An ingredient for improving health in Arkansas is encouraging good nutrition and dietary habits. Our state struggles with high obesity rates along with high rates of heart disease and diabetes. A person’s diet can be a contributing factor for these conditions or a recipe for prevention and management.
UAMS moved in 2018 to create a culinary medicine program, seeing a terrific opportunity for providing a unique form of nutrition education to our health professions students. Culinary medicine lives in the delicious spot where the cooking arts, healthy diets and good food overlap. In the teaching kitchen, our students are learning the science behind nutrition while having fun as they learn to cook healthy meals. These experiences also will equip them with new techniques for talking to patients about how to eat better — and how enjoyable and easy that a healthy diet can be.
We intend these classes — under way now in the College of Medicine and our interprofessional education program — to be a launching pad for future culinary medicine programs involving continuing education for providers, community activities, scholarship and nutrition research.
When health professionals are better able to understand and communicate with patients how to eat better based not only on their health condition but also on their budget and tastes — health outcomes will improve and health costs go down. Then we are truly cooking for a better state of health.
Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D.
Provost and Chief Strategy Officer