Good Medicine PUBLISHED BY THE PHYSICIANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016 | VOL.XXV, NO. 4
The End of Animal Laboratories in Medical Student Education
Great Progress, Big Challenges
Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. President of Physicians Committee 2
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
016 has been a momentous year so far. It started with a bang when the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasized the health power of vegetarian diets; in the process, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee specifically cited the Physicians Committee’s research, and suddenly plant-based diets were mainstream. With the passage of the Lautenberg Act in June, alternatives to animal tests became the order of the day for chemical manufacturers. And now, the use of animals in medical school education has finally stopped. As of this year, medical students throughout the United States and Canada will receive their M.D. or D.O. degrees without so much as a mention of the animal laboratories that were once routine and required. These are great steps forward. Plant-based diets will mean healthier people. Alternatives to animals mean better testing and more humane science. And getNow that medical ting rid of old-fashioned “dog labs” means that compassion and decency are students no longer reasserted as key values in medical schools. study physiology or But huge battles loom ahead. The brawl that led up to the new Guidelines resurgery in dogs, pigs, vealed the food industry’s willingness—even eagerness—to distort scientific facts or other animals, the to push its products. The egg industry, in particular, asserted that cholesterol in same transition needs foods is harmless—a claim that was fortunately dashed as cholesterol’s risks were made clear in the final Guidelines. to be completed While alternatives to animal tests are gaining ground for industrial chemicals, in higher levels of we have not yet seen the same commitment in the world of research per se, where medical training. attempts to “model” Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other maladies in animals greatly overshadow research in human cells, human genes, human populations, and human patients. To its credit, NIH has ended the use of chimpanzees in research. But if our closest living relatives do not need to be used, our more distant cousins could assert an even stronger case for exemption. A renewed focus on human biology would help all concerned. And now that medical students no longer study physiology or surgery in dogs, pigs, or other animals, the same transition needs to be completed in higher levels of medical training. In some residencies and trauma laboratories, instructors still use live animals, and they are overdue for switching to simulators and other modern methods. Our members played key roles in all of these advances and will do so even more in the efforts ahead. We are grateful for all of this progress and look forward to much more to come.
Good Medicine® FROM THE PHYSICIANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE AUTUMN 2016 | VOL. XXV, NO. 4 Editor in Chief Neal D. Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. Managing Editor/Designer Doug Hall Editors Michael Keevican | Carrie Clyne Production Manager Lynne Crane Senior Web Designer Lisa Schulz SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD Ron R. Allison, M.D., 21st Century Oncology Ted Barnett, M.D., Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, PLLC; Borg & Ide Imaging, P.C. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Cornell University Neil Cooper, M.D., M.H.A., M.Sc., Kaiser Permanente Brenda Davis, R.D. Garth Davis, M.D., The Davis Clinic Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute Joanne Evans, A.P.R.N., Healthy Nurses…Healthy Communities, LLC Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Nutritional Research Foundation Roberta Gray, M.D., Pediatric Nephrology Consultant Daran Haber, M.D., Riverview Medical Center Henry Heimlich, M.D., The Heimlich Institute David J.A. Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto Lawrence H. Kushi, Sc.D., Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente John McDougall, M.D., Dr. McDougall’s Health & Medical Center Jeffrey I. Mechanick, M.D., Mount Sinai Hospital Baxter Montgomery, M.D., Montgomery Heart and Wellness Carl Myers, M.D., Switch Healthcare Ana Negrón, M.D. Robert Ostfeld, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.C.C., Montefiore Medical Center Affiliations are listed for identification only. 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RESEARCH ISSUES 6 The End of Animal Laboratories in Medical Student Education 6
7 31 Years of Progress 10 Complaints Against Animal Use in North and South Carolina Medical Training
Take Action: Ask Vanderbilt University to Modernize Medical Training
11 Congress Could End Military Medical Training on Animals 11
PREVENTION AND NUTRITION 12 Global Nutrition Conference Gives Doctors Plant-Based Prescription 14 No Guts, No Glory 12
15 Doctors Rally at White House, Urge Americans ‘Break the Meat Habit’
Theaters Ban ‘Sausage Party’ Cancer Ad
16 Doctors Offer Congress Antidote to Annual Hot Dog Lunch 15
Physicians Ask USDA to Use Cheese to Fill Potholes in Washington
23 Stick a Fork in Diabetes
