The Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

The Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Leadership and Faculty of the Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University

Glen Duncan, PhD, RCEP, part of the leadership of the Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of MedicineGlen Duncan, PhD, RCEP

Professor, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Chair, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Director, Washington State Twin Registry

Over a scientific career spanning two decades, Dr. Duncan has studied the effects of physical activity and nutrition on community health. His conceptual approach situates these phenomena in the context of social and built environments. Dr. Duncan has developed unparalleled expertise in research designs using data on twins – both monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) – to assess unique environmental effects on lifestyle behaviors. His current work pioneers the use of novel methods to assess the lifestyle behaviors undertaken by community-dwelling adults in their daily lives, and the effects of these behaviors on cardio-metabolic and fitness-related measures. All his research treats lifestyle behaviors as embedded in real-world settings shaped by policy decisions as well as by socioeconomic and demographic factors.

More broadly, Dr. Duncan’s research interests include 1) the relationships among cardiovascular fitness, body fat content, and metabolic disease (e.g., metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes), 2) lifestyle interventions designed to modify diet and increase habitual physical activity or exercise training in order to prevent and treat metabolic and cardiovascular disease, and 3) non-biological determinants of physical activity and obesity (e.g., income, access to services and fitness facilities, and the physical environment).

Dr. Duncan is a firm believer that exercise is the perfect medicine to prevent a wide range of health problems. As a lifelong athlete, he is always active, and his main exercise passion is to practice martial arts.

Susan Kynast-Gales, PhD, RDN of the Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of MedicineSusan Kynast-Gales, PhD, RDN

Clinical Associate Professor, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology

Fascination with nutrition science has compelled Dr. Kynast-Gales to pursue Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral academic degrees and varied professional positions in the field of dietetics and human nutrition over more than 4 decades. Her professional experience encompasses administrative services; clinical dietetics in acute and extended in-patient care settings; public health dietetics serving the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Indian Health Services (IHS); and basic and applied nutrition research with emphasis on circadian variation in mineral balance, metabolic and blood pressure effects of caffeine, and relationships between diet and chronic diseases including nephrolithiasis, osteoporosis and diabetes. Currently a dietetic educator, Dr. Gales teaches courses in macro- and micro-nutrient metabolism, pathophysiology, food preparation for health professionals, and culinary medicine.

In addition to culinary training in dietetics, Dr. Gales acquired practical experience in large scale scratch institutional meal preparation and baking through a dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital; a Culinary Nutrition certificate through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Master Food Preserver training through Washington State University Extension; and focused education in Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics and Precision Nutrition through a workshop at the University of North Carolina. Personal culinary interests include edible landscaping, permaculture and sustainable food production.

Farion R. Williams, MD, of the Culinary Medicine Program at Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of MedicineFarion R. Williams, MD

Associate Dean of Clinical Education, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Dr. Williams has been involved in medical education his entire medical career. He has worked in both longitudinal and block settings with all levels of trainees (medical student, resident and fellow). Currently, he is the Associate Dean of Clinical Education for the Tri-Cities campus in Richland, Washington.

He has been instrumental in establishing rural residency training programs in Family Medicine as well as fellowship programs in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Academic Faculty Development. He has extensive experience in residency program accreditation. Before joining WSU, he led the Professional Development theme for the University of Illinois’ curriculum renewal project for their undergraduate curriculum with focus on Professional Identity Formation, Career Development and Resilience and Wellness in Medicine. He has served as the National Chair for the Group on Faculty Development with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and has been active with the American Academy of Family Physicians while in Kansas, Texas and Illinois for their state chapters.  His interests in medical education include the Patient-Physician experience, humanism in health care, food as medicine, and the transition in clinical training from medical school to residency.

Culinary Medicine Programming at Washington State University

Medical Student Programming

Second Year Medical Students

The WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is in its third year, with 60 medical students being accepted in the first and second years and 80 in the third and subsequent years. Culinary Medicine programming was offered in the 2018 – 2019 academic year as a pilot to second year medical students with a high participation rate — all 60 students signed up. The pilot was launched as an inter-disciplinary activity and had high satisfaction amongst students.

Starting in the Spring trimester of the 2019 – 2020 academic year, the course will be offered as a full elective in the medical curriculum. The plans are for a two-week module on nutrition and exercise with a 3-hour block in the morning set aside for the Health meets Food modules. The goal is to be able to offer this to 40% of the second-year students this Spring.

The course is being offered in the Nutrition Research Kitchen, administered by the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. The 800 sq. ft. facility is used for the tri-partite land-grant university mission of teaching, scholarship, and service. Several recent updates and upgrades have been undertaken to refurbish this space. These upgrades include:

  • Meile KM 6360 induction cook top
  • Meile KM 5840 electric cook top
  • Miele DGC 6700 combi-steam oven
  • Miele H6580BP convection oven
  • Miele PG 8056 commercial dishwasher
  • Stainless-steel countertops and workspaces
  • Four 15 sq. ft. stainless-steel mobile workstations
  • Portable stainless-steel food preparation demonstration cart
  • Stainless-steel commercial food preparation sinks
  • Folding round tables for feeding studies x 2

There has been a lot of interest outside of the School of Medicine including potential for inter-professional courses as well as articulation with WSU Extension situated in every county throughout Washington State.

Residency Programming

No programming at this time.

Fellowship Programming

No programming at this time.

Community Programming at Washington State University

No programming at this time. Proposals are underway to create a mobile teaching kitchen.


Funding is through the Deans office and there is a current proposal to continue funding. The goal is to make this self-sustaining with tuition and program fees to cover the teaching mission and a service center to cover the research mission.

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