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UTHSC and UT Introduce Culinary Medicine Program to Knoxville Health Care Community

In an effort to spread the message that healthful eating is a key to overall good health, the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will host a continuing education class in culinary medicine for health care professionals Saturday, August 27, in Knoxville.

Introduction to Culinary Medicine, the first class of its kind in Knoxville, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UT’s Culinary Institute, 2712 Neyland Drive. The cost is $200 and participants will receive 4.5 hours of continuing medical education credit. Registration is available at

Group of female students cutting up bell peppers to be used in culinary medicine class

Participants prepare ingredients for a culinary medicine class

The class will employ the same Health Meets Foodnull curriculum that the UTHSC College of Medicine uses to train students and residents. The program was developed to change the narrative between health care professionals and their patients about food. Susan Warner, the college’s Culinary Medicine program director, said the curriculum is suitable for physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dietitians, educators, and anyone who wants to be more knowledgeable about cooking and eating more healthfully as a route to better overall health.

The curriculum includes instruction in basic nutrition principles and culinary skills as well as information on how fresh food prepared healthfully can be used to prevent, improve, or reverse chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It merges medical science, evidence-based nutrition, and culinary skills to encourage healthy lifestyles for both health care professionals and their patients and clients.

Organizers of the Knoxville program include Warner; Brynn Voy, interim head of the Department of Nutrition in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and professor of animal science in the UT Institute of Agriculture; and Tyler White, program manager in the UT Culinary Institute.

Voy said the Department of Nutrition’s mission is essentially to optimize health and well-being through diet. “Training health professionals in culinary medicine through events like this continuing education course will expand the tool kit that we can use to accomplish this mission,” she said.

Warner led the introduction of the Culinary Medicine program in the College of Medicine more than five years ago. It has become so popular with medical students that demand has outpaced capacity. Proceeds from the upcoming class will support the Culinary Medicine program for medical students at UTHSC.

The class is an example of the collaborations across institutions in the UT System that are helping to improve the lives of Tennessee citizens. “The goal is to train the trainer,” Warner said. “Teaching health care professionals the basics of healthful eating equips them to encourage their patients to cook and eat more healthfully.”


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Peggy Reisser (901-448-4072,