Med students cook up community nutrition education

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | December 19, 2018

Image with caption: UNMC medical students Max Lydiatt (standing on right) and Elsa Parr (to the right of Lydiatt) teach Girls Inc. students in the teen cooking class about healthy eating using new food models purchased with money from a Nebraska Medicine Guild grant.

UNMC medical students Max Lydiatt (standing on right) and Elsa Parr (to the right of Lydiatt) teach Girls Inc. students in the teen cooking class about healthy eating using new food models purchased with money from a Nebraska Medicine Guild grant.

The College of Medicine is looking to increase nutrition education among students in an engaging way.

Some UNMC medical students recently took their health education skills to Girls Inc. Omaha, a local organization that provides mentoring and programming for school age girls.

The UNMC students, either as part of a rotation or as volunteers, taught Girls Inc. students in the teen cooking class about healthy eating using new food models. The models were purchased with a Nebraska Medicine Guild grant awarded to Steven Wengel, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for campus wellness for UNO and UNMC, and interim geriatric psychiatry division director.

To teach about healthy eating, students used the food models and interactive My Plate model. They also led a class that looked at ways to decrease the amount of calories consumed through drinks.

Hannah Stewart, volunteer coordinator for Girls Inc., said collaboration with medical students allows teens to see medical students as peers, as well as know that a future in medicine is not so far out of reach. "The UNMC students took part in the healthy cooking programming, which also gave the Girls Inc. students time to ask questions about medical school, hobbies, and life after school," she said.

Dr. Wengel said he is pleased with the results of the pilot project.

"Not only were the young women at Girls Inc. given some new and very practical skills to improve their own health, but as an unintended side benefit, our outstanding UNMC student volunteers also got a great deal of satisfaction, and dare I say joy, out of the experience," Dr. Wengel said. "Several wellness needs were met with this project. My hat is off to Dr. Susan Evans for her creativity and drive to improve the health of our community in this unique way."

Susan Evans, M.D. assistant professor of family medicine, who works on the project with the medical students, said she hope that other medical students will participate in the future.

"It's a great opportunity for medical students to teach young people about healthy eating. Girls Inc. will be a great opportunity for that," Dr. Evans said.

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UNMC Today Editor
December 20, 2018 at 9:12 AM

From Dr. Susan Evans: I collaborate with the registered dieticians at UNMC on other medical student teaching. However, this project is led by the two medical students pictured. The goal is to give medical students an opportunity to volunteer in their community while also increasing their knowledge about nutrition and their comfort level in counseling people about nutrition. I would be happy to share an article about the need to increase nutrition education in medical school.

Sandi Allbery
December 19, 2018 at 2:15 PM

Great job! We need to expand programs like these, such as teaching nutrition in high schools and to employees, as well as promoting these foods in our cafeterias.

Melonie Welsh
December 19, 2018 at 11:36 AM

Would there be interest in expanding this to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

Bill
December 19, 2018 at 11:26 AM

Just curious why this wasn't done with Registered Dietitians?

Tina
December 19, 2018 at 8:33 AM

It's wonderful to see our students sharing with our young people in a way that's different than the norm. Kudos!