Third-year medical student Luke Cox says his experience in the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track at the West Virginia University School of Medicine has completely changed the way he views medicine.
“When I see a patient now, my first thought is focused on how they can make sustainable lifestyle changes to positively impact their health, whether independently, or in conjunction with other medical interventions,” Cox explained. “I’ve found this approach to be really beneficial to me as a physician-in-training, and to my patients.”
Exercise and wellness have always been a large part of Cox’s life, leading to him majoring in exercise physiology and minoring in nutrition as an undergraduate student at WVU. His passion for these areas eventually led to Cox applying to medical school. Upon being accepted to the WVU School of Medicine, Cox said he knew immediately that he wanted to apply to the Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Track.
“I’m very passionate about preventative medicine as a whole, and implementing a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent future disease. I knew enrolling in the track would be a great way for me to build upon the skills I would need in order to emphasize healthy living on my future patients and help them achieve their goals,” Cox said.
Cox said that in addition to learning how to help patients make better choices, the track has led to him making positive changes in his own health as well. He credited these changes to positively affecting not only his physical health but his mental health as well.
“Good physical health can lead to good mental health,” Cox said. “Because of the positive changes I’ve made in my personal life, I’ve been able to thrive during my education so far. A healthy lifestyle has helped me adapt to the rigorous schedule of medical school.”
A main goal of the CMLT is to shine a light on how many of the leading causes of death in the United States, such as heart disease and diabetes, can be mitigated by positive lifestyle modifications. Cox said this message also resonated with him.
“Regardless of which area of medicine you specialize in, patients benefit from having a physician willing to counsel them on how to realistically achieve a healthier lifestyle,” Cox explained
He added that though he is still not sure what exactly the future holds for him as a medical professional, that he is sure he will be able to utilize the tools and knowledge he has learned through the CLMT throughout his career.
“I’m not sure exactly where my career will take me over the next five-to-ten years, but I do know that no matter where I go, emphasizing a healthy lifestyle among my patients and in my own life will always be a major focus for me,” Cox said.