Margaret Raber, UT School of Public Health

I will undertake a community-based participatory cooking class project to promote healthy nutrition and food knowledge in diverse communities in Houston.

My name is Maggie Raber, I am a doctoral student at the University of Texas School of Public Health. My research is focused on healthy cooking programming and assessment tools. My community service project will be the development and implementation of community-based participatory research style cooking classes that utilize an evidence-based model of healthy cooking I developed for my MPH thesis. The goals of this project are two-fold. Firstly, I would like to offer practical nutrition education through these cooking classes that focus on skill development rather than academic nutrition. Cooking at home has been associated with better diet quality and health outcomes, has been used as occupational therapy and is also considered a skill for independent living. Secondly, I hope to apply these cooking classes in a diverse set of populations in order to test the flexibility of the model I developed for my thesis project. This model has the potential to become a dynamic, evidence-based curriculum for healthy cooking classes (the majority of which are currently not-evaluated nor evidence based). I am excited to be joining this set of fellows and I am so looking forward to hearing about all of your projects and experiences. One of my major motivations for joining this program was to gain insight into other diverse populations from the other fellows and gain knowledge from your peer-mentorship. If any of your communities need cooking classes, feel free to reach out!