SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. – Medical students from the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine visited Driswood Elementary School (DES) Friday as part of the MedCHEFS Program. In the MedCHEFS Program (Medical Curriculum in Health, Exercise and Food Science), medical students use interactive cooking demonstrations to educate the community on healthy nutrition, cooking techniques, and the health benefits of specific foods. The presentation to fifth-grade students was the finale of Red Ribbon Safety and Health Week at DES.
DES received a Farm to School grant from the Eastern Panhandle Farm to School Institute last year to build a school garden, Owl Home. The MedCHEFS used tomatoes from the school garden during their cooking demonstration on Friday. Inspiration for the partnership began during the WV Eastern Panhandle Farm to School Institute led by the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension, Jefferson GAP Coalition, and WVU Medicine. The collaboration with WVU has been a long-time goal for DES counselor Siri McDonald and principal Kelly Osborne. Dr. Rosemarie Cannarella-Lorenzetti, faculty at the WVU School of Medicine in the Eastern Panhandle, developed the MedCHEFS program and now runs a complete four-year Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track at the medical school alongside Dr. Madison Humerick. Ms. McDonald and Carla Toolan, Community and Research Programs Manager for WVU, developed the idea at the Eastern Panhandle Farm to School Institute and worked with Dr. Cannarella-Lorenzetti to bring the program to DES. The students working in the garden were thrilled to share their produce with classmates and learn more about the health benefits of the food they are growing.