The MedChefs – Updated

Mission:

imageedit_15_5293978985.png  MedChef is an organization of healthcare students and professionals who are committed to fighting preventable diseases through learning the art of plant-based cooking and sharing that knowledge with the community.

Presented in a series of private cooking classes called The MedChef’s Kitchen, healthcare students and professionals learn the importance for providers to pursue personal health and become role models to their community. In this organization, we strive to change the landscape of a patient’s health through our example.

We were honored to host a presentation by Alexis at our September 9 Plant Strong Club meeting and her father was kind enough to create a video and post it to YouTube: https://youtu.be/4YPiQH0P5ME . Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheMedChefs/

About

Hi! I’m Alexis Jae Brown and am currently in school to become a medical physician and obtain my masters in Public Health, but I’m also a plant-based foodie and self proclaimed MedChef! 

My Story

I have been eating a pescatarian diet (that’s no meat other than fish) for over 12 years and after years of cooking classes, internships and old-fashioned experimentation, I’ve learned so much about preparing mostly plant-based meals. As I’ve experienced better health personally and started medical school, I decided to base my future career on bettering the health of my patients with not just medications but through an emphasis on lifestyle changes (i.e. diet, exercise, and stress management).

The Aha! Moment

I started the MedChef organization after realizing many of my fellow med school peers were intrigued by my mostly plant-based lifestyle and had desires of their own to begin a more healthful life. I then began inviting classmates into my kitchen to learn how to prepare simple meals easily and on a budget.

How We’ve Evolved

Interest in these private cooking classes increased so much that I called it The MedChef’s Kitchen and made it an official reoccurring cooking series which includes workshops led by healthcare professionals, hands on cooking demonstrations, culinary tips and more!

Who We Serve

The MedChef’s Kitchen cooking series has a target audience of current and budding healthcare professionals who are interested in living a healthier lifestyle. However, the lessons learned in the kitchen are meant to share with the community.

What We Offer

On this site, you will find the recipes that have been created with people leading a busy schedule in mind.

Continue: Home | The MedChef’s Kitchen

UAMS Mindfulness Program

Welcome to the UAMS Mindfulness Program!

Thank you for your interest in the Mindfulness program. We encourage you to carefully consider participating in this unique and life-changing program. The courses are designed to introduce Mindfulness meditation practice as a way of reducing stress and developing greater balance, control and fuller participation in your life. Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life including the challenges of stress, pain, illness, and everyday demands.

We are dedicated to teaching mindfulness and supporting the growth of mindfulness-based resources in our community. We are actively seeking additional ways to share mindfulness as a healing resource for people throughout our community, and we appreciate your help and support in bringing this work to those it might not reach otherwise.

All classes are open to everyone and we hope you will join us!

Source: UAMS Mindfulness Program

UAMS Student Wellness Program

 

Healthy nutrition is a vital component of wellness. What we eat plays an important role in physical and emotional health. For those of us in the health professions, this is even more important because we bear responsibility for educating our patients on healthy nutrition.

Chronic diseases – including heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. Arkansas has the sixth highest obesity rate in the US at 34.5 percent. There is a large body of evidence implicating diet and lifestyle as major contributing factors; factors that can be modified. There is also a growing body of evidence and interest in the role of food and diet in the management of chronic diseases. Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. While our students are taught about the importance of diet and its impact on various diseases, these topics are usually presented in an ad hoc manner depending on the disease or system that is being covered. Our goal is to provide the future health care providers of Arkansas with an integrated overview of the importance of nutritional wellness to foster their interest in this topic. Armed with this knowledge, they can utilize a more holistic approach to correct imbalances that underlie chronic diseases.

Group posing in kitchenWith this in mind, the SWP has been promoting nutritional wellness through cooking lessons for our medical students at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute of Arkansas (Culinary Institute), Little Rock under the guidance of Dr. Meenaskhi Budhraja since Fall of 2017. In addition to learning about healthy nutrition, these lessons provide a wonderful venue for socialization, team building, de-stressing, and developing an interest in cooking; something that the SWP would also like to promote. The SWP obtained a grant from the Medical Education Foundation of Arkansas (MEFFA) to support this activity this year. The MEFFA funds were used to introduce medical students to the concept of culinary medicine (“Food as Medicine”) through a “hands on” three-hour cooking session where they prepared a healthy meal at the Culinary Institute. We have held four separate cooking lessons with 25 participants each for a total of 100 this fall. From the feedback and evaluations, students have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, reporting how it has expanded their awareness of healthy nutrition and that healthy food does taste good. They reported a better understanding of the importance of nutrition for their own wellness as well as the joy of cooking.

While these lessons were largely focused for medical students, the SWP held a separate cooking lesson with a theme of the “Kitchen Pharmacy” for the Student Leadership Council of the College of Pharmacy with the gracious support of Dr. Schwanda Flowers, Associate Dean. The feedback from this event was also very enthusiastic. For the coming year, the SWP plans to explore funding opportunities to expand this program to students from the other UAMS colleges. (See photos below)

Dr. Meenakshi BuddhrajaDr. Meenakshi Buddhraja is a gastroenterologist practicing in Little Rock for over 25 years, and over the last 10 years has been actively involved in promoting healthy nutrition in the community. She is an honorary faculty at the Culinary Institute where she teaches a course on healthy nutrition to culinary students. Over the past two years, Dr. Buddhraja in collaboration with the medical student led Integrative Medicine Interest Group has been offering these ‘hands on’ immersive classes specifically designed for our medical students.  Dr. Buddhraja and her nutritionist give didactic lectures.  She schedules the cooking lessons at the Culinary Institute. Students (n=25 at a time) who have signed up present to the facility at the designated time.  There is a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation about healthy nutrition. Dr. Buddhraja and her team have menus with written recipes for a healthy, nutritious meal, and the required ingredients, spices, and condiments ready in each cooking station. She provides general instructions about the menu and the dietary benefits. The students break out into groups, go to the cooking station of their choice, and start preparing the dishes. Dr. Buddhraja, her nutritionist, and other members of her team supervise and provide necessary guidance to the students as they prepare the food. When all the dishes are prepared, the students gather together for a moment of mindfulness and share the meal together. The feedback from participating students has been universally positive.

