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Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative recognized at Teaching Kitchen Research Conference

The first cohort of Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative participants began their journey together toward better health in 2019. A new cohort will launch in 2021, with two information sessions scheduled in January.

Research findings from the Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative (EHKC) were recognized as the best oral abstract presented during the 2020 Teaching Kitchen Research Conference in November. The conference, organized by Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, focuses on original research involving teaching kitchens and their potential to positively impact behaviors, relevant biomarkers and clinical outcomes as well as reduce costs.

A new kind of worksite-wellness program, EHKC launched in 2019 for Emory employees, with participants learning to take steps toward better health through a combination of lectures, cooking demonstrations, skill-building activities and group discussions about nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. 

The program also was a research vehicle, with Sharon Bergquist, medical director of Emory Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness, tracking participant data and lifestyle changes as part of a clinical trial.

“I'm absolutely honored to receive this recognition on behalf of my colleagues,” said Bergquist. “Our whole team is really a testament that the sum is greater than our parts. I'd also like to share this recognition with the Ardmore Institute of Health, whose support turned our little idea into a big institutional collaborative.”

“I think that sets a standard for what future studies will need to look like as we develop them and hopefully grow them into multisite studies nationally and internationally,” said David Eisenberg, associate professor of nutrition at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health and executive director of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative.

When considering the program’s biggest takeaways, Bergquist noted that EHKC “broke down silos across our institution. It brought together our faculty from various departments including the school of public health, our graduate school, our school of medicine, university dining and our wellness benefits manager. It was such a cross-collaborative endeavor. And it really showed how to galvanize the resources of an organization for a greater good. It was extremely well received and was a tremendous experience for us.”

EHKC will resume in 2021 with a virtual format, thanks to continued grant support from Ardmore Institute of Health. Two information sessions are planned for employees who are interested in learning more:

EHKC is offered through Emory Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness. Visit their website for more information on all programs or visit Healthy Emory for more details on EHKC 2021.

View the conference PowerPoint, “Evaluation of the Emory Healthy Kitchen Collaborative’s Multidisciplinary Teaching Kitchen Self-Care Curriculum,” here.  

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