Nutrition & Culinary Medicine Curriculum

Teaching Nutrition and Culinary Medicine

At the CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (CHSU-COM), we believe we can help improve the health of our community by educating our medical students and others in the Central Valley on healthy eating and nutrition. It is so important that we incorporated it into our COM curriculum where our medical students will learn the basics of nutrition and culinary medicine through team-based learning applications, case studies, and hands-on cooking classes in our Teaching Kitchen in our CHSU-COM building.

Our brand new Teaching Kitchen will allow for hands-on learning and large group demonstrations and is equipped with equipment similar to a home kitchen so students and the community can have a realistic, hands-on experience preparing healthy meals that they can recreate at home. Fresh and locally sourced food from the agriculturally rich and diverse Central Valley will be used whenever possible so healthy meals prepared in the Teaching Kitchen align with available resources, dietary preferences and cultural traditions.

“Our role at the medical school is to train future doctors while educating the community on healthy eating, which will help future generations make better choices,” says John Graneto, DO, MEd, Dean of College of Osteopathic Medicine.

CHSU-COM Teaching Kitchen News

News articleCHSU Teaching Kitchen Featured in The Business Journal

The CHSU Teaching Kitchen was featured in the May 29, 2020 edition of The Business Journal, covering business news in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. Get an exclusive look at the new facility and how nutrition is integrated into the College of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum.

Read the full article.


Meet our Nutrition Team
Emily Johnston

Emily Johnston, PhD, MPH, RDN

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Education

Dr. Johnston is a registered dietitian, holds a doctoral degree in nutrition and is currently pursuing a Culinary Medicine Specialist certification. With extensive experience in teaching culinary medicine classes to medical students and residents, she leads the CHSU-COM culinary medicine classes.



Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University

M.P.H, Health Education and Behavioral Science, Rutgers University

B.S., Nutrition and Dietetics, UNC Greensboro


Registered Dietitian (CDR)

Certified Diabetes Educator (NCBDE)

Most recent teaching experience:

Instructor of Nutrition Applications for a Healthy Lifestyle, Penn State College of Medicine

Most recent publications and presentations:

Johnston EA, Petersen KS, Kris-Etherton PM. Daily Intake of Non-fried Potato Does Not Affect Markers of Glycemia and is Associated with Better Diet Quality Compared with Refined Grains: A Randomized Crossover Study in Healthy Adults. Br. J. Nutr.2020. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114520000252.

Beasley JM, Sardina P, Johnston EA, Ganguzza L, Padikkala J, Bagheri A, Jones S, Gianos E. Integrating a diet quality screener into a cardiology practice: assessment of nutrition counseling, cardiometabolic risk factors, and patient/provider satisfaction. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. 2020;0:1–7. doi:10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000046.

Johnston E, Mathews T, Aspry K, Aggarwal M, Gianos E. Strategies to Fill the Gaps in Nutrition Education for Health Professionals through Continuing Medical Education. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2019; 21: 13.

Johnston EA, Tindall AM, Petersen KS, Kris-Etherton PM. The effect of nuts on markers of glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. AJCN. 2019;109 (2): 297–314.

Johnston EA, Beasley JM, Jay MR, Weidemer J, Kris-Etherton PM. Practical Nutrition for the Primary Care Provider: A Pilot Test. Med Sci Educ. 2019; 29: 363-373.

Harkin N, Johnston E, Mathews T, Guo Y, Schwartzbard A, Berger J, Gianos E. Physicians’ Dietary Knowledge, Attitudes, and Counseling Practices: The Experience of a Single Health Care Center at Changing the Landscape for Dietary Education. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2018; 13 (3): 292-300.

Davidson P, Johnston E. Crowdsourcing 101: Implications for Healthcare Providers. On the Cutting Edge, Diabetes Care and Education. 2016; 37(2): 33-38.

Contact Information

Phone: 559-712-4168


Avtar Nijjer Sidhu

Avtar Nijjer-Sidhu, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor, Primary Care

Dr. Nijjer-Sidhu holds a doctoral degree in nutrition sciences, and teaches the CHSU Health Systems Science course. She guides medical students to develop quality improvement initiatives for federally qualified health centers to improve health outcomes. Dr. Nijjer-Sidhu has taught cooking classes in the community and at food banks to expand upon community health and wellness through healthy eating.