DEPARTMENTS 4 THE LATEST IN... 17 MEDIA What’s Trending? 16
18 MEMBER SUPPORT 20 PCRM MARKETPLACE 24 PHYSICIAN PROFILE Promoting Plant-Based Public Policy: Agustina Saenz, M.D., M.P.H. COVER: TIM BARKER
23 PhysiciansCommittee.org Good Medicine is published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20016, tel 202-686-2210, fax 202-686-2216. It is distributed as a membership benefit to Physicians Committee members. Basic annual membership is $20 (tax-deductible). Physicians Committee promotes good nutrition, preventive medicine, ethical research practices, and compassionate medical policy. Readers are welcome to reprint articles without additional permission. Please include the credit line: Reprinted from Good Medicine, Autumn 2016, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Articles are not to be reprinted for resale. Please contact Physicians Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding other permissions. ©Physicians Committee 2016. Good Medicine is not intended as individual medical advice. Persons with medical conditions or who are taking medications should discuss any diet and lifestyle changes with their health professional. “Good Medicine”, “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,” “PCRM,” “The Cancer Project,” “Humane Charity Seal,” and “The Gold Plan” are registered trademarks of The PCRM Foundation.
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GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
THE LATEST IN…
RESEARCH CHEMICAL SAFETY
Ensuring Lautenberg Act Replaces Animal Testing
Aryenish Birdie, Physicians Committee outreach and legislative policy manager, at an August EPA meeting on prioritizing chemicals to test under the new Lautenberg Act.
Sullivan K, Birdie A. The Lautenberg Act energizes efforts to minimize animal testing for chemical safety. Daily Env. Rep. (BNA). Published online August 19, 2016.
Test System: Reconstructed Human Epidermis
Cross section through reconstructed human epidermis
Application of a test item to the model surface
Vital dye MTT test
Donated Human Skin Used to Test Cosmetics
CellR8, a UK-based company, is using cells from human skin donated by plastic surgery patients to replace animals in cosmetics testing. The scientists use the cells to grow skin segments in the laboratory. Those skin samples are then exposed to cosmetic products or ingredients to test for safety. The skin has received regulatory approval for the human skin sensitivity test and is being reviewed for genotoxicity tests that determine if a chemical causes gene damage.
Human Lung Models to Assess Tobacco Effects
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
The authors suggest that FDA-CTP can modernize public health protection by providing further funding to develop and promote in vitro models and improve information obtained from human clinical studies. Behrsing H, Raabe H, Manuppello J, et al. Assessment of in vitro COPD models for tobacco regulatory science: Workshop proceedings, conclusions and paths forward for in vitro model use. Altern Lab Anim. 2016;44:129-166. THINKSTOCK
hree-dimensional reconstructed models of the human lung provide more relevant results than animal tests in assessing the effects of tobacco products on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new workshop report co-authored by the Physicians Committee’s Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., in the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals. The report—the outcome of a workshop to assess current nonanimal models for evaluating the effects of tobacco exposure to the progression of COPD—includes summaries and key recommendations from presentations from 18 experts from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (FDA-CTP), industry, academia, and animal protection.
Stock M. Human skin cells used in animal-free cosmetic tests. Reuters. June 23, 2016.
he U.S. government should invest in alternatives to irrelevant, costly, and time-consuming chemical tests on animals, according to a new Physicians Committee commentary in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Environment Report. The Physicians Committee’s Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., and Aryenish Birdie, who co-authored the commentary, say that the Environmental Protection Agency should provide incentives for the development and use of human-relevant methods—such as in vitro studies and computational methods—to ensure successful implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
THE LATEST IN…
NUTRITION HEART HEALTH
Vegetarian Diets Reduce High Blood Pressure
Chuang SY, Chiu TH, Lee CY, et al. Vegetarian diet reduces the risk of hypertension independent of abdominal obesity and inflammation: a prospective study. J Hypertens. Published online August 10, 2016.
new study adds to evidence that vegetarian diets protect against hypertension. In an article in the Journal of Hypertension, researchers compared hypertension rates for 4,109 participants who followed vegetarian or nonvegetarian diets. Those who followed a vegetarian diet had a 34 percent lower risk for hypertension when compared with nonvegetarians. These findings remained significant after adjusting for obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation. Researchers call on clinicians to prescribe vegetarian diets to prevent hypertension and prehypertension.
