Exploring the effectiveness of virtual and in-person instruction in culinary medicine: a survey-based study.

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BACKGROUND: Culinary medicine, which has recently increased in popularity in medical education, incorporates food and nutritional interventions with principles of disease prevention and treatment. The ultimate goal is to improve overall health outcomes. The growing prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases indicates the need for physicians to have a deeper understanding of the interplay between nutrition and disease. Incorporating culinary medicine into medical education can equip medical students with the necessary skills and knowledge to promote better patient outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate students' perceptions of their foundational knowledge of a culinary medicine course after completion of the course for first- and second-year medical students at the PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine). We will also examine the difference between methods of instruction in relation to constructs discussed of knowledge gained and enjoyment of the course.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort study was conducted using SurveyMonkey by Momentive. Data were collected from osteopathic medical students who enrolled in a culinary medicine course at the PCOM from 2018 to 2022 through the completion of a post-course survey. The methods of instruction included either a virtual or in-person classroom. The statistical analysis for this study was conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics version 28. To compare methods of instruction, the statistical analyses used included descriptive statistics, chi-square analysis, one-way ANOVA, and independent sample one-sided t tests.

RESULTS: A total of 360 out of 430 participants, spanning the years 2018 to 2022, completed the course requirements and participated in the online survey. There was a valid sample size of 249 for the in-person group and 111 for the virtual instruction group. The knowledge gained construct consisted of five survey questions, for a total possible score of 25, while the enjoyment construct consisted of two questions, for a total possible score of 10. A statistically significant difference in knowledge gained was identified by one-way ANOVA, F (4,355) = 3.853, p =.004. Additionally, there was a statistically significant difference in enjoyment of the course between class years, F (4,356) = 11.977, p

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study suggest that overall, students were highly satisfied with the Culinary Medicine course over a five-year period. The study suggested that students who participated in in-person courses benefitted more than did the virtual students in terms of knowledge gained and enjoyment. The 360 students who completed the Culinary Medicine course were highly satisfied with the information and skills they acquired.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 13 2024

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