Culinary Medicine: Eating for Health

In the Pittsburgh metro area, CDC surveillance data indicates that 27 percent of adults aged 18 or older are considered obese—a modifiable risk factor associated with many chronic diseases including diabetes and cancer. While proper nutrition and physical activity are effective for weight control, a recent survey indicates that fewer than 30 percent of physicians feel they received adequate training in medical school for counseling patients on diet and nutrition.

One novel solution to address both the obesity epidemic and physician training was pioneered at Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine—the first dedicated teaching kitchen established in a medical school.

What is culinary medicine? It’s a new nutrition education model for “teaching doctors and patients how to combine the art of cooking with evidence-based nutritional research to help people understand how to purchase, prepare, and enjoy healthy and delicious meals.” The goal? To decrease chronic disease by better preparing physicians to counsel patients in disease-specific diet and nutrition interventions.

While a dedicated in-house kitchen is the hallmark of programs like Tulane’s, other medical schools license the Tulane curriculum or collaborate with culinary schools. Schools of medicine at Yale, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Brown, and Penn State are among the dozens offering some form of culinary medicine curriculum, ranging from required courses, to electives, to CME credits.

Medical students engaged in culinary medicine typically learn medical and clinical nutrition principles, specific diets (e.g., Mediterranean, DASH, vegetarian), and portion control, as well as culinary techniques such as knife skills, food safety, and kitchen organization. Some courses include a teaching component for students to share their knowledge by offering healthy cooking classes to local communities and schools.

Preliminary research regarding culinary medicine is encouraging. A longitudinal study among 627 medical students showed hands-on cooking and nutrition education vs. traditional education improved diet, attitudes, and competencies. Results from a small randomized controlled trial of patients with type 2 diabetes showed improvement in HbA1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol after following a Mediterranean diet cooking and nutrition curriculum provided by a medical school-based teaching kitchen.

A prescription of healthier eating for yourself and patients can begin with HSLS resources, including the nutritional sciences e-book collection, print books, and nutritional sciences e-journals.

~Rebecca Abromitis

The HSLS Website is Getting a New Look!

HSLS is updating and redesigning the website. Combining a clean, responsive design along with teachable-moments, browsing, and updated discovery tools, the new is slated to be launched in late August 2017. HSLS educational opportunities, exam tools, streaming media titles, and our most popular guides are amplified in the new design making finding, using, and creating biomedical information easier than ever. Starting in August, HSLS’s front page based “News and Announcements” will include information about the new site and its upcoming launch…so stay tuned!

~Fran Yarger

HSLS Databases…There’s an App for That!

Did you know that UpToDate, Micromedex, and many other HSLS databases have mobile apps that provide you with access to clinical information anytime and anyplace? These apps are available to Pitt and UPMC users through the HSLS subscriptions to the full databases.

To see a list of available apps and access instructions, direct your browser to the HSLS Mobile Resources website. Here you’ll find information on what apps are available, how to create an account, account expiration, app contents, and how to access help. Links are also provided to the Apple iTunes and Google Play Store so you can easily download an app.

The Mobile Resources website also lists which HSLS databases are fully responsive and can adapt any screen size, but don’t have apps. These include: AccessPharmacy, AccessSurgery, CINAHL, and ISI Web of Science.

For further information, please call the Falk Library Main Desk at 412-648-8866 or e-mail Ask a Librarian.

~Jill Foust

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

Jonathon Erlen, History of Medicine Librarian, published “Ph.D. Dissertations from Universities around the World on Topics Relating to Indians in the Americas” in Indigenous Policy: Journal of the Indigenous Studies Network, 29(1): 478, Summer 2017. Erlen was also a major contributor to ISIS Current Bibliography of the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences 2016, by Stephen P. Weldon, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

J. Rodakowski, P. Rocco J. Ortiz, B. Folb, Public Health Informationist, et al., presented “The Role of Caregivers in Improving Outcomes: Caregivers Included in Discharge Planning Reduces Hospital Readmissions: A Meta-Analysis” at the 21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress from July 22-27, 2017. Abstract published in Innovation in Aging, 1(S1), 2017.

Classes for August 2017

HSLS offers classes on database searching, software applications such as Prezi, bibliographic management, and molecular biology and genetics. For more information, visit the online class calendar.

Classes are held on the first floor of Falk Library (200 Scaife Hall) in Classroom 1 and on the upper floor of the library in Classroom 2. All classes are open to faculty, staff, and students of the University of Pittsburgh. They are also open to UPMC residents and fellows, who will need to show their UPMC IDs.
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