Texas Tech University

Lubbock’s W.I.S.E. Program Hosts “Culinartistry” Class for Lubbock Seniors

Ryan McCullar

April 24, 2024

Group photo at Culinartistry with Sam

Texas Tech faculty leads initiative to integrate culinary medicine into community education

The Wisdom Inspired Senior Education (W.I.S.E.) program recently featured a unique “Culinartistry” class, led by Allison Childress, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, LD, Shannon Galyean, Ph.D, RDN, LD and Michelle Alcorn, Ph.D that catered to nearly 100 senior citizens in Lubbock. Childress currently serves as an associate professor of practice and director of online graduate programs for the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

This initiative blends community engagement, research, and the practical application of their research through the Sam™ app. When asked about the motivation behind joining the W.I.S.E. program, Childress emphasized the connection between their research and the program's goals.

Members of Sam feature Culinartistry Class

“We found the W.I.S.E. program, which is a community education effort to engage the Lubbock community in one-hour workshops taught by local experts,” Childress said. “As we worked with the director of this program, Laura Landes, in recruiting for our study she asked if we would teach one of the workshops for W.I.S.E. This is when we came up with the Culinartistry class.”

Childress shared that the combination of community engagement, research efforts, and commercialization came about naturally.

“I would like to say that it was all part of a perfectly crafted master plan,” Childress said, “but in truth, it happened organically as we developed our relationship with the W.I.S.E. group.”

Members of Sam feature Culinartistry Class

The Sam™ app, a key component of the initiative, serves as a culinary medicine guide with recipes and educational videos.

“This app is designed to teach people what to eat and how to prepare it,” Childress said. “To improve health such as muscle quality for senior adults that prevents an age-related condition called sarcopenia.”

Laura Landes, director of the W.I.S.E. program, reported the class's success and the positive reception from the seniors.

“The seniors were so happy to have the information provided to them in our Culinartistry class,” Landes said. “The attendance reached about 90-100 senior adults which is one of the largest turnouts they have ever had for a class.”

Dr. Allison Childress with WISE members

Childress has high hopes for the long-term impact of the Culinartistry by Sam™ class on the community.

“By teaching senior adults the importance of food items and preparing nutritious meals,” Childress said. “Culinartistry by Sam™ directly contributes to improving the quality of life, independence and empowerment, and overall health of individuals in the community, aligning with the mission to enhance the human condition.”

Childress shared that future projects include a grant proposal to further the work with the W.I.S.E. program and beta-testing the Sam™ app with community partners. The team will also present information about the program at the Engaged Scholarship Symposium at Texas Tech University.