The Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia University


Leadership and Faculty of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia University

Rosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti, MD, MPH, CCMS, a leader of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia UniversityRosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti, MD, MPH, CCMS

Associate Dean Student Services, Eastern Division
Professor  Department of Family Medicine

Dr. Rosemarie (Rosie) Cannarella Lorenzetti is the Associate Dean of Student Services, West Virginia University and a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the WVU-Eastern Campus. A physician with over 37 years experience, she has been involved in teaching Family Medicine residents and medical students for over 30 years. In June 1994, she started a Rural Family Residency Program with another physician at the location of her general practice. In May 2000, while practicing full time as a physician, she earned her MPH degree from WVU School of Public Health and served as Health officer of Jefferson County, WV from 2000-2008.

In 2013, she and several other faculty started a Culinary Medicine program for the third year medical students on Eastern Campus after receiving an educational grant from the Dean. Five faculty members developed a program called MedCHEFS (Medical student Curriculum in Heathy eating, Exercise and Food Science). They collaborated with a local chef and culinary program at a community college, and began monthly cooking and food prep classes to all the third year students on the regional campus. After 2 yrs, those cooking classes and nutrition education spread to the main campus and other state regional campus for 3rdyear medical students. She also helped the medical students to begin a Culinary Interest group for the health Science Students on the main campus.

In 2016 she created a new separate track at WVU Medical School. The Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track was approved by LCME in 2017. Currently, 27 students are enrolled in years 1, 2 and 3 that are getting enhanced education in Food as Nutrition, and other pillars of health – such as adequate physical activity, stress management and restorative sleep.

She is actively involved at the Community level in both research and service, teaching cooking classes at the local Food Pantry, and leading projects involving patient group visits, community cooking demos and work with the local food pantry. She has presented extensively at state and national education group conferences about Culinary Medicine and various medical conditions benefiting from a nutritious eating plan. Her special interests are obesity and the metabolic syndrome and sees patients at the WVU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health working specifically with patients to follow a lower carb Mediterranean Diet for weight loss and reversal of metabolic syndrome. She also has a primary care practice at Harpers Ferry Family Medicine.

Madison Humerick, MD, a member of the leadership of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia UniversityMadison Humerick, MD

Dr. Madison (Maddie) Humerick completed her medical training at WVU School of Medicine and her residency training in Family Medicine at WVU Rural Family Medicine Residency in Harpers Ferry, WV. Always interested in nutrition, she completed the MedCHEFS curriculum at WVU School of Medicine and went on to complete the Culinary Medicine Specialist Certification through The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine and Tulane University School of Medicine. She is the Assistant Director of the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine track and has been instrumental in molding the curriculum for the track; running the journal clubs for the medical students, and initiating the research in the track.

This year, she created a 4thyr online elective for 2 weeks credit called Nutrition Solutions for Common Chronic Medical Diseases using the Health Meets Food Curriculum, a new unit on Food Insecurity and Interpreting the Medical Literature to help students make their way through the myriad of nutritional research papers available. An Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a member of the residency faculty, she sees patients at the Harpers Ferry Family Medicine Clinic, and is also a member of the faculty at WVU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health. She has special interest in the treatment and prevention of obesity and its comorbidities. She has been very active locally with community research and teaching projects, many centered at the local Food Pantry. She has been teaching classes to the public, leading diabetic group visits for several years at the Clinic, as well as speaking on nutritional issues at state and regional conferences.

Melody Phillips, MD, CCMS, a member of the leadership of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia UniversityMelody Phillips, MD, CCMS

Assistant Professor
West Virginia University School of Medicine

Dr. Melody Phillips graduated Cornell College with a BA in biochemistry and molecular biology as well as a BA in history.

She graduated from Chicago Medical School and completed her Family Medicine residency at Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge, IL. She is currently an assistant professor in the Family Medicine department at West Virginia University in Morgantown, where she serves as faculty member of the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine track for the medical school, leading the MS1’s in their Clinical Learning Groups. She provides didactic lectures for residents and medical students in health prevention and promotion topics, and participates in departmental Intensive Diabetes and Intensive Weight Loss clinics for Family Medicine patients.

