Culinary Medicine Course Selected for 2024 Frymoyer Scholars Program

June 20, 2024 by Janet Essman Franz

Medical students Molly Hurd and Sarah Krumholz, and Alyssa Tenney, Aassistant Professor of Family Medicine Whitney Calkins, M.D., and chef educator Christina Vollbrecht were selected as 2024 Frymoyer Scholars. The scholarship supports development of a culinary medicine course that provides future doctors with skills and confidence to discuss nutrition and food access in patient care settings.

The 2024 Frymoyer Scholarship supports a new course based on a pilot culinary medicine course offered in 2023. Students that participated in the pilot included (left to right): Oliver Koch, Isaac Sellinger, Raihan Kabir, and Kyra Weaver.

A course developed by medical students to teach fellow medical students about nutritional interventions for chronic disease was the sole project selected to receive 2024 Frymoyer Scholars funding. The funding will allow the scholars to integrate nutrition and culinary information into the medical school curriculum and provide future doctors the skills, confidence, and language needed to discuss nutrition and food access within patient care settings using a culinary medicine approach.

The scholarship team includes Whitney Calkins, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine; Class of 2026 students Molly Hurd, Sarah Krumholz, and Alyssa Tenney; and Christina Vollbrecht, chef educator on the Culinary Medicine team at the UVM Medical center. The project, titled “A Multimodal Approach to Bridging Gaps in Nutrition Education: A Culinary Medicine Experience,” aims to develop medical students’ aptitude in nutrition and meal preparation to be able to guide future patients toward healthy food choices in the context of social determinants of health and food access.

The project is based on a course that Hurd and Krumholz piloted in fall 2023 as co-leaders of the Lifestyle Medicine Student Interest Group at UVM. Hurd and Krumholz recognized the gap in nutrition education during medical school (currently at under 20 hours nationally over four years) and understood the value of including nutrition in medical education. The pair worked with Calkins, who serves as the interest group’s faculty advisor, to design and implement a pilot class for first year medical students. The course, called Cooking with the Curriculum, launched in fall 2023 with 28 first-year medical students enrolled. close up of several people's arms and hands passing each other bowls filled with orange sweet potatoes, green kale and black beans

“It was remarkably successful, and we are inspired to find ways to both continue and to expand upon their pilot,” Calkins wrote in the scholarship application. “A critical component of this grant will be creating an evidence-based curriculum, rooted in Lifestyle and Culinary Medicine, to teach current and future medical students. It is crucial that we train and upskill future physicians to provide essential guideline-based nutrition information to their future patients.”

Administered by the Teaching Academy and supported by a philanthropic fund, the Frymoyer Scholars Program aims to recognize outstanding medical education and promote teaching that emphasizes the art of patient care. This fund supports interprofessional education and practice and provides funding for physicians and nurses who are actively engaged in teaching UVM medical and nursing students and who embody the best qualities of the clinician-teacher.

Individuals selected as Frymoyer Scholars are awarded up to $25,000 a year for two years to develop innovative educational products or programs and/or to improve their teaching skills and in turn the relationship between clinician and patient. These funds should be used to complete a project or take courses in faculty development/bedside teaching that might not otherwise be done due to lack of funding.

Learn more about the Culinary Medicine course.

Learn more about the Frymoyer Scholars Program.

About the Frymoyer Fund
The Frymoyer Fund pays tribute to the deep legacy of the late John Frymoyer, M.D., dean of UVM’s College of Medicine from 1991 to 1999, and his wife Nan, a community health nurse who had a strong interest in patient advocacy. The fund was established in 2000 through generous donations from J. Warren and Lois McClure, the Frymoyers, and many others who wanted to honor John and Nan, including the Larner College of Medicine Alumni Association.