What’s Working: Teaching Good Nutrition to Fight Cancer

In tonight’s What’s Working we are focusing on a new program at the Mitchell Cancer Institute that puts food front and center in the fight against cancer. It’s called the Center for Culinary Medicine. The Mitchell Cancer Institute is the first cancer center in the state to start this program that combines food and medicine.

The goal of the program is to teach medical students, nurses, and physicians the techniques used in healthy cooking, so that they can educate their patients. Dr. Mike Finan, Executive Director of the Mitchell Cancer Institute, believes that nutrition must be incorporated into cancer treatment. “Cancer is related to obesity and poor nutritional choices in many cases. Colon cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer…those are all obesity-related cancers.”

The program is being modeled after one at Tulane University, where doctors and nurses are being educated in the kitchen, on how to get patients to change their eating habits. At Tulane, the program is a curriculum that is incorporated in medical student education. Also, the University holds cooking classes for people in the community who are trying to eat better. MCI has reached out to physicians in the Mobile area, such as Dr. Robert Israel, who practices at Providence Hospital. Dr. Israel has an interest teaching people about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. He says, “I have been trying to tell patients about this. I have seen patients on the verge of diabetes get normal sugars, better blood pressures, through healthy eating.”
The Center for Culinary Medicine is just getting off the ground at the Mitchell Cancer Institute. It should be up and running in the next month or so. If you are interested in learning more about the program that MCI is modeling theirs after, click here. The link is for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University.  Also, if you would like more information about MCI’s program, contact Margaret Murray at (251)445-9810.


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