The Culinary Medicine Program at Texas Christian University
Leadership and Faculty
Anne VanBeber, PhD, RD, LD, FAND, CCMS
Department Chair and Professor
Nutritional Science Faculty Member
Texas Christian University
Dr. Anne VanBeber, a Nutritional Sciences faculty member since 1992 and leader of the Culinary Medicine Program at Texas Christian University (TCU), has served as department chair since 1998. She received a BS from Texas Tech University and earned the MS and PhD from Texas Woman’s University. A Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Dr. VanBeber was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2015. Current TCU teaching responsibilities include Food Preparation, Meal Management, Gourmet Foods, Food and Culture, and Veganism and Sustainability. Dr. VanBeber was named an Outstanding Dietetics Educator by the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2001 and was honored by TCU with the Dean’s Teaching Award for significant and meritorious achievement in teaching in 2009.
Dr. VanBeber was instrumental in bringing the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine program to Fort Worth in 2014 where she has subsequently enhanced the nutrition training of medical and allied health students from the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) for the past five years. An accomplished author, Dr. VanBeber has published over 30 refereed articles in professional journals, 13 articles in professional newsletters/magazines, and five chapters in reference books. She has conducted numerous presentations at state and national professional meetings and enjoys presenting food and nutrition-related programs to community and public organizations. Dr. VanBeber is a sought-after nutrition expert who has been quoted in Today’s Dietitian, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, Yoga Journal, Arthritis Today, Family Circle, Woman’s Health, Fitness, Oxygen, Looking Good Now, She Knows Low Carb, and Fort Worth Texas magazines as well as in other electronic and print media.
Jada Willis, PhD, RDN, LD
Nutritional Science Faculty Member, Texas Christian University
Dr. Jada L. Willis has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Christian University since 2015 where her current teaching responsibilities include Communication and Education for Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics; Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle; Research Methods in Nutrition; Supervised Practice in Research; and Honors Seminar. She received her BS in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University and earned a MS and PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Texas Tech University, where she also completed a dietetic internship. Dr. Willis is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Licensed Dietitian who has worked as a clinical dietitian for a number of facilities.
Dr. Willis is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Education at the TCU/UNTHSC School of Medicine. She is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Center for Geriatrics at UNTHSC. Dr. Willis currently serves the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on the Nominating Committee, and for five years she was the legislative chair for the Lubbock Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also on the Finance Committee for The Obesity Society and a member of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry. In 2013, Dr. Willis was honored as a Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year by the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Kelly Fisher, DCN, RD, CSP, LD
Assistant Professor of Professional Practice
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Texas Christian University
Dr. Kelly Fisher joined the Department of Nutritional Sciences at TCU in 2015. She completed her undergraduate studies at TCU, where she graduated with a BS in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics in 2006. Dr. Fisher has a MS in Nutrition from the University of Nebraska and received her Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) from Rutgers University, School of Health Professions in January 2020. She holds board certification as a specialist in pediatric nutrition (CSP) and is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She completed the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center (UNTHSC) Interprofessional Education & Practice (IPE) Faculty Development Series in 2019, and serves as a Faculty Facilitator for IPE events.
Dr. Fisher serves as the Coordinator for Supervised Practice Experiences for the TCU Coordinated Program in Dietetics. A specialist in pediatric nutrition and gastrointestinal diseases/disordes, her previous work experience includes clinical nutrition (both adult and pediatric), community nutrition in the Women, Infant and Child (WIC) Program and the Extended Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and outpatient and long-term care settings. Dr. Fisher has published four refereed articles in professional journals and three articles in professional newsletters/magazines. In 2017, Dr. Fisher was a recipient of a Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Doctoral Scholarship, the Rutgers School of Health Professions (SHP) Nutrition Scholarship, and the Rutgers University Champions Endowed Scholarship.
Lyn Dart, PhD, RD, LD
Food Management Program Director
Dr. Lyn Dart, a faculty member in the TCU Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Christian University since 2001, is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Dart received a BS in Clinical Dietetics through the Coordinated Program at Texas Woman’s University. She also holds a MS and PhD from Texas Woman’s University in Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Dart has additional professional work experience with prior practice as a nutrition and dietetics consultant in community research and nutrition education, business management, clinical dietetics, and private practice.
