Culinary medicine program gives future doctors hands-on skills to help patients eat better UofL’s Eat 2B Well provides in-the-kitchen instruction to guide medical students in improving health with food

    Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., Andrea Doughty and Eneitra Beattie
    Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., Andrea Doughty and Eneitra Beattie

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A doctor, a dietitian and a chef walk into a kitchen …

    No joke. They are there to teach medical students about choosing and preparing food that will sustain their own health as well as give them the tools to talk about food realistically with their patients.

    The Eat 2B Well culinary medicine program is a new eight-week elective for students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine designed to help future physicians understand the challenges their patients face in obtaining, selecting and preparing foods. Eat 2B Well was conceptualized by Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the school of medicine, Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean for research, and Karan Chavis, the dean’s chief of staff. UofL nutritionist Diana Pantalos, Ph.D., R.D.N., developed the curricular content. Eat 2B Well was modeled on The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, developed by Timothy Harlan, M.D.

    With increasing evidence that a poor diet causes or exacerbates many chronic diseases, it is more important than ever for physicians to help their patients eat well. However, physicians traditionally learn about nutrition in terms of science and clinical impact, which doesn’t always translate to helping patients eat better. Eat 2B Well is aimed at helping future doctors understand the issues their patients face in terms of resources, time and food preparation skills.

    “Many of the chronic health problems that burden the Commonwealth, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can be prevented through good nutrition. The goal of Eat 2B Well is to equip UofL medical students with the real-world practical knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking so that they can best help their future patients,” Klein said.

    Each Eat 2B Well class includes instruction on practical nutrition, disease association, and food preparation from a team that includes a registered dietitian/nutritionist, a professional chef and a member of the medical school faculty. Local chefs, including Anoosh Shariat of Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh, Kathy Douglas of the Fresh Chef Experience and Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery provide instruction for the food preparation portion of the class.

    Joining the medical students in the classes are students from the culinary track of YouthBuild Louisville, an education, job training and leadership program for low-income young adults ages 18-24. Classes include discussion of issues associated with food insecurity and the health problems resulting from poor nutrition. Class groups will then prepare meals utilizing cost-conscious ingredients readily available at grocery stores and markets in West Louisville, and prepared with equipment available in low-income homes.

    “To talk comfortably about food, medical professionals need to be respectful of individuals’ food cultures, to understand how complex social factors influence food habits and to have hands-on experience preparing food themselves,” Pantalos said.

    In the near future, organizers are planning to extend the program to include community engagement activities, providing at-risk families with food preparation education.

    Whole Foods Market is providing food for the classes, which take place at Cooking at Millie’s, 340 W. Chestnut St. Additional sponsors include Gordon Food Service (GFS) and Save-A-Lot Grocery. New Roots, Inc. and the Sullivan University and Jefferson Community and Technical College culinary arts programs have provided logistical support.

    The students’ next class in the program is Wednesday, September 27, where they will be joined by Tulane’s Harlan.


    Celebrity Chefs:

    Eneitra Beattie, Brown Forman Corporation, Bourbon Street Café

    Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

    Kathy Douglas, Fresh Chef Experience

    Tina Lee, Fresh Stop Market, Dare to Care

    Lorita Rowlett, Fresh Stop Market

    Anoosh Shariat, Anoosh Bistro, Noosh Nosh

    Gabe Sowder, Wiltshire Pantry

    Andrea Wells, Farm to Baby Louisville


    More about The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

    Developed in 2012 by Timothy Harlan, M.D., at Tulane University, The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine is directed by Chef Leah Sarris. Support for the center includes a director for research and development and the Teaching Kitchen Medical Student Club, which coordinates community outreach, medical student service learning and children’s programming.

    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.