Medical schools nationwide increasingly are sending students out of the laboratories and into the kitchen – and for good reason. A recent study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, ranked the food we eat as the top factor in disease and premature death. Yet, until now, nutrition has been largely neglected in medical education.
“I did a four-year, extra-intensive training program in cardiology and didn’t receive one minute of training in nutrition,” Dr. Stephen Devries recently told reporters with NPR’s The Salt. “That’s got to stop.”
In fact, only about a quarter of American medical schools offer the 25 hours of nutrition training recommended but not required by the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Devries and others believe the lack of nutritional training does a disservice to young physicians and their future patients. To help bring about a change, Dr. Devries left his cardiology practice to lead Deerfield, Illinois’ Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology, aimed at expanding nutrition training in medicine.
Dr. Devries is just one of a growing number of medical experts who believe that nutritional training and the ability to disburse health-centered dietary advice are critical for physicians and their patients. And where better to start that training than in the kitchen? That’s why a number of medical schools including Tulane University in New Orleans and the University of Chicago now offer or require culinary medical training, wherein students trade in their stethoscopes for spatulas, cooking up healthy dishes and learning just how particular foods and nutrients can benefit patients with various medical conditions.
Ultimately, Dr. Devries and other nutrition advocates aim to have nutrition questions added to medical board exams, change accreditation standards to include increased nutritional training and tie medical training grants to nutritional education.
We here at WOLFPACC applaud these institutions for taking unique approaches to improving medical education. It’s what we specialize in, too – Integrating the basic sciences with clinical applications to revolutionize the way students approach their studies and the practice of medicine. If you’re considering a medical career, call 904-209-3140 to find out how the WOLFPACC approach can help you best prepare and succeed.
Check out this NBC News report on Tulane University’s culinary medical program.