Meat Increases Risk for Alzheimer’s
iet may be the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease risk, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The author used dietary data from 10 countries and several other studies on diet and Alzheimer’s disease and assessed disease risk for several dietary factors. Consumption of meat increased disease risk the most, followed by eggs and high-fat dairy products, while high intakes of fruits, vegetables, and grains reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Grant WB. Using multicountry ecological and observational studies to determine dietary risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. J Am Coll Nutr. Published online July 25, 2016.
New Studies Support Vegan Diets for Diabetes
vegan diet can help prevent and improve diabetes, according to two new studies. Previous studies in the United States and Europe had shown that a vegan diet improves type 2 diabetes. In a new study, researchers tested out a similar diet in an Asian population. They assigned 93 Korean participants with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks to a completely vegan diet or a diet based on recommendations from the Korean Diabetes Association. Those in the vegan group lost weight, reduced their HbA1C levels (a measure of blood glucose over time), and had better glycemic control, compared with those on the conventionally recommended diet. Researchers also followed more than 200,000 participants from the Nurse’s Health Study 1 and 2 and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and assessed their diets and type 2 diabetes incidence rates. Those who consumed the most plant-based foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, lowered their risk for type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat. Lee YM, Kim SA, Lee IK, et al. Effect of a brown rice based vegan diet and conventional diabetic diet on glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12-week randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0155918. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Rimm EB, et al. Plant-based dietary patterns and incidence of type 2 diabetes in US men and women: results from three prospective cohort studies. PLoS Med. 2016;13:e1002039.
Cholesterol May Increase Risk for Breast Cancer
ietary cholesterol is linked to increased breast cancer risk, according to a meta-analysis published in Nutrition Research. Researchers assessed nine studies that encompassed 387,069 participants and followed dietary cholesterol intake and cancer incidence rates. Those who consumed the most cholesterol had a 29 percent increased risk for breast cancer when compared with those who consumed the least.
Li C, Yang L, Zhang D, Jiang W. Systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that dietary cholesterol intake increases risk of breast cancer. Nutr Res. 2016;36:627635.
GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
The End of Animal Laboratories in Medical Student Education
ot a single student entering medical school this year will have to train on live animals. Since the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga ended its live animal laboratory in June, all medical schools in the United States and Canada have eliminated the use of animals from their curricula. Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., began working toward this day even before he founded the Physicians Committee in 1985. “When I was in medical school at The George Washington University our instructor announced that the next week would include ‘dog lab,’” says Dr. Barnard. “That meant that we were to experiment on and kill a perfectly healthy dog. At the time, it was a ritual at most medical schools. Although it was a course requirement, I refused to participate. And I
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
also made a vow that I was going to stop it, not just at my medical school, but at every medical school.” He kept his vow. After more than three decades of perseverance by Dr. Barnard, the Physicians Committee, and its supporters and members, the days of using dogs and other animals to teach medical students are over. Today, interactive and programmable simulators and other methods are considered superior to animal-based education because they are modeled after the human body and allow for repeated practice. But in 1985, 87 percent of medical schools used dogs and other animals to teach physiology, pharmacology, and surgical skills. Students were instructed to inject the animals with various drugs and monitor their responses or to practice surgical procedures. After the training, the animals were killed. “We worked hard to stop these labs for two reasons: First, because of the obvious cruelty to the animals,” says Dr. Barnard. “And second, when medical students are trained like this, they come to believe that killing animals is somehow essential to medicine and science. That had to stop.” Long, Hard Struggle
None of the 44 surveyed medical schools that have opened in the United States since 1979 have used animals to train students. “It’s taken a long time,” recalls Dr. Barnard. “We had negotiations at Harvard. We protested at Yale. We were involved in litigation. And yet at some schools, the instructors made the switch quite easily.”
