An Award Winning Program

The Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway is the recipient of the 2018 Innovation Award for training and education of future health care professionals. The Award was presented during Harvard’s Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives™ meeting at the Culinary Institute of America, February 8-11, in Napa Valley California. The Innovation Award is presented by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, The American College of Sports Medicine and the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the funding source.

About the Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway

Mission and Vision

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine prides itself on molding the best and brightest students into the finest healthcare professionals in the field. A world-class faculty, facilities and curriculum create the perfect environment for a traditional medical education with the School of Medicine constantly striving to improve upon its already high standards. To that end, a series of "pathways" (or concentrations) have been (are being) implemented to better develop well-rounded medical professionals who will graduate equipped to treat patients more effectively.

The Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway will focus on preparing students for excellence in the field of multi-dimensional and holistic wellness, equipping them with the knowledge and training to encourage healthy lifestyles in themselves and future patients. Wellness Pathway content, including a speaker series, practical applications in healthy cooking, relaxation techniques and more, will add approximately two (2) hours to existing medical school students’ weekly workload. Participants will emerge with an understanding and appreciation of wellness that encompasses mind, body and spirit, as well as social and environmental factors. Alternatively, they may elect to pursue a joint degree in one of several related fields, such as the MD/MS in nutrition via the Biomedical Investigation degree program.


The Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway aspires to:

  • Help medical students develop and maintain healthy self-care habits
  • Familiarize medical students with multiple domains of health and wellness, including mental, physical, emotional and social
  • Teach students skills in at least two of these domains to demonstrably improve long-term patient and self-care
  • Develop leaders to advance the promotion of health and wellness at the individual, family, institutional and community levels


One of five pathways underway or in development within the School of Medicine, the Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway has been developed (is being organized) under the leadership of Dr. Hope Barkoukis, PhD, RD, LD, along with an advisory group of interdisciplinary faculty, curriculum leaders and other stakeholders.

There are several elements included in the pathway:

  • Just What the Doctor Ordered: Food as Therapy Culinary Medicine lab, where students meet monthly to integrate the evidence based science of nutrition and disease prevention they have learned with hands-on cooking participation and demonstrations led by registered dietitians
  • Monthly emotional wellness sessions focused on an array of topics like mindfulness and meditation, how values impact vocation, building resilience and understanding trauma and loss
  • Skill training to introduce and refine reflective writing, progressive relaxation techniques and behavior modification strategies
  • Regular seminars focusing on special topics such as conflict resolution, integrative medicine, motivational interviewing, physical activity counseling, substance abuse prevention, and population health and health disparities
  • Conflict resolution, cultural diversity and advanced communication skills workshops led by experts in the field
  • Collaboration with the American Medical Student Association Wellness Committee at CWRU and the Office of Student Affairs focused on create and identify wellness opportunities on campus and beyond. Examples include physical, outdoor, stress-relieving activities
  • A student-led learning community tasked with identifying worthwhile research projects related to health improvement
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring training led by faculty expert to develop ability to help those in need

To improve access to wellness-related information for students in the pathway and those that are not, this central website has been developed to aggregate the opportunities for participation. Additionally, a monthly, electronic newsletter and social media campaign is planned to keep participating students current with the latest news.

Philanthropic opportunities

Private support to endow the pathway itself, as well as a professorship to oversee it has already been secured. However, for complete success of the pathway, funds are needed for scholarships to reward the best and brightest students who will voluntarily supplement their education and be named Wellness and Preventive Pathway Scholars upon graduation.

$100,000 - $1,500,000 - Endowed Scholarships

Scholarship funds for participating students will drive interest in the program, attract the most passionate students and serve as an investment in the future of well-rounded, patient-centered healthcare professionals. Partially endowed scholarships can be established at $100,000 and fully endowed at $1,500,000.