June 18, 2024

CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center’s Community Nutrition Programs is proud to announce its collaboration with the School of Medicine to introduce a Nutrition and Culinary Medicine Selective for 3rd and 4th-year medical students. This innovative program aims to enhance nutrition education for future physicians, equipping them with essential skills to promote healthier lifestyles and improve patient outcomes.

The decision to launch this course was inspired by a shared commitment to advancing nutrition education among healthcare professionals. Anita Bancroft, RD, Program Manager of the Community Nutrition Programs, is set to assist in leading the culinary portion of the course. Speaking out over her excitement about the partnership, she highlights the impact the new course brings, stating, “Initiatives like the Nutrition and Culinary Medicine Selective empower future physicians to appreciate the profound impact of food choices on well-being, ultimately benefiting patient outcomes.” Teaching the culinary curriculum alongside Bancroft will be her team of RD’s eager to bridge the gap between medical education and culinary medicine to promote comprehensive patient care.

The course, which uses the Culinary Medicine Health Meets Food curriculum, aligns with the goals and mission of the Community Nutrition Programs at AHWC. Bancroft explains, “It uses evidence-based nutrition, patient-centered care, and teaches culinary techniques. The curriculum recognizes that patients are unique individuals with distinct dietary needs, and it addresses all eating patterns through a wide variety of recipes to highlight how all foods can fit within healthy eating habits.” By adding culinary skills into the mix of medical education, future physicians will have the right tools to apply nutritional knowledge in their practice, ultimately helping patients make better food choices and make healthy eating more enjoyable.  

The Culinary Medicine Selective, which launched its first block on April 29, offers a diverse range of learning settings and topics for medical students to explore. The curriculum is structured to include self-paced learning, in-person classroom and kitchen days, and opportunities to shadow clinical dietitians and pediatric nutrition physicians on campus. Hands-on culinary experiences will also be a key component of the program, with eight classroom days dedicated to cooking several recipes in the metabolic kitchen at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. This structured approach allows students to apply their knowledge in a practical setting, enhancing their understanding of nutrition and culinary medicine.

With a strong commitment to empowering future physicians, the course aims to achieve several key learning objectives, including understanding the principles of culinary medicine, promoting healthier eating habits, and integrating physical activity and mindful eating into patient care. Students will also learn food-first techniques to educate patients and offer guidance on preparing nutritious meals. Looking ahead, Anita Bancroft reflects on what goals she envisions in leading the new curriculum. She shares, “I hope to provide students with practical skills through hands-on learning, promote interdisciplinary teamwork between RDs and MDs, and deepen medical students’ understanding of nutrition to enhance patient guidance.”  

The partnership between the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and the School of Medicine marks a significant milestone in integrating nutrition education into medical training. This innovative program prepares future healthcare providers to deliver comprehensive care, ensuring they are equipped to address the dietary needs of their patients. As these students begin their medical careers, the lessons learned from the Nutrition and Culinary Medicine Selective will work to shape them into compassionate and knowledgeable physicians, committed to promoting health and wellness in their practice. 


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