Culinary Medicine

LOCATION:  Animal and Veterinary Farm, Lab Room 7, Stewartstown Road, Morgantown, WV 26506
PRECEPTOR:  Melissa Olfert, DrPH, MS, RDN, LDN  
DURATION: 2 weeks minimum
OFFERED: Blocks 8 & 9
STATUS: Elective


The purpose of this course is to allow applied, hands-on experience in preparing healthy meals for medical students and provide them with the knowledge and tools to incorporate this into their patient interactions and medical advising.  How to navigate the grocery store and locate healthy meal components, utilize kitchen tools, incorporate alternative ingredients into meals, and discuss behavior change strategies regarding diet with patients will be assimilated into individual preparations of healthy meals to allow students to incorporate healthy behaviors into both their personal life and medical practice.


  1. Improve the student’s ability to discuss diet with patients and offer advice regarding healthy food choices and preparation of meals.
  2. Develop lifestyle knowledge on how to improve diets to prevent the development and progression of obesity and chronic diseases.
  3. Students will learn how to use kitchen tools and equipment, locate healthy food choices in grocery stores, select and maintain food, and incorporate alternative ingredients.
  4. Provide students with the knowledge to make meal recommendations that ensure the patients’ success in following the new diet, extending the scope of their conversation with patients to incorporate diet.
  5. Students will learn culinary skills to prepare healthy meals, with the goal of modeling this behavior into their own lives.
  6. Students will learn the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior and how this can be incorporated into nutritional counseling with patients.

Methods to Achieve Objectives

Classes will be 90 minutes each, consisting of lecture (60 minutes) and discussion (30 minutes).  Lecture will involve a topic followed by each student individually preparing a meal to reinforce the lecture content.  Lecture topics include utilizing kitchen tools and equipment, food selection and safety, using healthy, alternative ingredients, and discussing diet/applying the Transtheoretical model to patient behavior change strategies.  The discussions will involve eating the meal together and discussing how these topics relate to nutritional biochemistry and physiology courses and prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.

Examination Procedures and Evaluation Criteria

Students will be required to complete one public-outreach experience in which the student will teach a community member how to prepare a meal.  Students will write about this experience in their blog, detailing the discussion they had with the patient, how they offered advice, and difficulties they encountered with teaching the patient how to prepare the meal.

Pre-Rotation Instructions

Contact Ms. Kathryn Baker two weeks prior to the rotation start date.