Harvard Medical School and The Culinary Institute of America Launch Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives

A Leadership Conference Series Bridging Nutrition Science, Health Care, and the Culinary Arts

Harvard Medical School (HMS) and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) today launched their pioneering initiative Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives: A Leadership Conference Bridging Nutrition Science, Health Care, and the Culinary Arts.  At this unique, semi-annual gathering — held at the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley—health professionals from around the country will participate in seminars led by Harvard scientists and in hands-on cooking workshops led by CIA chef-instructors as they explore the delicious possibilities of healthful food and its preparation.  

Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives, a novel collaboration between two leading educational institutions, is designed to provide the hundreds of health care professionals attending the sold-out conference with the latest scientific findings about diet and nutrition combined with practical, healthful cooking skills, ideas and inspiration. The goal of Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is for attendees to take what they have learned at the conference and incorporate it into their own lives, enabling them to become role models and teachers for their patients—akin to successful efforts in the 1970s to personally enlist physicians in giving up smoking, and thereby increase their credibility and effectiveness when they counsel patients to stop smoking.

In the battle against obesity and other lifestyle-linked diseases—and with estimates that healthier food choices could save Americans $90 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity1—the stakes are high to spawn a movement within the medical community that puts physicians in a better position to encourage healthier food choices and lifestyles among their patients, the broader healthcare community, and the media.

“What if physicians and other medical professionals had the necessary skills to model healthy eating behaviors themselves? Wouldn’t this impact their instructions and advice to their patients?” asks David M. Eisenberg, MD, Bernard Osher Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School and co-director of the conference. “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is intended to attract, inform, and inspire this and the next generation of medical professionals and food industry leaders to serve as role models for change when it comes to healthy eating.”

In plenary and break-out sessions, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health faculty members will present the “state of the science” in diet and nutrition research, including: advice for diabetic patients about carbohydrate choices; “good” and “bad” fats; deconstruction of popular diets; mindfulness and exercise for weight management and healthy lifestyles; and the relationship between diet and cancer risk. The nutrition science conference faculty include Harvard’s Walter Willet, MD, DrPH,  Sanjiv Chopra, MD, FACP, and Meir  Stampfer, MD, DrPH, among others.

During  kitchen sessions, CIA chef-instructors will teach health care professionals how to use simple techniques from Mediterranean, Asian and Latin cuisines—along with other flavor strategies—to increase the appeal of meals primarily based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, healthy oils, and low-fat proteins.  Kitchen workshops will include Healthy Fats and Oils: Of Hot Pans and Cool Salads; Healthy Lunch Strategies: Culinary Adventure for Mid-Day Appetites; and Healthy Desserts—The Dessert “Flip” and Other Seductive Ideas.

Attendees will also explore strategies for food shopping, including affordable options for individuals and families on tight budgets.

“This unique partnership between The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard Medical School brings together the great strengths of both organizations-the CIA’s expertise in culinary arts education and HMS’s expertise in areas of health, nutrition, and medical research and education,” notes Dr. Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America. “Our objective is to give physicians and other healthcare professionals the culinary tools to translate the best of nutrition science into flavorful, well-prepared meals, in the hope that they will be inspired to pass this new understanding on to their patients.”

The next Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives leadership conference will be held October 4-7, 2007, at the CIA’s Greystone campus. For complete information about this educational initiative, including a list of companies supporting the conference with academic grants or participating as exhibitors, visit www.healthykitchens.org