Cooking Class Included in Medical School Curriculum

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  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Second-year medical students at Baylor College of Medicine are taking a break from their white coats to don white aprons as a part of a cooking class elective.

    Inspired by a New York Times article about the importance of medical students and physicians knowing how to make healthy eating choices and passing this knowledge on to their patients, Baylor medical students Jasdeep Mangat and Amy Cobb established the CHEF – Choosing Healthy, Eating Fresh – organization.

    The first goal of the organization was to promote healthy eating and living among second-year medical students.

    "Because second-year medical students at Baylor are about to enter their clinical training, it’s important for them to know about self care. This will also help them when they are counseling patients," said Mangat.

    During his trips to the Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Mangat met the executive chef of Ruggles Green restaurant, German Mosquera, who does cooking demonstrations at the market. Mosquera agreed to teach a cooking class once a month at Baylor for students.

    Each month, the student lounge at Baylor is transformed into a kitchen. Tables are piled high with vegetables, spices, pots, pans and even portable gas stoves, purchased with a grant from the local chapter of the American Medical Association.

    Each class begins with a lesson from a Baylor faculty member, with topics ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes.

    Mosquera teaches students recipes specific to the topic the faculty member addresses on that day, and uses as many organic, plant-based ingredients as possible.

    "There is a true nutrition aspect behind each recipe and everyone can get what they want out of the class," said Mosquera.

    Mary Brandt, M.D., associate dean of student affairs, said learning to cook is "an important skill to have during the stressful time of residency and beyond."

    In addition, familiarity with healthy cooking makes it much easier to counsel patients on nutrition and healthy eating, Brandt said.

    "If you don’t eat well yourself, it’s hard to convince a patient to do otherwise."

    The organization’s next goal is to establish farmers markets at Harris County Hospital District clinics around the city to provide patients with access to fresh, healthy foods.

    "In the Houston area, we have something called food deserts, where there is no access to grocery stores for people to get fresh foods, so we want to bring the food to our patients," said Mangat. "We also hope that health care professionals in the clinics can set an example by purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from the markets."

    [Broken External Image]:
    WHAT’S COOKING?—German Mosquera, executive chef of Ruggles Green restaurant, shares healthy cooking tips with second-year medical students at Baylor College of Medicine. (Photo by Agapito Sanchez)


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