In 1995, the Physicians Committee persuaded Harvard Medical School to eliminate its physiology dog laboratory course in favor of a human operating room training module. Columbia University’s medical school dropped the last animal laboratory from its curriculum the same year. The Physicians Committee’s campaign also led to the end of animal labs at prestigious medical schools across the country, including Duke University, Case Western Reserve University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Oregon Health & Science University, New York Medical College, Rush Medical College, Stanford University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (the U.S. military’s medical school), the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, the University of California medical school system, and the Washington University in St. Louis, among many others. In 2010, the last medical school in Canada using animals, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, ended the practice. The End of Animal Use in Medical Student Education: A Model for the Future of Medical Training, 1985-2016, a detailed history of the Physicians Committee’s campaign, is available at PCRM.org/EndOfAnimalUse. The Final Two
As of May 2015, just two medical schools continued to use live animals: Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine
31 Years of Progress
How the Physicians Committee Replaced Animals in Medical Training Neal Barnard, M.D.
The Physicians Committee is founded. 87% of U.S. medical schools use animals (mostly dogs) in fatal training labs.
Physicians Committee video Advances in Medical Education with Henry Heimlich
A student at the University of Colorado, with support from the Physicians Committee, sues the school for requiring her to take part in a deadly dog lab.
Harvard Medical School ends use of dogs and rats for physiology courses. 62% of medical schools are still using animals for student education.
1992 1995 GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
in Chattanooga. The Physicians Committee negotiated with both schools to end animal use. In May 2016—following letters, advertisements, petitions, demonstrations, and proposed legislation—Johns Hopkins announced it had ended animal use: “Given that almost all medical schools have stopped using live animals in medical student education and that the experience is not essential, the School of Medicine has decided that the use of live animals in the surgical clerkship should stop.” Chattanooga quickly followed. On June 24, 2016, in an e-mail forwarded to Physicians Committee director of academic affairs John Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C., the interim dean for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga wrote that “effective immediately” the school will no longer use live pigs to teach surgical skills to students. “With that decision, we entered the post-animal era in medical student education,” says Dr. Pippin. “Like every other medical school in the United States and Canada, the University of Tennessee acknowledged that simulation and other nonanimal teaching methods have supplanted the unnecessary use of live animals in physician training.” An End to Bullying, Too
“While I refused to participate in these experiments in medical school, many students were coerced into taking part,” says Dr. Barnard. In 1993, the Physicians Committee assisted a firstyear medical student in a lawsuit against the University
of Colorado based on her religious and ethical objections to the laboratory exercises. The successful lawsuit won the right for students to use alternatives. But at many medical schools, students who refused to participate were penalized or even expelled. At the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, students could be court-martialed for refusing to take part in the animal labs. When the Physicians Committee announced the Chattanooga decision in June, doctors across the country cheered, but many also recounted their own experiences with bullying on the Physicians Committee’s Facebook page. “I absolutely refused to participate in any animal experimentation while I was in medical school, and as a consequence was the victim of some fairly serious faculty harassment,” recalled Sara Rinck, M.D. Sheila Hellman, D.O., remembers that she “had to hire an attorney to remain in medical school after refusing to participate in a beagle lab.” But like Dr. Barnard, others successfully earned their medical degrees without participating in the animal laboratory. “I graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1982. There were four or five of us who refused to kill a beagle to learn principles of cardiac function. It never hurt my studies or my career. It was a horrible tragedy in my mind to kill all of those sweet creatures for something that could have been taught in other ways,” says Paul Jurkowski, M.D. David Schwindt, M.D., held out and his school ended the program: “Our class had seven conscientious
John Pippin, M.D.
The dean of University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, tells the Physicians Committee that he “summarily informed” his faculty to end its live animal lab. Medical schools’ use of animals declines to 24%.
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
“AMSA strongly encourages the replacement of animal laboratories with non-animal alternatives in undergraduate medical education.” —Resolution passed by the American Medical Student Association 18% of medical schools are still using animals.
Case Western Reserve University, the last medical school using dogs, ends the practice.