Chef Scott Anderson, a member of the leadership at the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia UniversityChef Scott Anderson

Chef Scot Anderson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences, but for his career, he knew his passion was food. He went on to get additional training as a Chef at Culinary Institute of America. He worked nearly 25 years as the Chef at Shepherd University. The joy came in working with numerous peer institutions across the United States to bring fresh ideas to campus. In the fall of 2014 he felt a calling to leave Shepherd Dining and move into a more community based natural and organic setting, in 2016.

He found such a place, a community market located at the other end of Shepherdstown, and found a home at WVU Medicine, Eastern Division as an Adjunct Faculty member in the WVU MedCHEFS program. Through the MEDCHEFS program he has been able to work with Drs. Lorenzetti and Humerick, both of whom instilled a passion to go further into community wellbeing and cooking lessons through educational and community teaching opportunities. It’s through their expertise and guidance he says he has come to better understand how food plays a key role as medicine in the teaching the next generation of medical students and looks forward to where that takes us in the community to teach food basics. His most recent transition is he is now also working part time as the Hospitality Chief at the Mountaineer Recovery Center teaching those making a new life for themselves how to improve their nutrition and lessen their chronic pain.


Culinary Medicine Programming at West Virginia University

History of Nutrition Programming at West Virginia School of Medicine

In 2013, five WVU Eastern Campus primary care faculty received a Dean’s teaching grant to develop an innovative curriculum for medical students. We all desired to teach the medical students preventive medicine aspects of medical care. The medical school curriculum is replete with diseases and medical conditions requiring medications and therapy. We were interested in teach healthy lifestyle principles. Hence was born – MedCHEFS – Medical Student Curriculum in healthy Eating, Exercise and Food Science. We wanted to teach nutrition of healthy eating, and also teach the medical students how to prepare the food so they could pass practical information along to patients.

The program aims to teach skills that will provide young physicians with the knowledge, techniques and self-assurance needed to speak about diet and exercise. By evaluating a patient’s readiness for lifestyle change through motivational interviewing, the students can impart messages appropriate to the patients’ life situation. All third year students on the Eastern Campus students receive monthly cooking classes (some are attached to a Health meets Food corresponding module) and review information that discusses the evidenced-based knowledge and practical aspects of food components and creation of dishes and teaching meal planning. All third year students on the other two campuses get one nutrition lecture about nutrition during 3rdyear boot camp, and then at least one teaching kitchen in the fall of third year associated with the CHF module or Diabetes module.

Medical Students – LCME Culinary Medicine and Lifestyle Track at West Virginia University

An LCME-approved Culinary Medicine and Lifestyle Track is offered to incoming medical students each year by application. In the most recent academic year applications doubled this year to 18.

In 2016, the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track (CLMT) was created for West Virginia University School of Medicine and was approved by LCME in spring 2017. The first class was recruited in the spring semester of the first year class in spring of 2018. From then on, students are recruited when they are applying and are admitted to WVUSoM, so the cohort can begin medical school together. During the 2019 – 2020 Academic Year Enrollment, there are 7 third year students, 11 second year students and 10 first year students in the track- a total of 28 students. These students are getting enhanced education in Food as Nutrition, as well as the other pillars of health – adequate physical activity, stress management and restorative sleep. The Culinary Medicine and Lifestyle Track is offered to incoming medical students each year by application in the spring/summer prior to matriculation, once they receive acceptance to WVU SoM.  Student participation in the Track is limited to 10 students per year. It is a competitive process, as in the most recent academic year (2019-2020), applications doubled to 18. We have already received several application for the 2020-2021, showing the growing and continuous interest in these topics by incoming students.

The accepted students are brought together 2 days before school starts to meet one another. They complete as a group the Introduction to Culinary Medicine Health meets Food unit and Kitchen safety module, engage in a teaching kitchen and evaluate their own health status.

