December 2 2017
by Neel Desai, M.D.
Dr. Ed McDonald is a Chicago based gastroenterologist, trained chef, and has committed his life to nutrition education for the communities he serves. He is currently the Associate Director of Adult Nutrition at the University of Chicago, and specializes in obesity, nutrition, small bowel disorders, and general gastroenterology. He runs 3 different clinics: 1) weight management 2) nutrition (dedicated to mostly managing severely ill patients, mostly cancer and short bowel patients on tube feeds and TPN) and 3) a regular GI clinic. He is also certified in bariatric endoscopy, specifically intragastric balloon placement.
Dr. McDonald got his first experience with community health in medical school, when he used funding support from an Albert Schweitzer fellowship to train local hip-hop and spoken word artists as health educators. The project was inspired by his experience of working on Project Brotherhood (featured on CNN), a clinic focused on the health of African-American men in Chicago. Working on Project Brotherhood made clear to Dr. McDonald the impact of social determinants of health, but he also found a true calling in the effects of nutrition on health and disease.
Dr. McDonald has always found a way to integrate his medical specialty of gastroenterology with his passion for nutrition and community health. During his residency training at Northwestern, he often shared recipes with his clinic patients at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. He was able to see the effects of simple lifestyle interventions on the health of his patients firsthand, and this further reinforced his desire to be further educated in nutrition. He completed a fellowship in clinical nutrition at the University of Chicago, and culinary training at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.
Today, he is currently one of the instructors for the culinary medicine program at the University of Chicago. He works with other chefs and teaches medical students how to cook within the context of encouraging them to discuss nutrition with their patients. He also shares a $50,000 community grant with urban initiatives, which focuses on nutrition education for children in the Chicago public school system, as well as educating kids though sports and play.
Dr. McDonald is no stranger to using modern day digital communication platforms to educate his patients about his chosen field of gastroenterology, nutrition, and social determinants of health. He is active on social media and started a blog, The Doc’s Kitchen, to share evidence based tips for healthy daily cooking, eating, and insights on relevant health topics. He has also used his talents as a former DJ in high school and college to do the audio engineering/recording and filming of his wife’s health education music video productions (Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, a.k.a, “Dr. Every Woman”, also a fellow Medical Influencer). Of note, Dr. McDonald also interned for the Food Network once, and was even one of the chefs behind the scenes for Sandwhich King Season 3.
It is clear Dr. Ed McDonald has found creative and engaging ways to integrate his passion for cooking, nutrition, music, public health, and digestive diseases. He and his work continue to inspire and impact his patients, colleagues, students, and the communities he serves. For this, we honor Dr. Ed McDonald as our Medical Influencer of the Week.
Image courtesy of Dr. Ed McDonald and Kentaro Yamada
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