Culinary Medicine debuts as a new elective for medical students at University Medical Center Göttingen Germany
In cooperation with CookUOS e.V., the Institute for Nutrition and Psychology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, University Medical Center, has developed a new evidence-based „Culinary Medicine“ elective for medical students in Germany and piloted it for the first time in the winter semester 2020/21. Culinary Medicine combines medicine, psychology, food and nutrition science with practical culinary skills. Data from the USA show that this innovative teaching kitchen format leads to an improvement in counseling competencies for lifestyle related diseases such as obesity and diabetes type 2. This is of considerable importance for medical practice.
The Institute for Nutrition and Psychology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, University Medical Center, in cooperation with CookUOS e.V., has developed a new evidence-based „Culinary Medicine“ elective for medical students. In the winter semester 2020/21 this innovative teaching kitchen format was piloted for the first time for medical students at Göttingen University Medical Center in full compliance with local Covid-19 rules. Culinary Medicine combines medicine, psychology, food and nutrition science, with practical culinary skills. The teaching format is kitchen-based nutrition education for medical trainees.
In the USA, over 60 universities already offer Culinary Medicine electives for medical students. Current data show that this teaching format leads to an improvement in lifestyle medicine counseling competencies among medical trainees. This is of considerable importance for medical practice, as the prevalence of lifestyle related diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes type) and other nutrition related diseases is rapidly increasing in Germany and globally. Thus, there is an increasing need for adequate medical counseling (joint press release of the German Academy of Nutritional Medicine (DAEM), the German Society of Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) and the Association of German Physicians for Nutritional Medicine (BDEM) 2019 (link below).
For this reason, scientists from the Institute of Nutrition and Psychology and CookUOS e.V. visited Dr. John LaPuma from the Chef Clinic in Santa Barbara and Dr. Wendy Slusser from the Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to learn from their experiences in teaching Culinary Medicine and to start an international collaboration. Afterwards they developed a new country-specific elective in Culinary Medicine for medical students in Germany.
Medical students in the clinical part of their studies learn in 7 4-hour modules the theoretical basics of clinical nutrition based on the German scientific consensus paper “Manual of Nutritional Therapy in Patient Care” (LEKuP)“ published in 2019 (links below). Disease-related nutrition recommendations were translated into recipes and dishes that are prepared by the students in the teaching kitchen. Medical trainees also learn how to motivate their patients to live a healthier life (salutogenesis) on the basis of natural foods, practical cooking skills and appealing recipes. In addition, medical trainees learn about the principles of sustainable cooking and eating. The concept combines personal health and planetary health as suggested by the Planetary Health Diet of the EAT Lancet Commission (2019).
“Culinary Medicine represents a new method of translating the findings of food and nutrition science and medicine into the everyday living world of patients without sacrificing pleasure of life and thus optimizing the success of patient counseling,“ says PD Dr. med. Thomas Ellrott, scientific director of the project. US-American studies show that doctors trained in Culinary Medicine advise their patients on diet and nutrition topics better and more often than they did before. The cooperation of physicians and registered dietitians in the therapy of nutrition related diseases will also improve (collaborative healthcare). This setting within a continuous educational process will thereby strengthen and ensure a quality and evidence driven interprofessional process.
The new Culinary Medicine curriculum was already presented at the virtual congress of the Association for Nutrition and Dietetics (VFED) in September 2020 with lectures on the concept and a live demonstration of one of the cooking modules. The overall scientific management and responsibility for the model project lies with the head of the Institute for Nutrition and Psychology at the Georg August University of Göttingen, PD Dr. med. Thomas Ellrott, and the chairman of the board of the non-profit association CookUOS e.V., Uwe Neumann, sustainability pedagogue and health scientist. Since 2010, CookUOS has been designing and successfully implementing practical nutrition education into teaching kitchens in the context of health, nutrition and sustainability education (Health Literacy, Food Literacy, Nutrition Literacy and Sustainable Healthy Campus Projects) for student teachers at the Institute for Health Research and Education at the University of Osnabrück under the guiding concept „Kitchen – Cooking – Competence“ (link below).
The Institute of Nutrition and Psychology and CookUOS e.V. were supported during the conception of the German elective in Culinary Medicine by the Dr. Rainer Wild Foundation for Healthy Nutrition led by Dr. Silke Lichtenstein. The development, piloting, evaluation and documentation are supported by the Rut and Klaus-Bahlsen-Foundation. After the successful pilot phase in the winter semester 2020/21 at Göttingen University Medical School, a multi-center evaluation is planned at several German university hospitals/medical schools from the summer semester 2021 onwards. Furthermore, international collaboration will be developed and expanded.
PD Dr. med. Thomas Ellrott
Director of the Institute for Nutrition and Psychology at Georg-August University of Göttingen, University Medical Center
D-37073 Göttingen (Germany)
Tel.: +49 551 39-67501
Sustainability Pedagogue and Health Scientist
Chair of Board CookUOS e. V.
Zur Quelle 2a
D-48341 Altenberge (Germany)
Telefon +49 541 347513-10
http://www.dgem.de/pressemitteilungs-archiv-022019 PR DAEM, DGEM and BDEM about the increasing need for adequate therapy
http://www.dgem.de/pressemitteilungs-archiv-122019 PR Manual of Nutritional Therapy in Patient Care (LEKuP)
http://doi.org/10.1055/a-1030-5207 Hauner H. et al.: Manual of Nutritional Therapy in Patient Care (LEKuP)
http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63007-6_50 Neumann U.: Cooking Courses in Higher Education: A Method to Foster Education for Sustainable Development..