The last medical school in Canada to use animals, Memorial University of Newfoundland, ends the practice. 8% of medical schools are using animals.
objectors…not wanting to sacrifice a dog with a painful injection of potassium. The next year the program was gone!” Animal-Free Advanced Medical Training
The recent sea change in medical education extends beyond medical student training to include postgraduate residency training and trauma training. The Physicians Committee has promoted the replacement of animal use in pediatrics, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology residency programs, as well as in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) programs and military trauma training. Since 2009, 22 pediatrics residencies have ended animal use, leaving only one U.S. program and one Canadian program using animals, among 215 programs. And of 125 surveyed anesthesiology residencies, only one uses animals. Among emergency medicine residencies, the Physicians Committee has ended animal use in five and determined that 122 of 138 surveyed programs do not use animals. Hundreds of newspapers, including the New York Times, covered the Physicians Committee’s recent complaint against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for violating federal law by using live animals in its emergency medicine training program, while human-based methods, such as medical simulation, are available. The Physicians Committee has also helped end animal use in 27 U.S. and Canadian ATLS programs, and an ongoing survey identifies only two among 277 programs that continue to use animals. A similar turnaround has occurred in military combat
trauma training. Since 2008, the Physicians Committee has helped to dramatically reduce military trauma training animal use. By 2010, the Department of Defense had formed the Combat Casualty Training Consortium, which has the task of replacing “live tissue training.” Meanwhile, the use of vervet monkeys for chemical casualty training was ended at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. This was accomplished with the assistance of members of Congress in 2011. In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard committed to substantially reducing the number of animals it uses for combat trauma training exercises. Further, in January 2015 the Department of Defense prohibited the use of animals in six distinct training areas, including ATLS courses and pediatrics training. The Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act, which was introduced by members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, would phase out animal use for combat trauma training over three years. See page 11. The Fight Continues
“The Physicians Committee’s successes have saved animals and improved medical training,” says Dr. Barnard. “But animals are still used in more advanced training, and there is an enormous amount of animal use in basic research. We are continuing to work in those areas and are steadily winning those battles.” PCRM.org/EndOfAnimalUse
University of Virginia demonstration
The U.S. military’s medical school, Uniformed Services University, ends its animal labs. 5% of medical schools are still using animals.
Three new U.S. medical schools are accredited. All 44 medical schools that have opened since 1979 have never used animals for student education.
After legislative effort by the Physicians Committee, Johns Hopkins University ends animal use. Only one medical school continues to use animals.
Citing the decision by Johns Hopkins, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga undertakes a curriculum review and decides to end animal use for medical student training, making it the last school in the U.S. and Canada to end animal use.
2016 GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
Complaints Against Animal Use in North and South Carolina Medical Training
undreds of media outlets—from local newspapers and TV to the New York Times and the Washington Post— covered the Physicians Committee’s recent federal complaints against the
University of South Carolina School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for using live animals in emergency medicine training. “After you practice on a pig, when you
go to humans, you have to change it all around,” the Physicians Committee’s John Pippin, M.D., told the Associated Press. “Compared to the use of a human cadaver or compared to the use of simulators, it’s not as good.” The Animal Welfare Act’s implementing regulations “require that a principal investigator—including course instructors—consider alternatives to procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to any animal used for research purposes.” Both universities have state-of-the-art simulation centers that could provide the resources to replace the use of animals. Eighty-eight percent of U.S. emergency medicine residency programs surveyed by the Physicians Committee use only nonanimal, human-based education methods.
Ask Vanderbilt University to Modernize Medical Training
lease ask Vanderbilt University School of Medicine to immediately end the use of live goats and pigs in its emergency medicine residency. Eightyeight percent of surveyed emergency medicine residency programs in the United States use human-based methods to train students. In fact, Vanderbilt already has a state-of-the-art simulation center that that could easily replace the use of animals with modern medical simulation. To ensure that our future emergency care physicians are receiving educationally and ethically superior training methods, please ask Vanderbilt to end the use of animals immediately. www.NashvilleDeservesBetter.org
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
Congress Could End Military Medical Training on Animals T
he New York Times and more than 70 members of Congress have joined the Physicians Committee in urging Congress to pass the BEST Practices Act (S. 587). The bill will improve military medical training and cut spending by eliminating the use of live animals in favor of human-based medical devices. Every year, the U.S. military uses thousands of live animals in combat trauma training courses. But there are better ways to teach military first responders— and pressure is mounting on the Department of Defense to end the practice. The New York Times editorial board recently called for an end to this animal use. Citing the Physicians Committee’s national survey of nonmilitary programs, the editorial board wrote: “The vast majority of programs in the United States
that train civilian medical workers in trauma care use simulators exclusively. There’s no reason the Pentagon should continue inflicting cruelty on animals.” In addition, 71 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the Secretary of Defense demanding answers to important questions about the military’s ongoing animal-based courses. The use of animals in this training is unnecessary and has been phased out of nearly all civilian trauma programs and an increasing number of military training centers. In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard committed to reducing the number of animals it uses for combat trauma training exercises. The military’s medical school made the switch in 2013 and now trains future military physicians without using
animals. Many trauma centers in the Army, Air Force, and Navy use only simulators. And, as of 2015, Advanced Trauma Life Support courses across the U.S. military were no longer allowed to use animals. PCRM.org/BEST
"The vast majority of programs in the United States that train civilian medical workers in trauma care use simulators exclusively. There's no reason the Pentagon should continue inflicting cruelty on animals." —The New York Times editorial board GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
PREVENTION & NUTRITION
Global Nutrition Conference Gives
PHOTOS BY STEVE SHAPIRO
More than 700 health care professionals attended this year’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine.
