LITTLE ROCK — A culinary nutritionist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is a finalist for a $20,000 grant to help take a UAMS culinary program into the wider community — and the public can vote to help select the three winners.

Margaret Pauly, R.D., culinary nutritionist for the UAMS Culinary Medicine program, is one of 10 finalists out of 100 entries for the siggi’s starters℠ grant program, which would help fund UAMS Nutrition2U.

UAMS Nutrition2U offers nutrition education and cooking tips for community members, particularly those in underserved populations and who have chronic diseases that are impacted by lifestyle. It is an expansion of the UAMS Culinary Medicine program, which began in August 2019 and teaches senior medical students about nutrition so that they can better advise their patients on healthy eating and lifestyle.

To vote, visit Public voting will account for 15% of the final score.

“I saw firsthand how healthy food and lifestyle changes impacted my own health when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol in my forties,” Pauly said. “Our medical students have seen the difference too, and we’ve gotten great feedback that they found the course to be a valuable tool for helping their future patients. Now we feel it’s time for the next step in our outreach — taking these lessons directly to the public, particularly underserved communities, with a mobile demonstration kitchen.”

The Nutrition2U program would be taught by a team of students and interns led by a culinary nutritionist and give demonstrations and talks on nutrition in an effective, culturally relevant and fun manner.

“The whole idea behind the program — and the name Nutrition 2U — emphasizes the program’s mobile nature,” Pauly said. “It will go to areas most in need, eliminating transportation barriers for participants.”

Topics would include how diet and nutrition can prevent or control chronic diseases. Depending on the audience and facility, the presentations could be conducted via video with a cooking demonstration, or with hands-on recipe prep and cooking by participants. There would be an emphasis on recipes and meals that are inexpensive and easy to prepare.