December 8, 2010
By Michelle Hauser
What if patients left the doctor’s office with a recipe for a flavorful stir-fry and a few new friends in addition to the usual prescription? As a culinary instructor turned medical student, I’m pretty excited about the idea.
This summer, Dr. Helen Delichatsios, an MGH primary care physician, and I attended a conference about shared medical appointments (SMAs), in which patients with similar medical conditions see a doctor as a group. Dr. Delichatsios and I had met because of our mutual interests in nutrition, cooking, and helping people make healthy lifestyle changes. We have taught cooking alongside nutrition together for the past few years. At the conference, we were struck by the idea of creating a modified version of the SMA for patients with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and weight issues that would pair a healthy cooking class with nutritional education.