Culinary Medicine at Georgia State University


Leadership and Faculty

Jessica Todd, MS, RD, LD

Coordinated Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor
lewis.gsu.edu/profile/jessica-d-johnson-m-s-r-d-l-d/

Jessica Todd, MS, RD, LD is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and is a registered and licensed dietitian with over a decade of clinical experience. Jessica is currently owner of Perfectly Portioned Nutrition, a local healthy meal-prep company, and Clinical Associate Professor and the Coordinated Program Director in the Department of Nutrition at Georgia State University. Under Jessica’s leadership, the Coordinated Program maintains a 98% pass rate for the National Examination for the Registered Dietitian and was awarded the Noteworthy Practice Award by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2016. Jessica is proficient in menu development and analysis, individual and group counseling, program development and implementation, as well as education.

Jessica is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (GAND) and the Greater Atlanta Dietetic Association (GADA).

In 2019 Jessica started the Culinary Medicine and Wellness programming at Georgia State University as a means to fill a gap within the curriculum offered to nutrition students and undergraduate students at large. She is excited to serve as curriculum committee member to The Culinary Medicine Specialist Board starting January 2021.

Prevent prescriptions, eat for wellness is at the heart of Jessica’s philosophy on nutrition. As a mother, entrepreneur, avid cook and educator, Jessica recognizes that food is an integral part of our lives.


Culinary Medicine Programming

Dietetic Student Programming

Culinary Medicine in Clinical Practice is required for all non-Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Coordinated Program (CP) students but available as an elective to DPD-verified students who have taken Food Science. Twenty-two CP students matriculate into the program each year.

As of August 2021, Georgia State University (GSU) will begin admittance for a part-time CP to allow more students to fulfill their dreams of becoming a Registered Dietitian without the constraints of going to school and completing an internship full-time. This separate track is accredited for 20 additional students. Those without the DPD-verification statement will be required to take the Culinary Medicine in Clinical Practice course.

Emory Hospital and Southern Regional Hospital Internships partner with GSU to provide skill development sessions to future dietitians each fall and spring. Each Spring approximately 42 students complete a module from the Health Meets Food curriculum.

The Culinary Medicine Programming offers graduate students the opportunity for leadership through Graduate Teaching Assistantships and laboratory assistantships. There is a lab fee associated with the course that covers the cost of food, supplies and the lab assistant fees. The Graduate Teaching Assistant is paid by the Department of Nutrition and  is responsible for leading the undergraduate non-nutrition major courses under the supervision of Jessica Todd.

The graduate section of the course is offered every spring.

Undergraduate Programming

Culinary Medicine and Wellness is required for students in our new Nutrition and Wellness track and is offered as an elective to students in our Nutrition Science track. These programs are growing rapidly with over 60 students currently enrolled. The Culinary Medicine and Wellness course is also offered to any undergraduate student attending the Atlanta campus. There are over 20,000 undergraduate students enrolled at GSU’s Atlanta campus.

Two sections of this course are currently offered in the Fall and Spring each year.

Residency Programming

No programming at this time.

Fellowship Programming

No programming at this time.

Community Programming

GSU does not offer courses to the community at this time. However, our CP students work within Grady Memorial Hospital’s teaching kitchen and have found the course to be beneficial to their success in the rotation.


Successes

In summary, students find the Culinary Medicine course to be a valuable part of their didactic education. Students appreciate having the opportunity to learn how to prepare recipes that meet the guidelines of various diets that they may eventually prescribe. The combination of hands-on cooking and didactic sessions allow students to deepen their own fundamental understanding of food and nutrition while providing a creative opportunity for the development of practical skills.


Challenges

COVID has been our greatest challenge thus far. As a new licensee, we were forced to cancel our summer course and our fall courses were restricted to 10 students in the lab at any given time for social distancing purposes. Our ability to market the course is a barrier due to students remaining virtual.

Research and Publications

None at this time.


Funding

The Culinary Medicine Courses were established from a University Tech Fee grant obtained in 2019.


Media Coverage

Jessica participated in a panel discussion webinar for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics titled, Food as Medicine, Collaboration to Reduce Food Insecurity, September, 2020.