PHOENIX - University of Arizona medical students will soon deliver healthy meals to the homes of cancer patients in Phoenix as part of a partnership with a Valley-based nonprofit organization.

The Joy Bus collects and cooks donated food for volunteers to deliver to cancer patients around the Valley, with first- and second-year medical students enrolled in the Culinary Medicine Capstone Course at the UArizona College of Medicine-Phoenix now joining them as part of the partnership.

The nonprofit and medical students will not only deliver chef-inspired meals but also have impactful conversations with cancer patients.

The goal of Dr. Shad Marvasti, founding director of the Culinary Medicine Program and director of Public Health at the UArizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, is to teach his students the importance of using food as medicine.

"The number one risk factor for both preventable premature death and disease in the United States and the world is actually diet," Marvasti said.

Medical students will also provide an interactive placemat with every Joy Bus meal delivered.

Placemats include health, wellness and nutritional information that will educate patients on how to treat and prevent the reoccurrence of their cancers.

According to Marvasti, most medical schools only supply 19 curriculum hours of nutrition on average over the four years of medical school.

His capstone course provides a unique and integrated experience for medical students to apply knowledge from their coursework to using food as medicine.

The Joy Bus with additional resources offered through the partnership hopes to increase health and wellness home visits from 50 to 100 per week, doubling the potential reach with the help of the medical students.

In addition, participants of the nonprofit will not only benefit from the one-on-one health and wellness visits several times a week but also the medical knowledge the students possess.