Ph.D., Nutrition Sciences, University of California, Davis

B.S., Dietetics, University of California, Davis


Registered Dietitian

Most recent publications /presentations:

Presentation at the November 2019 American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting titled “Lesson Learned from Home-Based Medicaid Programs and Activities.”

Contact Information

Phone: 559-712-4162


Sara Goldgraben

Sara Goldgraben, MD, MPH, MBA

Assistant Professor, Specialty Medicine

Dr. Goldgraben is a board certified preventive medicine and public health physician who will be teaching hands-on classes in the teaching kitchen. Nutrition is an integral component of prevention, and students will learn about this, as well as other behaviors, like smoking cessation and physical activity in their coursework.



M.D., New York Medical College
M.P.H., Stony Brook University
M.B.A., Stony Brook University
B.E., Stony Brook University


American Board of Preventive Medicine, General Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Most recent teaching experience:

Gave Grand Rounds presentation to physicians and residents on Overview of Death Certificates at University California San Francisco, Fresno

Conducted nine GME/CME presentations on delivering high-quality colorectal cancer screening services to physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, and preventive medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center and at UC San Diego.

Most recent publications / presentations:

Goldgraben S, Johnston E, Bedi K, Chun L, et al.  2020, ‘Integration of Community Health and Prevention Topics in an Osteopathic Medical School Curriculum’, MedEdPublish, 9, [1], 99,

Public Health Update: The Power of Prevention, pp. 44 – 45. April 30, 2019 Central Valley Physicians—Fresno, Madera, and Kings Counties. Spring 2019.

Goldgraben S, Cavanagh M, Messina C, Taylor J, Lane D.  Poster Presentation: Factors Influencing Utilization of a Smoking Cessation Clinic by Women Veterans Compared with Men Veterans. American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) 2016, Washington DC.  Department of Family, Population, & Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook Medicine, NY, Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NY.  February 2016.

Contact Information

Phone: 559-712-4164Email:


Samuel Kadavakollu, PhD, MSc

Samuel Kadavakollu, PhD, MSc

Associate Professor, Biomedical Education
Director of MCAT and Preparatory Programs

Dr. Kadavakollu directs the biochemistry course where the metabolism of nutrients is taught in detail. He and Dr. Johnston are working closely to ensure that nutrition is integrated into the biochemistry topics that appear throughout the curriculum.



Ph.D., Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

M.S., Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry

B.S., Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, Andhra University


Medical Biochemistry, Pathways of Human Metabolism, Nutrition and MCAT Preparation

Most recent teaching experience:

Assistant Professor at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM)

Most recent publications and presentations:

Kadavakollu K, Shipley T. A Novel Approach to Preparing Students for the Medical College Admission Test: Passage-Centered Learning (PCL). MedEdPublish Journal. 2019,8, 1-5.

Shipley T, Phu N, Etters A, Kadavakollu K. Comprehensive Medical College Admission Test Preparatory Course as a Strategy to Encourage Premedical Students to Pursue Osteopathic Medicine in Rural Areas. The Journal of American Osteopathic Association, Vol. 119, 243-249. 2019

Contact Information

Phone: 559-712-4127


The CHSU-COM incorporates nutrition into each course taught in the first two years of our Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program. Medical students will learn the basics of nutrition through team-based learning applications, case studies, and hands-on cooking classes in the Teaching Kitchen. With an understanding of basic nutrition and the hands-on culinary medicine training our medical students receive, they will be prepared to think of disease prevention and management through the lens of lifestyle intervention alongside possible prescription medications. Taking the whole body approach, our nutrition curriculum aligns with the philosophy of osteopathic medicine as well as the current guidelines for chronic disease prevention and management.

Students will specifically learn how to cook healthy, delicious recipes for the promotion of overall health as well as prevention and management of chronic conditions including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Food allergies
  • Celiac disease

The CHSU Teaching Kitchen is located in the CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine building and is equipped with all of the essentials for a cooking class (including ovens, range, food preparation areas, refrigerator, storage), as well as multiple cameras and viewing screens so culinary techniques can be demonstrated for a large class or recorded for future class review. There are also an abundance of tables and chairs so that the students can participate in the class and then enjoy the healthy meal they prepared together. The kitchen will be used for hands-on cooking classes for medical students, interprofessional classes with other healthcare providers in training, and to teach cooking classes to local community groups.

CHSU Teaching Kitchen
College of Osteopathic Medicine Building
2500 Alluvial Ave.
Clovis, CA 93611