Our vision is to provide medical students with innovative, interprofessional and community-based learning opportunities in wellness and integrative medicine, as well as to promote both individual and public health improvements across diverse populations.

Students admitted to the Wellness, Integrative Medicine and Nutrition Certificate of Distinction will deepen their understanding of the social, structural, behavioral and lifestyle determinants of health. They will partake in a comprehensive four-year curriculum, gaining knowledge in nutrition, culinary medicine, lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine, public health policies, and social and structural determinants of health.

The program also includes hands-on experiences in community-based learning to serve the needs of underserved populations. Students will engage in interprofessional learning opportunities and participate in community projects, allowing them to understand the root causes of health disparities — such as food insecurity — and their impact on patients and communities.

Program Objectives

  • To enable students to apply motivational interviewing skills during clinical encounters as a means of facilitating positive behavioral changes to optimize patient health and wellness. 
  • To help students understand the science of epigenetics and the role of social determinants of health in determining health outcomes. 
  • To distinguish participating students with unique knowledge and understanding of the fields of culinary medicine, preventive medicine (including all levels of prevention), integrative medicine and lifestyle medicine. 
  • To train students with the knowledge and skills to develop food, exercise and lifestyle prescriptions as part of their clinical practice. 
  • To provide students with community immersion learning experiences through their service to underserved neighborhoods and patients to improve health and wellness at the individual and community levels. 
  • To facilitate student learning by connecting them with community partners and collaborators — such as local chefs, farmers, non-profit service organizations and schools — as part of the statewide UArizona Culinary Medicine Initiative.  
  • To develop community-responsive physicians with advocacy skills and an understanding of social and structural determinants of health, community resources and public health policies, as well as to analyze their impact on patients, families and communities.
  • To help students develop leadership skills to better serve patients and communities through service and community engagement.
  • To engage students in interprofessional learning opportunities that include learners from other health professional programs including but not limited to dietetics, nursing, pharmacy and public health. 
  • To empower participating students to achieve personal wellness through optimal self-care and balance, and to encourage them to take a proactive role in promoting wellness to their peers and future patients.