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Food as medicine: UC expands wellness and integrative medicine training

UC expands wellness and integrative medicine training (WKRC)
UC expands wellness and integrative medicine training (WKRC)
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CINCINNATI (WKRC) - With all the talk about changes in health care, there's likely never a time where preventing health problems may be more important.

The University of Cincinnati is following a growing trend across the country, trying to set the next generation of health care providers up for success when it comes to keeping you well.

They are now incorporating special training for medical students and current providers, which some patients say not only gives them better care, it also can help save their lives.

“I actually am a two-time cancer survivor,” said Carrie Hayden.

When Carrie Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, she turned to not just traditional cancer care, but also care in her own kitchen with food as “medicine.”

Now, she's a big fan of programs like the “Hands-on Health Care Provider Retreat” that teaches providers everything from better nutrition to meditation and message.

“It got me through chemo, it got me back to where I am today,” said Carrie.

Part of the vision is that the program actually translates into your care, so that the next time you see a health care provider they actually talk to you about working some of the practices into your own “healing.”

“I think it addresses a lot of things that aren't always taught but are incredibly important,” said first-year medical student Manoj Ambalavanan.

Manoj Ambalavanan is now invited to attend the wellness retreats as part of his training designed to help “Our providers to find ways creatively to integrate this into what they do every day,” said Dr. Sian Cotton, the Director of the Center for Health and Wellness and Integrative Medicine Program.

Dr. Sian Cotton helps coordinate the retreats.

“We get them into the kitchen with a chef and demystify the fact that you can cut and chop and make beautiful healthy food that's affordable and that's quick and healthy,” said Dr. Sian.

She calls this the “Spark Program.”

“It's to spark their interest early on and to also show them that science that nutrition and movement and stress reduction matters when it comes to obesity and cancer and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Sian.

For those such as Carrie Hayden, the additional spark can be life altering in so many ways.

“I am four years out, I'm healthy, I'm as strong as I was then and I'm really happy to be here,” said Carrie.

Now obviously the complimentary therapies are not new, but up until now they were not taught as an important part of medical healing and science.

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Teaching the therapies to medical providers is also another way to get support, for insurance reimbursement for patients as well.

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