By Kate Hunger
An interprofessional cooking and wellness program offered by the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and the San Antonio Food Bank inspired Lora George, a physician assistant studies student, to whip up a refreshing change to her daily hydration routine.
“I’m going to drink at least one per day,” George said of the aguas frescas, a type of fruity drink, and infused water recipes demonstrated during the lunchtime session. The classes are part of the Long School of Medicine’s Food Network series presented by the Office of Student Affairs in partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank.
Although the Long School of Medicine Food Network program is open to medical students, PA Studies students were invited as special guests to the September session. George and fellow first-year PA student Olivia Taylor came away with a renewed appreciation for the power of a good stretch and intentional self-care.
Participants were given kits ahead of the activity that included a water bottle, fresh herbs and a mandarin orange. During the call, chef educators from the San Antonio Food Bank shared tips on staying hydrated, how to practice mindfulness and how to stretch effectively. The information is key for students and future health care providers, Taylor said.
“As providers, we are focused on taking care of patients and not ourselves,” she said.
Providers can help their patients make healthy choices by doing so themselves, George said.
“If we instill it in our own lives, then when we are talking to patients we can say, ‘Here are some tips I’ve learned that are little things you can do that add up to a big change,’” she said.
Focusing on wellness helps students now and as future health care providers, said Roland Paquette, PA-C, assistant professor and associate academic coordinator in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
“These activities teach our students not only to fit mindfulness and wellness into their future schedules, but to destress and focus on something relaxing and fun now,” said Paquette, who also attended the session.
The Long School of Medicine Food Network launched in September of 2018. The series promotes “physical, social and financial well-being through educational and interactive cooking,” said one of the program organizers, Paulina Mazurek, EdD, director of wellness and professional formation in the Office of Undergraduate Education in the Long School of Medicine. “Students are introduced to nutrition education, kitchen safety, budget- and time-friendly meals while building community with their peers.”
The next Long School of Medicine Food Network event is scheduled for Oct. 28 during the ReDiscover Wellness Fair. School of Health Professions students will be invited to a future event, Dr. Mazurek said.