Dr. Barnard gives opening remarks.
mproving hospital food. Processed meats and cancer. Nutrition education in medical schools. Cheese addiction. These were just a few of the topics that more than 700 health care providers from 25 countries came to learn about at the Physicians Committee’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine in Washington, D.C., on July 29 and 30. Among the presentations that provided attendees with the knowledge and skills to prescribe a plant-based dietary intervention were A New Model for Nutrition in Medical Care, presented by Barnard Medical Center doctors, and Deprescribing Insulin in Patients with T2DM, presented by Caroline Trapp, D.N.P., C.D.E., Physicians Committee director of diabetes education and care. Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., whose book The Cheese Trap comes out in February 2017, closed the conference with a presentation on the health dangers of dairy products. Presentations from the conference, which offered continuing medical education and was accredited by the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, are scheduled to be available by the end of the year on NutritionCME.org. Thanks to our sponsors: Vitamix, Wellness Forum Health, Lighter, Synergy CME Resource Group, the Plantrician Project, and Treeline Treenut Cheese. Thanks to our educational partners: PlantPure, CHIP Lifestyle Medicine Institute, PharmedOUT.org, and Rouxbe Cooking School. See pages 14 and 15 for conference coverage on the Seven Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Gut Bacteria and the Break the Meat Habit event at the White House.
Gerald Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., and the Physicians Committee’s Caroline Trapp, Director of Diabetes Education and Care, discuss type 2 diabetes.
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PREVENTION & NUTRITION
Doctors Plant-Based Prescription
Ultra-endurance athlete and author Rich Roll led the Nutrition to Power Athletic Performance panel and a morning exercise session.
Mariana C. Stern, Ph.D., discusses processed meats and cancer.
Addiction, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Cognitive Decline: Fred Nyberg, Ph.D., Jim Stevenson, Ph.D., and Jae Hee Kang, Sc.D., covered nutrition and the brain.
All attendees enjoyed vegan meals and received Plant-Based Rx prescription pads.
Photo booth fun!
Attendees stock up on books about plant-based nutrition.
Christina Warinner, Ph.D., debunks the Paleo myth. GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
PREVENTION & NUTRITION
Meghan Jardine, M.S., M.B.A., R.D., L.D., C.D.E., Physicians Committee associate director of diabetes nutrition education, presented No Guts, No Glory: The Microbiome in Diabetes at the conference, where she released the Seven Dietary Guidelines for a Healthy Microbiota:
No Guts, No Glory
Build meals around plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
Aim to consume at least 50 to 55 grams of fiber daily.
Stephen O’Keefe, M.D.
hat happens when 20 men from rural South Africa who eat a mostly plant-based diet and 20 men from Pittsburgh who eat a Western diet exchange diets for two weeks? Attendees at the Physicians Committee’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine found out that the men’s gut bacteria quickly changed, altering their colorectal cancer risk. Stephen O’Keefe, M.D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, who presented his findings at the conference, wanted to examine the link between fiber and chronic disease. For two weeks, the South African study participants dined on sausage links, pancakes, hamburgers, meatloaf, and fries, foods that are common in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the African-American participants ate foods common in South Africa, including maize, okra, tomatoes, spinach, pineapple, mangoes, and black-eyed peas. After just two weeks, both groups showed dramatic physical changes. The South African group experienced inflammation in the bowel and a 400 percent increase in the secretion of carcinogenic secondary bile acids. The Pittsburgh study participants experienced an increase in butyrate production, an anti-inflammatory marker, and reduced their levels of secondary bile acids by 70 percent. The study shows that microbiota, the myriad different species of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract, reacts quickly to dietary changes. The researchers found that a high-fat diet increases the abundance of a gut bacteria species that increases inflammation. In contrast, fiber increases the abundance of species that produce short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, enhance nutrient absorption, and increase fatty acid metabolism, which reduces total fat storage.
