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Food As Medicine: Students’ Pilot Course Gets Peers Cooking

December 11, 2023 by Janet Essman Franz

This semester, 28 first-year Larner College of Medicine students are learning about culinary medicine, which pairs nutritional science with preventative health care. Medical class of 2026 students Sarah Krumholz and Molly Hurd developed an extracurricular course that teaches classmates about lifestyle interventions for chronic disease.

In the Larner classroom, medical students working together to prepare a meal with nutritious, low-cost ingredients and simple tools include (left to right): Oliver Koch, Isaac Sellinger, Raihan Kabir, and Kyra Weaver.

Ginger, garlic, and curry aromas waft through the first-floor hallway in the medical education center, where sounds of light conversation blend with scraping, clinking, and chopping. Inside the Larner Classroom, medical students peel carrots, dice onions, and de-stem kale.

This is not a potluck social, it’s an academic class.

This semester, 28 first-year medical students are learning about culinary medicine, which pairs nutritional science with preventative health care. This evening’s session is one of five in a semester-long extracurricular program, developed by medical class of 2026 students Sarah Krumholz and Molly Hurd, that teaches about lifestyle interventions for chronic disease.

“Many primary care physicians [in the U.S.] don’t have skills to talk to their patients about nutrition or how to have an impact on patients’ diets,” Hurd said. “My goal for this class is to help students feel more comfortable talking about food and diet with patients.”

Tonight, as the students learn about the role of vegetables and fruits in preventing disease, they prepare and eat their dinner. On the menu: Golden lentil soup, sweet potato stuffed with black beans and kale, and cancer prevention.

View photos and read more about the pilot Culinary Medicine course at the Larner College of Medicine.

close up of several peoples' hands passing paper bowls and plates filled with cut up sweet potatoes, kale, black beans and hummus

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