Nicholls, LSU Health New Orleans Partner to Offer Culinary Medicine Course

LSU Health New Orleans students Kelsey Lacourrege, Kelsey Cramer and Mackenzie Fredricks prepare a tabbouleh salad as part of a culinary medicine course being held at Nicholls State University. (Cain Madden/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University is proud to announce a partnership with the LSU Health New Orleans to offer a two-week course in culinary medicine beginning this summer. 

Nine third-year LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine students are studying the effects that nutrition can have on preventing and treating chronic diseases, as well as learn the necessary culinary skills and recipes to promote good nutrition. The program began July 1. 

Defined by the founder of ChefMD and Chef Clinic, Dr. John La Puma, culinary medicine is an evidence-based field blending the art of cooking with the science of nutrition. Culinary medicine encourages physicians to learn more about food and work with nutrition professionals to prevent and treat their patients’ illnesses. 

“The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education is excited to offer this career planning elective to the Class of 2021. While students are taught the science of nutrition during their first and second years of medical school, the Culinary Medicine CPE gives them the opportunity to translate this into practical knowledge,” said Dr. Catherine Hebert, associate professor of clinical medicine and co-director of clinical sciences curriculum at LSU Health New Orleans. “It is not just about telling a patient to cut out salt and fat. It is about teaching them how to do this in a way that is realistic given the time and money constraints that we all face.”

Students will begin the day in the classroom, learning nutrition theory through lectures, case studies and simulations covering ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity. 

They’ll also take field trips to Rouses with a Registered Dietitian, tour the kitchen at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and test their new nutritional knowledge at local restaurants. 

In the afternoon, students will move to the kitchens to learn basic culinary skills and relevant recipes from chefs and culinary professionals.

“We have selected recipes and dishes that are appropriate to the nutrition content being taught in the morning,” Culinary Department Head Chef John Kozar said. “Let’s say they learn about diabetes in the morning, we will work on dishes appropriate for a diabetic patient in the afternoon.” 

Eating patterns and specific foods have shown effectiveness in treating some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and acute cough, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.  

“This is an exciting opportunity for both Dietetics and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to have an even bigger impact on the community,” said Dr. Brigett Scott, associate dean of the College of Science and Technology and associate professor of dietetics. “What people eat has one of the biggest impacts on their health. Ultimately, the goal is that these future doctors will practice in Louisiana and promote the nutrition and culinary skills they learned to make an impact on the health of our community.”

The School of Medicine is one of the six schools of LSU Health New Orleans. It educates the majority of Louisiana’s physicians. LSU Health New Orleans medical faculty and residents take care of patients in most major hospitals and clinics in southern Louisiana. Its research enterprise produces life-changing discoveries, as well as jobs and economic impact. Outreach and service activities support people of all ages in communities in many Louisiana parishes.


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