Why some medical schools are encouraging students to enroll in culinary courses

To address the growing awareness of the role nutrition may play in an individual's overall health, some medical schools have begun encouraging students to enroll in elective courses in culinary medicine, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Here are four things to know about culinary medicine.

1. Culinary medicine courses are typically taught by a faculty team comprising a physician, a chef and a dietician, and allow students to gain hands-on cooking experience to understand how to create and prepare meals consistent with the dietary restrictions of people with chronic health conditions, according to the report.

2. The courses may also include field trips to "food deserts," or neighborhoods where grocery stores are scarce, so students can obtain a better understanding of the challenges patients who live in such areas face on a daily basis.

3. Karl Guggenmos, a dean emeritus at Providence, R.I.-based Johnson & Wales University who helped establish a partnership between the university's culinary school and New Orleans-based Tulane University School of Medicine, told U.S. News, "Patients are asking their healthcare professionals more questions about foods and diet than ever before and the fact is that medical and dental students haven't had much training on it. Culinary medicine is a practical discipline and is concerned about the patient's immediate needs."

4. Other experts suggest enrolling in culinary courses during medical school will also help students understand the prevalence of diet-related illnesses and the importance of mitigating the risk of disease through patients' dietary habits, among other benefits.

To access the full U.S. News report, click here.

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