Using a culinary health curriculum to teach teamwork skills: A new interprofessional education experience for medical, nursing and physician assistant students
Musick, David W.
Trinkle, David B.
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As health professions education increasingly focuses on community engagement, population health and prevention of health disparities, there has been a corresponding expansion of teaching on culinary medicine. Clinical nutrition is critically important in addressing many of the most vexing clinical problems in medicine and population health. Culinary medicine also offers a new method to enhance interprofessional education (IPE) by providing students with additional opportunities to learn with, about and from each other (as recommended by the World Health Organization). We revised our existing IPE curriculum to deliver new content on culinary medicine as part of an existing twelve-month IPE course. Students from three different health professions education programs (medicine, nursing, physician assistant) completed two curricular tracks: a traditional roles and scopes of practice track and a new culinary medicine track. The new culinary medicine track involved students working in interdisciplinary teams with professional chefs from a local culinary arts school to cook and serve a meal to designated patient populations. Students were assessed in a variety of ways including attendance and participation, a twenty-item quiz (roles and scopes track), required reflective essays and completion of all assignments. The curriculum was evaluated based on student and faculty feedback. The implementation of the new culinary medicine program in an interprofessional format was well-received by students. Implications for future efforts along these lines are as follows: 1) similar programs may be scalable and easily accomplished; and 2) imbedding culinary medicine experiences within an existing IPE curricular framework may provide an opportunity to reinforce competencies related to teamwork and leadership while simultaneously increasing students’ knowledge of clinical nutrition.