CLMT – First Year Students: Once first year of medical school starts, the students will be together periodically (6 sessions a semester, both semesters) in the same Clinical Learning Group Sessions (CLG’S) sessions which are led by one of our Faculty. These are the same case-based learning sessions every medical student has – but the CLMT faculty facilitating the event embellishes each case with lifestyle factors that might have influenced the case’s history or results, sometimes offering an additional article to pre-read for the session. The first and second year students get together once during first semester to have a teaching kitchen and are responsible for that Health meets Food unit associated with the unit.  Over Christmas, each year class has different assignments. There are Health meets Food units that they are supposed to do that correlate with their basic sciences classes, as well as readings/articles regarding sleep, exercise, stress reduction or other lifestyle topics. During the spring semester, again they will have a second teaching kitchen and the Health meets Food module that goes with it. There is also one journal club per semester with 2 articles to compare and contrast that is done by remote meeting so students on all 3 campuses as well as available faculty can engage.

CLMT – Summer Externship: During the summer break, the first year students are brought out to the Eastern Campus for an externship program. The students participate in three weeks of concentrated summer programming.  Housing is provided (a rental Airbnb home for 10) and all the students are on campus, living, cooking, and exercising together in their shared space. They will participate in clinical care taking history and physicals exams with various primary care providers in clinics and hospital settings, as well as a community research project. They will attend selected community service activities that they are expected to prepare for and deliver, such as a nutritional talk or food demonstration. They prepare food in least 2 teaching kitchens, and participate in sessions delivered by sleep specialists, exercise knowledgeable physicians and physiologists, and stress management specialists. These students will also be completing 2 more Health meets Food modules on-line in this 3 week time period to parallel the kitchen classes. The chef also conducts a baking module – with wheat, low carb and gluten free flours so they can experience the techniques that need to be different when using these products.

CLMT – Second Year Students: Similar to first year, they are in the same CLG session (5 per semester), with CLMT faculty facilitating. There is one teaching kitchen per semester – associated with a required Health meets Food module.  They have a Christmas assignment that touches each pillar, including another 2 Health meets Food modules. We cease track activities by April – so students can concentrate on their required classes and prepare for Step 1.

CLMT – Third Year Students: They are assigned one Health meets Food modules which corresponds per clerkship (6 of them), but there is only one teaching kitchen for all three campuses in the fall (IM – clerkship – CHF module). The CLMT students on the Eastern Campus will participate in one Teaching Kitchen per month as part of the Med CHEF series.

Fourth year students:  These CLMT students will take one elective month during their 4th year schedule. There is the 2 week on-line elective to finish up incomplete modules that any fourth year can take (see below) and then a second 2 week “experiential” elective which will concentrate on them being able to demonstrate their skills in a primary care setting; they may teach a nutrition class to children, teach a cooking class to families, visit a sleep lab and review sleep studies or finish up their project. This will be tailored to whatever specialty they are going to enter and is flexible. To be able to sit for the CCMS is costly – so we decided to make this optional , but we will hope that at least several of them will decide to do that and take the CCMS exam in the spring of senior year- just prior to graduation (and the rush of interview season etc.)

Medical Students – Non-Track

Fourth Year Elective This year, CLMT faculty creative a 4th year elective using the Health Meets Food online programming. The 4th yr. student needs to cover9 total modules; 7 HMF modules of their choice and they must complete 2 extra modules created by CLMT faculty – one in Food Insecurity and a second module in Nutritional Literature Reading and Review. Learning to read a nutritional article and deciding how that information may translate to a patient in clinic or not we felt was a valuable skill (so many confounders with nutritional articles). They can access the online courseware any time during that 2 week period – and complete the quizzes. In addition to the Quiz, CLMT faculty created case-based reflection scenarios to see how the student would apply information learned in the module to a specific patient, or their own health. They must write all of the answers to the reflection questions in secure on-line learning environment for our school and CLMT faculty review all the reflections and give feedback to the students. The students must also make 3 recipes form the modules they reviewed, posting pictures and comments on the recipes for review. This first year of the elective being available, over 1/3 of the senior class took the elective (39 to date). The response to the elective and the comments made by the students has been wonderful and appreciated.

