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From the Emergency Room to the Kitchen: Teaching Tomorrow’s Doctor’s How to Plan and Cook Nutritious Meals

A select group of Lenox Hill Hospital physicians-in-training are trading in their hospital scrubs for chef’s toques as part of an innovative program to provide them with the skills they need to model healthy cooking and eating behaviors. “The course is designed to provide the doctors with firsthand knowledge on how to advise their patients on the benefits of healthy eating,” said Robert Graham, MD, MPH, Associate Program Director, Department of Medicine and course instructor.

The series includes six lectures developed and presented by the Department of Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital to teach the “state of the science” in diet, nutrition and policy research. Topics include: Latest findings about diet and nutrition, Choosing healthier carbohydrates, Mindfulness and exercise for weight management and healthy lifestyles, and Nutrition Assessment and Motivational Interviewing – How to listen, and encourage change.
The kitchen sessions, held at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and led by ICE chef-instructors, will teach residents how to use simple techniques from Mediterranean, Asian and Latin cuisines.  Residents will learn basic culinary tips and techniques, gain an appreciation for culinary diversity while cooking flavorful food on a resident’s budget.

“While physicians may not have the time nor focus to develop comprehensive dietary meal plans for patients, understanding appropriate caloric intake, benefits of  healthier food preparation, and serving sizes among others, are vital,” said Bradley Flansbaum, DO, MPH, Chief of Hospitalist Service and course instructor.  “Without proper nutrition education, it is unlikely that physicians will be able to be effective in helping reduce the high and growing incidence of nutrition-related death and disease in this country.”


  1. Diet a common factor in disease – 1988 The Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health showed that 8 of the 10 leading causes of death and disease in the United States in 1987 were directly linked to what we eat and drink.
  2. Physicians need improved nutrition education - Doctors, however, have traditionally received little if any nutrition training during their medical education, residency training, or time in actual practice (Committee on Nutrition in Medical Education, 1985).