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Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

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Identifying the recipe for success: can a new cooking class program in a community health center increase participation in existing center programs and build core skills to decrease food insecurity among low-income patients?

Many area households do not have enough access to healthy, affordable food. This food insecurity is associated with poverty and numerous health problems in both children and adults. Evidence suggests that teaching cooking skills can help people better manage food insecurity by teaching them how to better reduce food waste, budget and plan meals, and cook healthy meals with inexpensive ingredients.

In this new research partnership between Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS), the University of Michigan Medical School and the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, team members will collaboratively develop and pilot a new cooking skills intervention. The project aims to:

  • Understand financial barriers, skill deficits, and preferences associated with cooking meals at home among CHASS patients living in poverty.
  • Develop a new cooking skills intervention to address food insecurity.
  • Implement and evaluate the pilot cooking skills intervention.

The findings of this study will help guide future CHASS programs and research, and the project itself may help pave the way for future collaborations with the University of Michigan in this important area of research.

Julia A. Wolfson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Caroline Richardson, Dept. of Family Medicine, U-M Medical School
Richard Bryce, Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS)
Denise Pike, Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS)