The Best Culinary Nutrition Programs: CCMS and HMF

The Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist (CCMS) designation was established by the North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME) and the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine (GCCM) at Tulane University to provide clinicians with the comprehensive knowledge and unique perspective to deliver the most informed, practical, and effective nutritional counseling for their patients. Certification as a culinary medicine specialist recognizes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, registered dietitians, and diabetes educators in the US and Canada.

Consultant360 recently spoke with Kristi Artz, MD, who is a practicing board certified emergency medicine doctor, a certified culinary medicine specialist (CCMS), and lead physician at Spectrum Health’s culinary medicine program in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about her experience with the CCMS program.

Consultant360: What was the deciding factor for you when enrolling in the certification program?
Kristi Artz: Culinary medicine is a growing field of evidence-based medicine, and I believe that proper training and certification is an important step to start a local program at an academic health system or medical school. Certification allows other physicians and health care systems to look to individuals who have obtained the CCMS as content experts in this field.

C360: How would you describe your overall experience with the CCMS curriculum and certification process?
KA: The curriculum is designed to be user friendly with easily accessible online content, including valuable lectures and scientific evidence.

C360: What was the most valuable educational piece of the CCMS curriculum?
KA: The hands-on sessions were the most valuable, as it is the core of the innovative approach taken by culinary medicine.

C360: What new opportunities has the CCMS certification opened for you?
KA: I have been able to start a culinary medicine program from the ground up at my local academic health system in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We have successfully launched a 2-week elective in culinary medicine for internal medicine and pediatric residents, and we have been asked to help train our cardiology fellows in culinary medicine as well. We have received funding for a pilot study, which will incorporate culinary medicine classes for heart failure patients with a goal of helping these patients improve the quality of their diet and thereby lessen their burden of disease.

C360: How has your education and daily practice changed or improved since becoming certified?
KA: Certification has allowed me to firmly incorporate culinary medicine to my daily practice, to educate other health professionals, and to help create a health-system-wide change in the way diet and nutrition is approached with patients.

C360: Why would you recommend this program to other health care professionals and colleagues?
KA: We need health care professionals now more than ever to know and understand the nutritional science, collaborate with our chef and dietitian colleagues, and create change on a large scale in order to begin to reverse the epidemic of diet-related chronic disease.

C360: If you could summarize your CCMS certification experience in a few words, what would that be?
KA: Informative, exciting, worthwhile

C360: What are your thoughts on the Health Meets Food conference that occurs in June in New Orleans?
KA: It is a fantastic opportunity to meet and interact with other like-minded individuals and to see the different iterations of how culinary medicine is being implemented at medical schools and health systems across the country. There is great collaboration between the partner sites, and we can all learn and grow from sharing our experiences. It is wonderful to see the rigorous research that is being conducted to continue to validate this growing field. The hands-on classes are valuable, as there is plenty of learning and interaction that occurs during these sessions.