food plays in the prevention of illness.

In the class, students learn simple ways to eat healthier foods with the expectation that they'll pass that knowledge onto their patients.

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"The research shows us that 30% don't even talk about food because they don't really have a vocabulary around it or they don't feel comfortable about it, says Debbie Gillespie with UNTHSC.

Traditionally, medical students take very few nutrition courses during their schooling.

The course is so popular, UNTHSC holds a lottery to determine who can get in.

This year, about 200 students applied, for 27 spots.

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Student Kristyn Stevener says she's excited about passing on her new knowledge.

"Really being able to talk to the patient and say, 'I know this may sound daunting, but try one of these recipes this week. I've tried it myself and I know it tastes good and I know it's quick and easy, it takes 20 minutes to cook,'" she says.