Lafourche ParishLocal News

Nicholls and LSU Health New Orleans Partner to Offer Culinary Medicine Program 


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THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls State University and Louisiana State University Health Science Center- N.O. School of Medicine partnered to host the annual Culinary Medicine Program at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. The program, sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Health System and Cardiovascular Institute of the South, ran from July 5-15.

Thirteen third-year medical students from LSUHSC New Orleans elected to enroll in the Culinary Medicine course with the Nicholls Department of Allied Health Sciences. Taught by Allison Gaubert, Instructor of Dietetics, and Chef Jana Billiot from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, the two-week Culinary Medicine program introduced evidence-based nutrition and culinary skills the future physicians can integrate into their practices.

Gaubert said, “The goal of the program is to give medical students the tools to begin important nutrition-focused conversations with patients so they can provide evidence-based information and work closely with a Registered Dietitian to enhance the health of all patients.”

Students participated in a morning lecture focused on a variety of topics that highlighted the role of food in preventing and managing disease. Following the lecture, students put their knowledge to use preparing recipes that Chef Billiot and Gaubert selected to highlight the lecture points.

Gaubert said, “The recipes are plant-forward including whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The idea is to prepare Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are still relevant to Louisiana-culture, as well as nutritious but still booming with flavor.”

“Thibodaux Regional is happy to support this innovative program that aligns with our vision of helping to create a healthier community. Through our Wellness Center, we have witnessed the happiness and joy experienced by thousands of participants who have started and are continuing their journey for a healthier lifestyle,” said Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional Health System. “It’s exciting to see these young doctors recognize the importance of diet and nutrition and take steps that will make a greater impact on their patient’s lives.”

After food preparation, the students and instructors will enjoy the meal together discussing the merits of the dishes in taste and health. The program is designed to focus heavily on how the students can take what they learn to build a foundation for treating and teaching future patients.

“CIS is proud to sponsor this unique program that falls in line with our mission at CIS, part of which is to share knowledge with future leaders in the field of medicine,” said Dr. Craig Walker, founder, president and medical director at Cardiovascular Institute of the South. “Chef John Folse has been a leader in the culinary world, focusing on heart health while maintaining taste. This is a wonderful opportunity to educate these medical students on the importance of food as it relates to medicine.”

This year's program focused on a variety of topics on current dietary guidelines, sports nutrition, weight-neutral approaches to patient counseling, GI health, cultural nutrition, treating the most common chronic conditions with nutrition, and more.

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