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OU-Tulsa Students Teach Adaptive Healthy Cooking

OU-Tulsa Students Teach Adaptive Healthy Cooking

All people benefit from a healthy diet, but for people with disabilities, meal preparation and cooking often present added challenges.

Recognizing a need in the Tulsa community, occupational therapy student Reagan Collins and physical therapy student Hartley Bowman took action.

“One in four Americans have been diagnosed with a disability and those who have a disability are twice as likely to suffer from co-morbidities like diabetes and heart disease,” Bowman said. “These things could be lessened, improved or even prevented with a healthy diet.”

Working with OU Culinary Medicine to develop curriculum and design classes, they created Veggies for Life – a series of classes at Tulsa’s Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges that use hands-on nutrition, wellness and cooking education.

“The [center] members are able to see various equipment that they’re able to use that can help them cook in the home independently,” Collins said.

To implement the program, Collins and Bowman applied for and were awarded a Tulsa Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, a program dedicated to helping students build the necessary skills to address unmet health needs for underserved populations.

The students said the goal of Veggies for Life is to address the disparity between guidance and resources for the general population versus individuals with physical challenges.

“We wanted to offer a program [at the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges] that not only could help with increasing nutritional knowledge but getting our participants more comfortable and empowering them to be more independent in the kitchen,” Bowman said.

“Through the class, participants are able to familiarize themselves with various cooking tools that they can use to prepare meals in their homes independently,” Collins said.


By Bonnie Rucker

Article Published:  Wednesday, May 5, 2021