Dr. Dart has teamed up with colleagues in developing interprofessional initiatives at TCU and neighboring academic institutions. She is an active member of the Interprofessional Research, Education and Practice Council (IPREP) at TCU and the University of North Texas Health Science Center Interprofessional Education and Practice Curriculum Committee. She was also instrumental in co-developing the interprofessional culinary medicine program involving TCU dietetics students and health professions students from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Culinary Medicine elective course adapted from the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine enhances medical and health professions students’ knowledge of nutrition and management of diet-related chronic disease through innovative curriculum and hands-on training in the culinary arts.
Culinary Medicine Programming
An Inter-professional Culinary Medicine Education initiative between the TCU Department of Nutritional Sciences and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), in collaboration with University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth, began in 2013. The Health meets Food curriculum has been offered to first year medical and physician assistant students from UNTHSC during the Spring semester, with almost 200 medical and allied health students completing the course thus far.
This elective program has been led by Drs. Dart and VanBeber in a teaching kitchen at TCU that can accommodate up to 30 students per course. Dr. Fisher will take over for Dr. Dart in Spring 2020. Dietetics students (senior year) from the TCU Coordinated Program in Dietetics work as culinary nutrition educators to foster an interprofessional education collaborative for students in the medical, allied health, and dietetics fields. Under the supervision of the TCU faculty, pre-course responsibilities of the senior dietetics students include writing lesson plans and handouts, creating production schedules, grocery shopping, and organizing cooking labs.
The course includes six hands-on culinary workshops conducted over six-weeks on Wednesdays from 4:30-7:30 pm. The following Health meets Food modules are currently offered:
Module 1 – Safety and Sanitation; Introduction to Culinary Medicine
Module 3 – Fats, Lunch/Sandwiches
Module 6 – Sodium Reduction/Flavor Building, Renal Homeostasis, Dinner
Module 7 – Carbohydrates, Snacks/Desserts
Module 10 – Cancer Risk Reduction and Recovery
Module 16 – Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Course expectations for the medical/physician assistant students include the completion each week of pre-workshop online PowerPoint readings, journal article readings, and a quiz. Three medical/physician assistant students are paired with one dietetics student in the culinary workshop. Students are welcomed to the workshop each week by TCU Nutritional Sciences faculty, who give a short briefing on the topic and summarize learning points from the module. Brief instructions are given, and then time is provided for each group of medical/ physician assistant/dietetics students to discuss their assigned recipes, delineate tasks, and highlight the nutritional attributes and sensory qualities before moving into the kitchens to prepare their recipes.
Kitchen safety, sanitation of food, knife skills, mis en place, time management, teamwork, sensory quality of foods, enjoyment of eating, and nutrition presentation in front of a live audience are hallmarks of the program as students gain culinary confidence over the six week course. Each group of medical/physician students presents their plate of food to the entire class while highlighting nutrition and sensory qualities of the dish. They are briefed regarding specific and individual information about their recipes by their dietetics student team leader.
Following the presentation of the completed recipes, students engage in an enjoyable seated eating experience to sample the foods. Mindful eating is discussed during this time. While eating, students are led in discussion by a UNTHSC faculty member in reviews of patient cases that incorporate disease pathophysiology and biochemistry with the culinary aspects of the food presented. A registered/licensed dietitian from UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute also provides a brief summary of how culinary medicine expertise can successfully be implemented in medical nutrition therapy to patients in the clinical and community settings.
No programming at this time.
No programming at this time.
In 2015, the TCU Department of Nutritional Sciences launched a Health meets Food culinary medicine community program with the UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute (MCI). The partnership has expanded and now incorporates the teaching of six Health meets Foodmodules to MCI community members and cancer survivors every Fall semester at a teaching kitchen housed at MCI. This culinary medicine “model” is unique as it utilizes TCU junior Coordinated Program in Dietetics students as program planners/facilitators as part of the supervised practice experience.
