UC Berkeley, one of the world’s finest public universities, allows undergraduate students to design and teach their own courses offered for academic credit. I took advantage of this incredible opportunity offered by the university to promote Celiac Disease awareness and make an impact on both my campus and local communities.
Public Health 198 is a course offered for 2 academic units called Changing the Restaurant Industry. The course focuses on how the restaurant industry accommodates customers with restricted diets. By thinking of the restaurant’s ability to accommodate restricted diets as a public health issue, I was able to design an intervention strategy based on public health theories to improve the quality of food service in the Bay Area.
Public Health 198 is a series of 14 lectures all focused on promoting allergy awareness in the restaurant industry. We covered the theory of Community-Based Public health Initiatives, concluding that the best way to improve our community is to have community-members take action. The course requires that all students (40 students enrolled) recruit at least one restaurant to undergo a training program designed by the students.
Some well known members of the gluten free community have guest lectured for my class including Dr. Emily Nock of Walnut Creek Kaiser, Tom Herndon, the Executive Chef at Hipp Kitchen and owner of Full Fridge and Beckee Moreland from NFCA and GREAT Kitchens amongst many other speakers!
Topics of the course include: community-based public health initiatives, law and liability, peanut, egg, shellfish, corn, soy and dairy allergies, the gluten free diet, veganism, Diabetes Management and an introduction to entrepreneurship in the context of public health and the restaurant industry.
Check out this lecture given by Dr. Emily Nock about Celiac Disease.
Check out this lecture by CC about safe kitchen practices and restaurant concerns for gluten free food preparation.
Please note these videos were made for students to review, not for professional purposes so please excuse the poor editing
The most important takeaway point from my experience creating this class is the importance of, what I like to call, contextual activism. It is important to take ownership of your health and your gluten free diet. One way to do this is to engage in awareness promotion and activism. Contextual activism is where you base your actions on your personal life context. I am currently a college student so I used campus resources to create a class to promote gluten free awareness. You can do this too! If you are a mom of a Celiac kid, create a play group for kids with allergies. If you are a lawyer, consider guest blogging on a gluten free blog about law and liability in the context of “being glutened” at a restaurant. There are countless examples of ways to get involved with awareness promotion: the trick is, creativity!
Take ownership of your life and your health. Engage in contextual activism to promote Celiac Disease awareness.