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Culinary Medicine Labs

Photo of dietetic interns teaching medical students about nutrition in a ktichen setting.

The Culinary Medicine Lab (CML) is a collaborative pilot program between the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (NODIP), the Nutrition in Medicine Interest Group and Wellness Committee to offer informative and hands-on sessions on nutrition. Each two-hour session is facilitated by two Registered Dietitians (RDs) and two interns, and held in teaching kitchens at local secondary schools after NOSM classes.

The sessions engage and inform NOSM students on crucial topics such as diet fads, weight stigma and the science of nutrition. The holistic approach helps students understand how to evaluate dietary patterns, how to compare and contrast weight-focused vs weight-neutral approaches to nutritional needs and how food can help prevent chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In addition to the nutritional aspect of the program, the sessions enlightened students on different socio-economic situations in Northern communities that can effect nutrition, such as the rising cost of food in isolated areas.

The pilot program fills the need for more nutrition competence and confidence in medical school graduates as well as the increased role of physicians in nutrition care. Family physicians trained in culinary medicine will enable access to dietary assistance for patients in rural and remote areas who won’t have access to trained dietitians. CMLs are essential to ensuring that physicians learn the preventative side of medicine in addition to the pharmaceutical side that they currently learn in the MD curriculum.

Lee Rysdale recommends a gift to the Culinary Medicine Labs: “Culinary medicine blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine and provides physicians with another tool to support their patient’s lifestyle, medical decisions and chronic disease prevention and treatment.  The interactive learning labs give the students a chance to learn the value of a healthy diet and the effect diet has on overall health.”