Fulfillment in food: A pilot study of a culinary curriculum's impact on internal medicine resident burnout.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

J Gen Intern Med


Background: Burnout among medical residents is increasing, with residency programs seeking ways toaddress this challenge. While leisure cooking has been associated with lower burnout among practicing physicians and a number of burnout interventions have been shown to be effective among residents, no research to date has investigated the efficacy of a cooking class in reducing resident burnout. We hypothesized that an engaging culinary skills class intervention would increase cooking proficiency, encourage health be-haviors, and decrease resident burnout. Methods: With all internal medicine residents at our health system eligible, 8 participants enrolled in a 2-hour class of culinary instruction and hands-on cooking in small groups. Assessment surveys were completed immediately prior to, immediately following, and 6 weeks after the intervention. The baseline and 6 weeks post-intervention surveys included the Abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Secondary outcomes included within-subject improvements and sustainability of culinary knowledge, skills, and healthy cooking frequency. Results: All 8 participants completeda survey for each of the 3 time-points. The results showed immediately post-intervention increases in cooking knowledge (standardized mean difference 1.87 [95% confidence interval 1.12, 2.63]), skills (0.85 [0.19, 1.50]), confidence (1.39 [0.64, 2.14]), and motivation (0.85 [0.16, 1.53]) compared to baseline. There were no statistically significant differences between the post-intervention and 6 weeks post-intervention surveys. At 6 weeks post-intervention, residents reported (on a scale of 0-10) they'd used their new knowledge and skills to positively impact their health (mean 8.1 [95% confidence interval 6.4, 9.8]), wellness (7.8 [6.3, 9.3]), and burnout (7.3 [5.8, 8.8]). However, self-reported number of home-cooked versus pre-prepared meals eaten per week remained stable over time. Baseline scores (on a scale of 0-18) on the Abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory were found to be 5.1, 7.9, and 14.8 for depersonalization, emotional exhaus-tion, and personal accomplishment, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in these scores at 6 weeks post-intervention. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a resident cooking class may improve culinary knowledge, skills, and confidence and that these improve-ments may be retained over time. It may also improve healthy behaviors. Burnout indices did not improve; however, baseline burnout levels were low. More studies with a greater number of participants and an increased frequency of intervention should be conducted.





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