Leadership and Faculty of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
Milette Siler, RD, LD, CCMS
Milette Siler has been involved with Culinary Medicine since 2014, when a collaboration between Moncrief Cancer Institute, UT Southwestern and Texas Christian University first brought the program to North Texas.
Her career is focused upon advancing Culinary Medicine in both a professional, student, and community setting. In the professional student arena, Milette serves as lead dietetic instructor for UT Southwestern’s medical school, bringing enhanced nutrition education to medical students, residents, and other health professionals.
She also enjoys her continued partnership with Texas Christian University, working as an adjunct preceptor collaborating with dietetic interns to bring nutrition education to students at UNT Health Science Center.
In the community setting, Milette teaches hands-on cooking classes for cancer survivor patients served at Moncrief Cancer Institute. Additionally, she networks with local food pantries and other organizations to bring Culinary Medicine to underserved populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Keith Argenbright, MD
Keith Argenbright, MD, is a Professor in the UT Southwestern Medical Center Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, and serves as the Chief of Community Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Sciences.
Dr. Argenbright also serves as Director of Moncrief Cancer Institute, a non-profit, community-based cancer prevention and support center, providing services spanning the cancer continuum of care, including public education and outreach, cancer prevention and early detection, behavioral and nutritional counseling, genetic testing and counseling, survivorship services and population research. Since the inception of its initial prevention program in 2010, Moncrief Cancer Institute has been the recipient of $60 million in local, state and federal awards.
Drawing on his academic, business, and political skills, Dr. Argenbright formed community coalitions and alliances to bring cancer prevention and early detection clinical services, and population science research to the more rural areas of North Texas. The result is a network of breast, lung, cervical and colorectal cancer screening collaborators that provide services to rural and medically underserved residents. Under his supervision, genetic screening services were expanded to include remote and underserved areas, closing the critical disparity in adherence to medical management guidelines.
As part of his role at UT Southwestern, Dr. Argenbright teaches a course on management principles and developing leadership skills for clinical/translational researchers. Applying his nearly 30 years of mentoring experience, he launched an extremely successful case-based mentor training program for mid-career faculty.
In 2014, Dr. Argenbright earned the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Considered the top teaching prize in the UT system, it is one of the largest teaching award programs in the country.
Dr. Argenbright is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed a family practice residency at John Peter Smith Hospital and a Master of Medical Management at Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Argenbright is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Tarrant County Medical Society, and the Texas Medical Association. He has been honored with the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
Culinary Medicine Programming at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
The Culinary Medicine Program for Dietetics Students in Conjunction with Texas Christian University (TCU)
Approximately 75% of the TCU dietetics students rotate through the kitchen at the institute. They help lead the programming for the community but also in conjunction with the University of North Texas School of Medicine medical student classes.
Culinary Medicine Programming for Residents at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
No activity at this time.
Culinary Medicine Programming for Fellowships at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
No activity at this time.
Culinary Medicine Programming for Community Members at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
1. Two to three times throughout the year the Institute offers oncology patients using the 6-module Health meets Food Adult Community Courseware. They focus especially on the Mediterranean diet score with the 15 to 18 participants in each series but have taught in cohorts as large as 20 to 28 patients and family members. Patient handouts are a key feature and used throughout the series.
Classes are offered in the evening from 5:30 to 7:30 (afternoons in Spring from 1:00 to 3:00).
2. A number of one-off courses are scheduled throughout the year – 5 to 10 per year – mostly focused on oncology topics.
Research and Publications of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
Philips A, Sparks M, Gonzalez C, Siler M, Bowen M, Pruitt S, and Albin J. Collaborative Solutions to Food Insecurity: Engaging Medical Students in Community Nutrition Education at Food Distribution Sites in Dallas, TX. Presented locally at the 8th annual Dallas Hunger Summit September 2019.
Marshall H, Pruitt S, Bowen M, Siler M, and Albin J. Food as Medicine: A Pilot Nutrition Curriculum for Children of Participants in a Community-Based Culinary Medicine Class. Presented at mealth Meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference June 2018 in New Orleans, LA.
Liang Y, Cheng L, Siler M, and Albin J. Culinary Medicine Elective: Why and How to Launch Nutrition Curriculum for Medical Students. Presented at Health meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference June 2018 in New Orleans, LA.
Media Coverage of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
Siler M. Culinary Medicine: Starting the Conversation. Southwestern Medical Foundation Culinary Medicine Series April 2019.swmedical.org/culinary-medicine-starting-the-conversation/
The Medium: Turning the kitchen into a classroom. 1/11/2018 medium.com/now-and-next/turning-the-kitchen-into-a-classroom-ee34cbd454aa
Successes of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
The multipurpose teaching kitchen at the Moncrief Cancer Institute has a demonstration kitchen as well as a large multipurpose space that allows for hands-on cooking classes. The funding for the kitchen is part of the mission of the Institute along with the ability to offer additional programming from small donations and grants.
Funding of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
The launch of Culinary Medicine at Moncrief Cancer Institute and UTSW was possible due to a gift from the Moncrief family of Fort Worth, Texas. After launching the first classes at Moncrief for community members, our experienced lead RD instructor, Milette Siler, partnered with Dr. Albin to co-teach the medical student elective and then subsequent programming. Moncrief Cancer Institute continues to support food and RD time costs for the medical student courses.
All GME and internal team-building courses are offered at a low cost rate to offset the cost of food, RD time, and kitchen use.
In 2019, UTSW began to offer continuing education courses in culinary medicine to educate internal and external healthcare professionals and provide a source of funding support for student and community classes.
In addition to the above sources, the culinary medicine team continually builds relationships with potential philanthropic donors and applies to numerous small and large grant opportunities.
Challenges of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern – Moncrief Cancer Institute
All culinary medicine programs face similar challenges. Sustainable funding, faculty time support, dedicated kitchen space, and recognition as an evidence-based field are just a few of the challenges we’ve navigated. Interdisciplinary collaboration, persistence, engagement of dedicated students and other learners, and pursuing research are all helpful strategies to enable continued implementation of this life-changing programming.