Culinary Medicine Interest Group:  The Culinary Medicine and Lifestyle Track students organize and manage a Culinary Interest Group (CIG) for the student body at the Health Science Center.  This culinary interest group has been in place for several years, but once the trach was started the students in the track really manage this activity.  Usually attended by 1st and 2nd year medical students, but dental nursing and pharmacy students housed at the Health Science Center are certainly free to attend.  The me things are usually during the lunch hour and the culinary students take turns making crock pot meals for the attendees for much.  On average of once a semester, the students plan a teaching kitchen at one of the local overnight facilities for family of patients that are inpatient at the University Hospital.  Here the students enjoyed cooking together and then prepare their food for the current residence of the Rosenbaum house or the Ronald McDonald facility


The Culinary Medicine Program for Residents at West Virginia University

There are 18 Family Medicine Residents across three years on the East drink campus in the Harpers Ferry referral Family Medicine residency program.  Each semester the residence have 1 teaching kitchen with topics from the health meats food curriculum.  There also asked to read the module, do the quiz and then we review the case as in a typical teaching kitchen.  This has been well we received and one of the climate faculty is now creating a nutrition curriculum for the residency program.  This will also be shared with the Family Medicine residency programs on the other two campuses that will be offered to all Family Medicine residents on the 3 campuses.  Rotating programming is offered each year, so that each resident will be exposed to different topics.


The Culinary Medicine Program for Faculty at West Virginia University

In 2016 the Dean’s office committed support for faculty to complete the Culinary Medicine Specialist certification program offered by the Culinary Medicine Specialist Board. To date 3 faculty have certified and Dr. Cannarella serves on the CMSB Advisory Board.


The Culinary Medicine Program for Community Members at West Virginia University

Once a month, students in the Culinary Medicine Track are invited to attend with faculty ( Drs. Madison Humerick and/or Rosie Lorenzetti and Chefs Brian or Scott – another local chef who donates their time to the pantry.  The teaching kitchen are done once monthly with hands-on food preparation by various client families at the local food pantry in Jefferson County West Virginia which is carried out on table top equipment. The Jefferson Community ministries facility as located down town, and services is a food pantry and Safe Haven for many of the homeless and lower income patients in our community. This program is been going on about 2 years, and the facilities has been so impressed with the reception by the clients, that they have offered to build additional kitchen facilities and space for these demonstrations that are held at the facility.  Dr. Madison Humerick managed to get a grant to pay for a Vista volunteer to be the on-deck manager at the facility to do a lot of organization for the kitchen and also recruit additional volunteers for setting up and cleaning up after a food session.

Another faculty member offers nutrition programming with the Salvation Army monthly in the neighboring Berkeley County West Virginia. This is run mainly by Dr. Sarah Moerschel.  Not using the Health meets Food community courseware per se, she is using a lot of the recipes from the health meats food course where.

Both the culinary trach students in the mid step students participate periodically and community outreach. Approximately 1-2 times per semester there are food demonstrations with tastings, or hands on kitchen experiences, in locations that such as a Civic Center, City Building, Farmers Market, and here at the Health Science Center. The want at the Health Science Center is usually attended by 70-80 people and is usually associated with a talk by a specialist followed by the students’ demonstration of food and food taste things. For example the last 1 offered was neuro cognition with a brief introduction by the local neurologist about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and the effect of antioxidants on keeping a brain healthy. The students then prepared food taste things for all of the attendance of various groups of antioxidant and brain healthy foods

Once yearly Drs. Humerick and Lorenzetti present nutritional information at a state conference call the Hunger Summit. This is an annual state meeting attended by representatives of all of the food banks in West Virginia. Approximately 150 people attend this 2 day conference and the doctors do food demonstration with the assistance of the track students with food tasting usually covering a specific topic such as brain health, heart health or diabetes nutrition. The students prepare food, chopping and dicing and preparing food while the faculty are actually delivering the lecture. When the lecture is over, the audience enjoys the food that was prepared by the students.


Media Coverage of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia University


Funding of the Culinary Medicine Program at West Virginia University

Programming is funded by the West Virginia School of Medicine.