Under the supervision of the Moncrief RD preceptor Milette Siler and TCU faculty coordinator, the junior dietetics students plan pre-class tasks. These activities include generating lesson plans, scheduling timeline/tasks, developing educational handouts, shopping for food, preparing cooking stations, and assisting with clean-up. During the class sessions, the junior dietetics students facilitate discussion of key points for the weekly session and serve as team leaders/instructors during the culinary hands-on portion of the class. Since 2017, we have delivered six Health meets Food modules to over 120 community members/cancer survivors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Research and Publications
Presentations at Local, State, National, and International Professional Meetings
VanBeber, A. Culinary Medicine: Using Mediterranean Diet principles to promote healthy eating and improved public health outcomes(invited lecture), Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Conference – “From the Ground Up: Connecting Agriculture & Health”, Waco, TX, January 13, 2020.
VanBeber, A. Culinary Medicine: Using Mediterranean Diet principles to promote healthy eating and improved public health outcomes (invited lecture), Dallas Dietetic Alliance Culinary Immersion Workshop, Irving, TX, November 15, 2019.
Adams, A., Tullos, H., VanBeber, A., and L. Dart. A culinary medicine course improves nutrition and dietary competencies of health professions students, Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference & Exposition, Arlington, TX, April 11-13, 2019.
Cowart, S., Seguin, R., VanBeber, A., and Dart, L. Determining level of adherence to the Mediterranean Diet by individuals living in the United States, Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference and Exhibition, Houston, TX, April 11, 2019.
Dart, L., A. VanBeber, J. Stevenson, D. Farmer, K. Argenbright, B. Barkley, M. Siler, D. Monlezun, L. Sarris, and T. Harlan. Culinary Medicine: Interprofessional Nutrition Education Strengthens Collaborative Practice Among Health Professions Students, Collaborations Across Borders Annual Conference, Banff, Canada, October 2017.
Bell, E. Schiesler, N. Sisk, A. VanBeber, L. Dart, J. Stevenson, D. D’Agostino, P. SmithBarbaro, D. Farmer, K. Argenbright, K. Aspegren, D. Monlezun, L. Sarris, T. Harlan. Culinary Medicine and a Multisite Longitudinal Study: Cooking for Health Optimization with Patients (CHOP), Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Health Meets Food Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 2017.
VanBeber, A. An Interprofessional Culinary Medicine Course Improves Clinical Nutrition Proficiency of Health Professions Students (invited lecture), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics House of Delegates Virtual Meeting, April 22, 2017.
VanBeber, A., Dart, L., Stevenson, J. A Culinary Medicine Course Improves Clinical Nutrition Proficiency of Health Professions Students, Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference and Exhibition (invited lecture), Georgetown, TX, March 31, 2017.
VanBeber, A., Dart, L., Stevenson, J., D’Agostino, D., Farmer, D., Argenbright, K., Monlezun, D., Sarris, L., Harlan, T. A Culinary Medicine Course Improves Clinical Nutrition Proficiency of Health Professions Students, Phi Upsilon Omicron Bi-Annual Conclave, Oklahoma City, OK, September 23, 2016.
Bell, N., Schiesler, E., Sisk, N., VanBeber, A., Dart, L. Culinary Medicine and a Multisite Longitudinal Study: Cooking for Health Optimization with Patients (CHOP), Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference & Exposition, Arlington TX, April 28-29, 2016.
VanBeber, A., Culinary Medicine: Integration of Medical Nutrition Principles and Dietary Practices, Food: Science, Medicine, Lifestyle – Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Management (invited lecture), University of Florida Continuing Medical Education, Gainesville, FL, April 16, 2016.
VanBeber, A., Culinary Medicine: Integration of Medical Nutrition Principles and Dietary Practices, Tarrant Area Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spring Seminar (invited lecture), Colleyville, TX, February 12, 2016.
Dart, L., VanBeber, A., D’Agostino, D., Smith-Barbaro, P., Farmer, D., Argenbright, K., Harlan, T. A Culinary Medicine Course for Health Professionals: Recipe for Better Health. Collaborations Across Borders V, Indianapolis, IN, September 29-October 2, 2015.
Dart, L., VanBeber, A., D’Agostino, D., Smith-Barbaro, P., Farmer, D., Argenbright, K., and T. Harlan, A Culinary Medicine Course for Health Professionals: Recipe for Better Health. Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference & Exposition, Houston TX, April 8-10th, 2015.
VanBeber, A., Food as Medicine: Collaborating to transform the health of the nation. Farm to Table International Symposium (invited lecture), New Orleans, LA, August 4, 2014.
