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SCC Instructor Duane Sunwold Contributes to National Study

[Spokane, WA]  A Spokane Community College culinary instructor recently contributed to the first studylinking kidney disease with chronic obesity.

The culinary and hospitality management instructor, Duane Sunwold, was part of a group of specialists who gathered over Zoom to workshop and study the possible connection between the loss of kidney function with chronic obesity. The study was put together by the National Kidney Foundation and The Obesity Society and published as a special report in the Obesity Society’s journal, Obesity: A Research Journal

Sunwold took part in a brainstorming session where he worked with doctors to determine the best way to have conversations with patients.

“(For the study), I helped summarize our sub-group brainstorming,” he said.

The study, Sunwold believes, will initiate more research into the connection between the two health issues. If officially proven, the research could help save lives.

For his part, Sunwold was enthusiastic about participating in the research. While he was never obese, he was diagnosed with kidney disease 22 years ago. The type that he had, minimal change disease, alters the cell size of the kidneys where filtration takes place. This causes the kidneys to spill protein out of the bloodstream and into urine, making the person sick. For Sunwold, the effects were extreme fatigue and a craving for protein, which is ultimately worse for kidneys.  

Doctors treat this kind of kidney disease by removing animal protein from a patient’s diet for 90 days. Within two weeks of this, Sunwold felt better. Within three years, he was weaned off medication and is now free of the disease.

Sunwold’s experience benefits SCC students because he brings a direct level of expertise in healthy cooking. He teaches a Nutrition for Chefs course.

“My work really bleeds into my culinary teaching,” he said. “And, if the students get a special request from a customer, they now can relate to why it’s so important.”

Part of the requirement for SCC’s Food and Personal Services program is for instructors to teach 30 hours of a nutrition course. 70 students are currently enrolled in the program, which teaches a variety of courses, including Food Science and Nutrition for Chefs and Restaurant Managers. According to Sunwold, SCC is the only culinary school in the country that teaches a course on how to cook for kidney patients.

He joked that he was a test subject for his students: “They don’t want to make me sick, so they cook healthy.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Román at or Duane Sunwold at

CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.

Posted On

1/19/2023 4:10:10 PM

Posted By

Rachel Román



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