LEXINGTON, Ky. — The United Health Foundation says Kentucky is among the top 10 states in the U.S. with over 35% of its adults reporting having high-blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and more. 

With percentages above national averages among leading health conditions, there will soon be a culinary medicine class at the University of Kentucky.

What You Need To Know

  • A new nutritional food and health course is available at the University of Kentucky for its medical and other students.

  • Putting the course together is the University of Kentucky's nutritional expert professor Sarah Police with the help of long-time chef Tanya whitehouse.

  • The new course will be available in the spring of 2023.

Some studies suggest eating the right foods can help manage blood sugar or even lower cholesterol and UK nutritional science experts like Sara Police are hoping to expand on that thought.

“We call the lectures that I give the ‘biomedical bites’ and these lectures really try to explain the mechanism that underlies each nutritional recommendation that is covered for each specific health condition,” Police said about the course’s contents.   

Police is leading the university’s new culinary medicine class with the help of 16-year pro, gourmet chef Tanya Whitehouse. The 1-credit hour elective provides an evidence-based look at certain food’s direct impact, Police said.

Students can find Whitehouse in the classroom and at UK’s Food Connection showing health professionals recipes and skills, like using a red onion for its benefits.

The class is tailored for students to complete modules from home and through its other campuses in Bowling Green and northern Kentucky. 

“Because it is an online course, we had to develop some pieces. The culinary pieces had to be something that people can do on the other side of their screen.” Whitehouse explained. “Like putting together your smoothie for this particular kind of patient, or some of them are sliding recipes along a scale.”

With a long-term background and PhD in nutritional sciences and pharmacology, she says seeing this course come to life was truly a passion of hers from experience.

“Going through some personal health struggles about a decade ago, nutrition was absolutely critical at that time for me personally.” Police said. “It kind of helped me form this professional goal of promoting nutrition education and taking care of someone through their food to benefit their health outcomes.”

The online graduate certificate spans across the colleges of medicine, health science, agriculture, food and environmental studies. The course will be available for medical students this coming semester in the spring of 2023.