Presentations at the TCU College of Science and Engineering Michael and Sally McCracken Student Research Symposium
Adams, A., Tullos, H., VanBeber, A., and L. Dart. A culinary medicine course improves nutrition and dietary competencies of health professions students. College of Science and Engineering Sally and Michael McCracken Annual Student Research Symposium, Texas Christian University, April 12, 2019.
Cowart, S., Seguin, R., VanBeber, A., and Dart, L. Determining level of adherence to the Mediterranean Diet by individuals living in the United States. College of Science and Engineering Sally and Michael McCracken Student Research Symposium. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, April 12, 2019.
Bell, E. Schiesler, N. Sisk, A. VanBeber, L. Dart, D. D’Agostino, P. Smith-Barbaro, D. Farmer, K. Argenbright, K. Aspegren, D. Monlezun, L. Sarris, T. Harlan. Culinary Medicine and a Multisite Longitudinal Study: Cooking for Health Optimization with Patients (CHOP). College of Science and Engineering Sally and Michael McCracken Annual Student Research Symposium, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, April 2017.
Monlezun, D.J., Dart, L., VanBeber, A. Smith-Barbaro, P., Costilla, V., Samuel, C., Terregino, C.A., Abali, E.E., Dollinger, B., Baumgartner, N., Seelochan, A., Taher, S., Deutchman, M., Evans, M., Ellis, R.B., Oyala, S., Maker-Clark, G., Dreibelbis, T., Budnick, I., Tran, D., DeValle, N., Shepard, R., Chow, E., Petrin, C., Razavi, A., McGowan, C., Grant, A., Bird, M., Carry, C., McGowan, G., McCullough, C., Berman, C.M., Dotson, K., Niu, T., Sarris, L., Harlan, T.S. Machine learning-augmented propensity score-adjusted multilevel panel analysis of hands-on cooking and nutrition education versus traditional curriculum for medical students as preventive cardiology: Multisite cohort study of effects panel analysis of hands-on cooking and nutrition education versus traditional curriculum for medical students as preventive cardiology: Multisite cohort study of 3,248 trainees over 5 years. BioMed Research International, https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5051289, (Article ID 5051289), 2018.
The Culinary Medicine elective at UNTHSC has been popular with students since its inception. Each Fall semester, TCU faculty invite all interested first year UNTHSC medical/physician assistant students to a recruitment presentation that summarizes the program and highlights advantages of such a program during their medical education. Attendance at each recruitment presentation has always exceeded the number of available spots in the class, and a merit and lottery system by UNTHSC faculty is then used to determine who will be eligible and invited to enroll in the course. Research outcomes from pre- and post-test data substantiate the value of the skills learned in this culinary medicine course. Observations by TCU and UNTHSC faculty indicate a strong enhancement in culinary self-confidence by course participants from the beginning to the end of the course sequence.
The culinary medicine knowledge and skills gained by TCU and UNTHSC faculty have in turn enhanced their teaching portfolios. Dr. VanBeber earned the distinction of Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist in 2016 and has incorporated many culinary medicine concepts into courses she teaches at TCU. She has also been invited to speak on the topic of culinary medicine at a variety of professional meetings over the past five years. In 2018, she was honored with the TCU College of Science and Engineering Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar.
Electronic media interview and video, “TCU, UNTHSC Students Highlight Partnership in Medicine and Nutrition”, https://www.tcu360.com/2017/03/tcu-unthsc-students-highlight-partnership-of-medicine-and-nutrition/, March 22, 2017.
VanBeber, A. Build a better sandwich, Equanimity Magazine, 17-18, Spring Edition, 2015.
The Use of a Culinary Medicine Course to Improve Nutrition Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of Teachers in the K-12 Setting. TCU Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education Research Grant, $2,200, Fall 2018 (Co-investigator: Dr. Jada Stevenson).
Food as Medicine: Developing Medical Culinary Nutrition Modules for Dietetics Education. TCU Instructional Development Grant, $2073, Spring 2014.
The primary challenge that exists today for the Culinary Medicine Program at Texas Christian University is time. Medical students and physician assistant students may have time conflicts with other school requirements. While it is stated that attendance at all six workshops is mandatory for successful completion of the course, absences do occur, and students are welcomed and encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible. In addition, the faculty who lead the program do so in addition to their full-time job responsibilities.