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OCIH and CT partnered on the delivery of Cooking Up Health to the first cohort of medical students in January-March 2017, and then after revisions based on stakeholder feedback to 2 more cohorts in fall of 2017 and 2018. Since the initial pilot, the elective has been offered at Northwestern 7 times, engaging 66 medical students and 340 Chicago Public School students. These students taught the Common Bites curriculum to approximately 320 grade school children from underserved communities.


Our data shows that over the course of the elective medical students showed statistically significant increased confidence in nutrition and obesity counseling and improved attitudes about the importance of nutrition counseling in patient care. Moreover, students showed increases in their own cooking confidence, increased intake of vegetables and fruits and decreased meat consumption.

We have presented the pilot data and overviews of our innovative curriculum at numerous academic conferences, and published outcomes data in a peer-reviewed journal in October 2018.

In response to inquiries, we hosted two Train-the-Trainer workshops in 2018 and 2019, teaching 26 faculty from a total of 14 other institutions across the country how to launch Cooking Up Health.

Requests from outside medical schools and community programs to implement our course led to our pilot faculty training in 2018, and plan for future training to allow this model to propagate to other health schools. By disseminating this work, we believe we can impact on the nutrition-competence of our future healthcare providers, the wellness of students during their rigorous training, and improve the nutrition and health of children and families in surrounding communities. In addition, we have co-authored several grant proposals in an effort to secure ongoing funding to support the growth of our partnership.


As an additional successful outcome, in 2018 Cooking Up Health was awarded The Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) Community Engaged Research Partnership Award, which recognizes research partnerships that exemplify strong collaborative research principles and are working to
impact the health of their community.


Lastly, Common Threads established a new medical advisory board based in part on this successful academic-community collaboration to further explore ways to partner on our shared mission.

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