Culinary medicine (CM) considers the missing implementation link between dietary choices and health outcomes. Principles address gaps in care by changing conversations regarding weight, diet, and exercise to help people understand and incorporate realistic changes into daily life. Medical providers demonstrate weight bias, negatively impacting quality of care and patient outcomes, to varying degrees. Bias contributes to underutilization of education for healthy eating concepts by defaulting to weight-based conversations. CM principles emphasize quality food choices, their preparation, and mindfulness for urge/purpose for eating rather than weight-based metrics and explores the role of income/food cost, food availability, culture, education, religion, and morality on dietary choices.
132 students from medical, pharmacy, health professions, public health, and nursing programs participated in a 3.5-hr IPE simulation consisting of orientation (CM, Mediterranean/plant-based diet, mindfulness, basic kitchen skills/safety), an immersive cooking activity with case-based patient application, and debriefing discussion. Pre-/post-questionnaires assessed basic knowledge and student perceptions of interprofessional collaboration using the Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS). Pre-/post- all ICCAS metrics increased, and knowledge mean scores increased average 25%. A 5-pt Likert scale evaluated learning objectives, immersive cooking experience, and simulated case. Mean scores (4.4-4.8) indicated students agreed this was an effective learning experience. Qualitative themes (count) were: Valuable/enjoyable experience (52), Collaboration/Teamwork (39), Better understanding CM/Mediterranean Diet (34), Cooking skills/hands on (26), Comparing nutrition facts across recipes (23), Application-patient (17), Supportive environment/facilitators (9), Application-personal (7), Suggested improvements (7), and Communication (6).
IPE CM simulation positively impacts students’ attitudes and perceptions regarding: personal dietary practice and culinary skills, dietary habits of overweight patients, interprofessional collaboration to provide healthy eating education to patients, and importance of changing provider-patient care conversations from weight-based focus to healthy eating and activity. Following completion of the simulation, students are now implementing cooking demos and education in a variety of community settings.