A Medical Science Educator Article Review From Dr. Alice Fornari

This month the IAMSE Publications Committee review is taken from the article titled “A Culinary Medicine Elective Course Incorporating Lifestyle Medicine for Medical Students, MSE (2021) 31, pages 1343-1349 (2021), by Shinichi Asano, Amy E. Jasperse, Dina C. Schaper, Robert W. Foster & Brian N. Griffith.

Culinary Medicine (CM) programs have developed due to a lack of nutrition education in USA-medical schools. Culinary Medicine is described as an evidence-based field joining the art of food cooking with the science of medicine. There is evidence that CM is an effective means for learners to increase their perceived knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy in nutrition.

Gap: This article describes a CM intervention that in addition includes essential components of lifestyle medicine: physical activity and emotional health. This focus on lifestyle medicine makes this elective unique.

The 2-week elective course was taught by instructors, clinicians, and chefs and offered to 3rd and 4th year students had the following components: pre-selected modules from Health Meets Food curriculum were chosen for self-directed study resources. This elective also included a scientific literature review of a topic relevant to CM. The final component was a lecture on clinical applications of exercise physiology, exercise testing, and prescription and guidelines supported by the American College of Sports Medicine. The lecture was followed by a hands-on experiential laboratory session focused on fitness. This was followed by a diabetes counseling lecture by a certified diabetes care educator. The conclusion was an ethics discussion related to food and nutrition ethical issues. This was a literature-based discussion with pre-selected articles and questions.

Assessment: An anonymous electronic survey pre-course and post-course was administered to assess the students’ experience and overall course feedback. It included both quantitative and qualitative questions. The survey results the CM elective increased students’ perceived knowledge of nutrition. This is consistent with other literature on CM as a framework to enhance medical students’ knowledge of nutrition principles and confidence and apply them to disease management when counseling patients. The outcome of the lifestyle medicine component of the course needs further assessment and larger participation.

Alice Fornari, EdD FAMEE RDN
Vice President Faculty Development 
Northwell Health 
Office of Academic Affairs 
Associate Dean
ZSOM at Hofstra Northwell
Science Education Dept
Member IAMSE Publications Committee