At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM), faculty and students joined forces with chefs and experts in clinical nutrition to establish the JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen in 2015. The objective of this Teaching Kitchen is to bridge the gap between learning about nutrition concepts in lectures and confidently applying food and diet related principles in practice.
The JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen is unique in that it was student-initiated and founded by first year medical students who recruited faculty mentors as well as registered dietitians and culinary experts. This multidisciplinary team with medical, nutrition, and culinary expertise have worked together to develop an engaging curriculum to convey essential nutrition knowledge and culinary skills that students can use to counsel patients on the impact of food and diet on their health. Students are also encouraged to personally embrace these practices in their own lives and serve as role models for their patients, family members, friends, and colleagues.
With support from the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab, the leadership team of the JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen also formed the B’more Healthy Teaching Kitchen to promote healthy eating directly in the larger Baltimore community. Through these community outreach efforts, students lead events like health fairs and interactive workshops on cooking and nutrition, and at the same time, learn to better appreciate the socioeconomic barriers to healthy eating.
Transforming the kitchen into a classroom for clinical nutrition education has been well received by both students and faculty members. Students have commented that the hands-on approach to learning is enjoyable and fun. Through the Teaching Kitchen, students learn about nutrition by cooking, tasting the dishes they prepare, and discussing with the chefs, dietitians, and peers about how they can improve their own eating habits as well as those of their patients. Some faculty members in the School of Medicine have also participated in the Teaching Kitchen themselves. Although the JHUSOM Teaching Kitchen is currently a student organization, faculty members are working with the student leaders to explore potential ways to incorporate the Teaching Kitchen into the formal medical school curriculum to revolutionize nutrition medical education to equip future physicians with the knowledge and skills to help their patients live healthier lives.
Shannon Wongvibulsin is a third-year student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine: Medical Scientist Training/MD-PhD Program. She began her training as a physician scientist at Hopkins directly following the completion of her undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). At Hopkins, she pursues her passion for promoting healthy lifestyles. During her first year of medical school, she founded both the Nutrition in Medicine (NiM) Interest Group and the Teaching Kitchen project at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. These groups are dedicated to supplementing the nutrition education provided within the medical school curriculum as well as revamping the curriculum to increase the quality and quantity of nutrition education.
The Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative (LMEd) is proud to showcase lifestyle medicine education programs in medical schools. The schools highlighted are at various stages of program development and implementation. School leaders have shared information regarding courses, electives, activities, and programs to assist other schools as they develop their own programs. Read and learn.
Do you want to showcase your medical school and residency program in an upcoming newsletter?
Contact Cary H. Wing, EdD, FACSM, for more information.