The Culinary Medicine Program at the University Michigan

Leadership and Faculty

Brigid Gregg, M.D.

Executive Director – University of Michigan Culinary Medicine

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan Medical School

Dr. Gregg is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases in the Pediatric Endocrinology Division. She graduated from Case Western Reserve Medical School and completed Pediatrics residency as well as Pediatric Endocrinology fellowship at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gregg also received a certification in basic pastry and culinary arts from the California Culinary Academy. Dr. Gregg leads the Gregg lab which focuses on understanding how early life nutrient stressors can program offspring risk for obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. She is one of the co-directos of the University of Michigan Culinary Medicine Program.

Email: greggb@med.umich.edu

 

Roma Gianchandani, MBBS.

Executive Director – University of Michigan Culinary Medicine

Associated Professor of Internal Medicine in Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes, University of Michigan Medical School

Dr. Gianchandani is an Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Specialist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from Topiwala National Medical College and completed her residency at Wayne State University. She is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Metabolism, Endocrinology, & Diabetes Division. She is actively involved in numerous research projects focused on Type 1 diabetes, especially pump therapy. She is one of the co-directors of the Culinary Medicine program at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Email: romag@med.umich.edu

Susan Aaronson, MA, RD

Executive Director – University of Michigan Culinary Medicine

Director of Didactic Program in Dietetics, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Susan Aaronson, MA, RD is the Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and a lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Ms. Aaronson has 30 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian in the area of clinical and acute care, as well as extensive experience in community and non-profit public health nutrition. Ms. Aaronson developed and coordinated a school based, community-University of Michigan collaborative effort, Project Healthy Schools, aimed to reduce childhood obesity in local and statewide middle schools, focusing her efforts in Detroit and on Farm to School programming. Ms. Aaronson is certified in pediatric and adolescent childhood weight management.  She serves on the board of Food Gatherers and Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels and has an interest in food insecurity.

Email: susaaaro@umich.edu


Culinary Medicine Programming

Medical Student Programming

Fourth-Year Medical Students

The Culinary Medicine elective is offered during the spring semester to fourth-year medical students and provides students the skills to teach patients how to incorporate healthy eating for the prevention and treatment of disease. The Culinary Medicine elective using the Health meets Food programming.

At the University of Michigan, the elective was offered to 4th year medical students (and two Endocrinology and Diabetes fellows) during the spring semester of 2018 and 2019. Each cohort had 16-students for a two-week elective. The two-week elective consisted of both kitchen and classroom sessions. The course utilized an “inverted classroom” format. The students completed readings and quizzes for the kitchen sessions using Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine online resources. At the end of the kitchen session, the group sampled all of the food and discussed the qualities of the food that was prepared, followed by clinical cases that highlighted the nutritional and medication interventions that can be made in the specific clinical situation. The didactic sessions also taught students techniques for brief and effective nutritional interviewing, cooking skills assessment, and counseling.

The leaders of the Culinary Medicine program at the University of Michigan also created a 2-hour food insecurity module. This module was designed to increase students’ understanding of food insecurity and its connection to the health of patients. There was also a panel of community leaders from Food Gatherers who also shared insights regarding food insecurity, its contributing factors, and nearby pantries in the Washtenaw and Ypsilanti area.

Residency Programming

No programming at this time.

Fellowship Programming

No programming at this time.

Community Programming

No programming at this time.


Successes

In summary, participating students found the Culinary Medicine elective to be a valuable part of their medical education. Since the course was offered to fourth-year medical students, who had completed their core clerkship rotations, these students were in a more favorable position to better understand how the knowledge and skills they were gaining could fit into the framework of clinical practice. Students appreciated 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 allowed students to deepen their own fundamental understanding of food and nutrition while providing a creative opportunity for the development of practical skills.


Challenges

There have been some challenges with the elective, especially with regards to funding. It has been difficult to maintain consistent funding for the elective over the years, but they are regularly applying for internal and external grants.


Research and Publications

Gondy K., Vasudevan, A, Mcleod M., Orizando C., Gianchandani, R., Gregg, B. Culinary Medicine Pilot Elective at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Oral Presentations:

  • Health Professionals Day Conference, Ann Arbor, MI, April 2018
  • Health Meets Food Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 2018
  • Sujal Symposium, Ann Arbor, MI September 2018.

Gondy K., Vasudevan, A, Mcleod M., Gregg, B., Gianchandani, R. Expanding Physicians’ Scope of Knowledge: Culinary Medicine Curriculum Includes Innovative Sessions on Food Insecurity and Food Systems.

  • Oral Presentation: Nexus Interprofessional Summit, Minneapolis, MN, July 2018
  • E-Poster Presentation: Cook and Health Conference, Lisbon-Portugal, October 2019. 

Funding

Funding was provided through the Taubman Institute for Innovation and the University of Michigan Medical School.


Media Coverage

medicine.umich.edu/dept/intmed/new-culinary-medicine-elective-medical-school-students