Continue reading here: Nutritional Wellness – Student Wellness

UAMS Spearheads Project to Increase Healthy Options at Food Pantries

By David Wise

March 11, 2019 | FAYETTEVILLE – Three local food pantries that participated in a study with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) increased their distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables by more than three servings per person per household.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 5 percent of all U.S. households reported using a food pantry in 2017. Additional research shows that the nutritional quality of pantry food is inadequate for a healthy diet and that pantry clients’ fruit and vegetable consumption falls short of recommendations. People who experience food insecurity are also at increased risk for diabeties, hypertention and obesity. A diet rich in fruits and vegrables is important to addressing these cardiometabolic diseases.

UAMS researchers are evaluating ways to improve the nutritional quality of foods distributed by food pantries. In an article in “Preventing Chronic Disease,” researchers from the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus published their results, which showed an increase from 0.22 to 3.33 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed per person per household.

“A surprising finding was that at the beginning of the project, we determined that more than 99 percent of the fresh fruit and vegetables distributed from these pantries were apples,” said Chris Long, Ph.D., assistant professor and senior director of research. “However, at our follow-up evaluation, there was much greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. At the follow-up, there were 29 percent strawberries, 13.6 percent tomatoes, 13.5 percent onions, 10.6 percent apples and 33.2 percent other fruits and vegetables.”

These results were due to policy, systems and environmental changes that were implemented at the three participating food pantries. The changes included the development of food donation lists that requested healthier options from donors, educational materials and recipes in English, Spanish and Marshallese (the primary language for most Pacific Islander clients of the pantries), approaches to displaying and distributing educational materials and recipes to clients and discussions across pantries to share ideas about sourcing healthy foods.

The researchers acknowledged that one limitation of the study included the small number of pantries evaluated due to the time investment required to capture, process and analyze this first-of-its-kind data set of nutrient information for food distributed to about 1,500 client household members.

“This study shows the promise of food pantry interventions to increase fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Long. “We are building on those successes to develop more comprehensive interventions to more broadly support pantry clients’ health. Future efforts will include a wider range of policies and procedures and include partnerships with food banks, which is where pantries get much of the food they distribute.”

Pearl McElfish Ph.D., vice chancellor of the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, said that “this research is part of the UAMS Northwest Campus’ commitment to creating a healthy food system in Northwest Arkansas that supports all residents in living healthy and long lives. At UAMS, we want to ensure we are helping those who need health care and also helping people stay well so that they don’t need to go to the hospital.”

The UAMS research was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program.

The article, titled “Intervention to Improve Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Among Arkansas Food Pantry Clients,” can be found online at https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2019/18_0155.htm. The researchers and co-authors include Chris Long, Ph.D.; Brett Rowland, M.A.; and Pearl A. McElfish, Ph.D.


UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube or Instagram.

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UAMS Spearheads Project to Increase Healthy Options at Food Pantries

Sally the Robot Now Serving Custom Salads at UAMS – UAMS News

By Liz Caldwell

Feb. 13, 2019 | A robot named Sally — the first robot of its kind in the industry — is making customized salads 24 hours a day at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), providing guests and employees with a healthy meal option to meet individual needs.

Sally was installed Jan. 30 in the Lobby Café and has averaged 65 salads a day. Customers can choose from 22 ingredients, including roasted chicken, carrots, broccoli, two kinds of cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Two kinds of dressing are offered – ranch and balsamic vinegar, with plans to rotate fresh dressings.

The robot has proved an immediate success, said Tonya Johnson, director of UAMS Nutrition Services, and has to be refilled several times a day.

“We were overwhelmed with the response,” Johnson said. “We expected to sell about 35-40 a day, but from the very first day people have been enthusiastic about choosing a salad where they can get the ingredients they want.”

Each entrée-sized salad is $7.99. Users can fine-tune the calorie total by adding or subtracting ingredients as well as view full nutritional details for each selection. Ingredients are separated by canisters and replenished on a regular basis. This reduces the risk of foodborne illness and ingredient cross-contamination.

The robot is 3 foot by 3 foot and made by Chowbotics, a Silicon Valley-based food robotics company. UAMS is the third hospital to use Sally the robot. The others are Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Ind., and Erlanger Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“Because it’s interactive, it encourages people to eat more healthfully,” Johnson said. “Customers like the touchscreen and watching the ingredients being added to the bowl.”

Johnson had wanted to add a salad bar to the Lobby Café, but space and logistics made it unfeasible. She heard of the robot and upon inquiry, Chowbotics sent one to UAMS as a demo. UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, knew immediately after seeing a demonstration that it was something he wanted visitors and employees to be able to have.

“Sally’s fresh salads are an ideal alternative to a salad bar and fit perfectly with UAMS’ mission to promote a healthier lifestyle,” Patterson said.

Sally the Robot Now Serving Custom Salads at UAMS – UAMS News

Also recently spotted at UAMS: