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CMSRU students cooking up solutions for a healthier Camden community

The story below was featured in the Winter 2023 edition of Rowan Advances.

A few students at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) uncovered a need and found a solution: Cooper Rowan Clinic Cookbooks have hit the shelves! Originally spearheaded by then-students Dr. Margaret Gao ’22 and Dr. Cindy Do ’22, current students Constantine Pella ’23 and Lena Chatterjee ’23 published a diabetic and hypertension friendly cookbook that provides recipes that coincide with dietary recommendations proposed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Heart Association (AHA). 

Serving patients of the student-run Cooper Rowan Clinic in Camden, the cookbook includes more than just recipes, meeting a growing need that CMSRU students began to notice in the community. 

Project organizer Constantine Pella shared, “We have experienced many situations where our patients at the Cooper Rowan Clinic were eager to take control of their health, however, they struggle to find recipes that fit their recommended diet. In addition, many of the recipes that were available weren’t tailored to the large hispanic population in Camden.” 

Together, Pella and Chatterjee enlisted the aid of dietitians to review the recipes, adding substitutions better suited to the community while still ensuring they abide by ADA and AHA recommendations. A few favorites include Easy Chicken Tostadas, Avocado Salsa and Yuca Root with Tomatillo Sauce. “Something else we worked on was having the recipes translated to Spanish by volunteer translators at the clinic,” said Pella. “We also added some patient resources, including a map of local stores for produce and ingredients, information on how to inject insulin, information on the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) and more.” Cookbooks are now available (and free!) at the Cooper Rowan Clinic for all patients.