University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia


Leadership and Faculty

 

Christa Demment González, MSN

Director of Culinary Medicine

Christa Demment González joins FoodShare as the new Director of Culinary Medicine after teaching and cooking in California, Maine, and the Caribbean.  With a Master’s degree in Nutrition, she finds new ways to translate nutrition science into simple, mouth-watering recipes.

She’s been trained to hold space for all the discussion topics around changes in nutrition and guiding people past the obstacles to lifestyle behavior change. A dynamic, experiential cooking class is the way to learn and maintain healthy changes.  Knowledge, empowerment and multi-disciplinary collaboration are the keys for treating and preventing chronic illness.
Christa brings over 15 years’ experience cooking in unique and challenging environments. You’ll find her in FoodShare’s new Teaching Kitchen​ designing delicious health classes for the community, working with the culinary medicine curriculum for medical professionals, and encouraging everyone to try something new on their plate.  ​

Beverly Wilson, MPH

Co-Founder and Executive Director of FoodShare

Beverly Wilson, FoodShare’s Chief Inspiration Officer, is passionate about the need to solve issues around food access and affordability for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. After organizing bulk buying produce groups within the community for many years, she turned her efforts towards developing a program that would expand fresh food access and affordability among communities that lacked access to quality food sources.

Beverly has been with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine for 15 years where she’s been able to identify a unique opportunity to integrate lifestyle medicine into a clinic model. She will be responsible for leading the school’s new culinary medicine initiative.

Programming is run by the nonprofit entity, FoodShare South Carolina, housed by the University Of South Carolina Of Medicine and closely affiliated with Prisma Health. Utilizing the state’s SNAP incentive program, Healthy Bucks, families can purchase boxes for $5.00 and received $30 worth of fresh produce. Foodshare is currently available in seven counties and will expand to all 36 counties in South Carolina within 5 years.


Culinary Medicine Programming

Fourth-Year Medical Students

The Culinary Medicine elective at University of South Carolina School of Medicine– Columbia is available to both third-year and fourth-year medical students.

Third-year medical students are required to complete a Health meets Food module and attend a community culinary medicine class as part of their Family Medicine Rotation.

Fourth-year medical students can take the course as part of month-long rotation. They complete modules 1 through 8 of the Health meets Food courseware as well as the Diabetes in Pregnancy, Systematic Approaches to Obesity and Pharmaceutical Treatment of Obesity modules.

The elective’s culminating experience gives students the unique opportunity to practice their culinary medicine knowledge with communities’ members.  For the last class, the students come up with a topic that has not been covered to create a plant-based presentation.  They have six minutes with each patient and then patients fill out patient satisfaction survey.

They then transition into the kitchen for a culinary where students partner alongside community member to cook a tasty, healthy meal from the contents of a FoodShare Box and pantry staples. Medical students are responsible for writing down everything going into a dish and they have to come up with a nutrition label that goes alongside the dish they present to the judges.

Residency Programming

The course directors also provide a lecture series to the Internal Medicine residents and are hopeful are offering nutrition modules to them as well. Prior to COVID, residents were participated alongside the community programming.  Many ended up cooking with the patient that they had referred to the courses.

Fellowship Programming

No programming at this time.

Physician Assistant Programming

The course directors created a lecture on social determinants of health and implicit bias.  Physician Assistants are also able to take the Health meets Food Carbohydrates module during the Endocrinology didactic.  Additionally, they take the Fats and Hypertension Modules combined to a “Heart Health” hands-on experience during the cardiology didactic.

Community Programming

The Culinary Medicine curriculum is also available to the community. This program is called the Community Cooks Program. There have so far been 20 cohorts who have taken this course.  These patients are referred from primary clinics, such as Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Endocrine, and Pediatrics clinics. Patients find these modules to be extremely helpful and educational.


Media Coverage

Garnet and Black Magazine

A FoodShare Story


Successes

In summary, students, residents, and community participants find the Culinary Medicine elective to be a valuable part of their medical education. Students and patients appreciate 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 allows students and patients to deepen their own fundamental understanding of food and nutrition while providing a creative opportunity for the development of practical skills.


Research

Current Research:

  • Impact of Fresh Food Box Participation on Weight Management Outcomes
  • Improving Health Outcomes through Fresh Food Access and Culinary Medicine Education
  • Impact of a fresh produce volunteer based delivery program
  • Veggie Rx pilot: impact of a produce prescription program on diabetes in rural SC