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Include at least 5 to 8 grams of plantbased prebiotics per day. Aim for at least two servings of prebiotic foods, such as oats, whole grains, bananas, beans, garlic, onions, artichokes, and flax seeds.
4 5 6 7
Add fermented foods, or probiotics, to your diet.
Avoid red meat, dairy products, eggs, and fried foods.
Limit fat intake, especially if you have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Use antibiotics only when necessary and avoid using them for viral illnesses. Download the complete guidelines at ICNM16.org.
Meghan Jardine, associate director of diabetes nutrition education
PREVENTION & NUTRITION
Doctors Rally at White House, Urge Americans ‘Break the Meat Habit’
ays after doctors from the Physicians Committee rallied in front of the White House urging Americans to “break the meat habit,” a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine gave more support to the doctors' recommendation. The study found that eating animal protein increases the risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, while eating plant protein reduces the risk. A video of the rally is available at BreakTheMeatHabit.org. Researchers followed the diets of 131,342 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Animal protein intake was associated with an increased risk for death, especially from cardiovascular disease, while plant protein intake was associated with a lower risk for mortality. Replacement of animal protein with plant-based proteins was also associated with a lower risk for mortality.
The doctors at the White House were among the more than 700 doctors and other health professionals who participated in the Physicians Committee’s International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine on July 29 and 30 (see page 12). BreakTheMeatHabit.org
Theaters Ban ‘Sausage Party’ Cancer Ad
ausage Party, an R-rated animated comedy, opened in August in 3,103 theaters across the United States and made $33.6 million the first weekend. Some of those moviegoers should have seen a Physicians Committee ad warning of sausage’s link to colorectal cancer. But theaters with concessions stands selling hot dogs banned the ad.
In the humorous video, a woman whose husband has been texting photos of himself with a hot dog is confronted by a friend who received the photos. The wife apologizes for her husband, but her friend says, “It’s your husband you need to worry about. Eating just one hot dog a day increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent.” The wife answers, “Don’t worry we’re going to have a frank discussion when I get home.” The Physicians Committee attempted to air the ad in movie theaters in Pennsylvania in the Northeast, Mississippi in the South, South Dakota in the Midwest, and Alaska in the West, the states in each region where colorectal cancer death rates for men are greatest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent World Health Organization report found that processed meats such as hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, and deli meats are “carcinogenic to humans.” Each 50-gram portion of processed meat—approximately the size of a typical hot dog—eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. HotDogsCauseCancer.org
GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
PREVENTION & NUTRITION
Doctors Offer Congress Antidote to Annual Hot Dog Lunch
he North American Meat Institute served members of Congress and staffers more than 3,500 hot dogs on
July 14. The following day the Physicians Committee’s Veggie Dog Smackdown, sponsored by the Congressional Vegetar-
Physicians Ask USDA to Use Cheese to Fill Potholes in Washington
he Physicians Committee asked the White House to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from sending 11 million pounds of cheese to schools and food assistance programs and asked that the cheese be used instead to fill potholes in Washington, D.C. The USDA announced on Aug. 23 that it will buy up 11 million pounds of unwanted cheese at a cost of $20 million, in order to prop up sagging dairy industry revenues. U.S. dairies have produced far more cheese than consumers are willing to buy, leading to a glut of more than 1 billion pounds of cheese currently in storage. The USDA plans to send the unwanted cheese to schools, food banks, and other food assistance programs. However, with childhood obesity remaining a major problem and with economically disadvantaged people suffering dispro16
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
portionately from obesity and diabetes, the physicians group has asked President Obama to stop the USDA from piling more cheese on an already burdened population. Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat and are among the foods highest in cholesterol and sodium. “The current administration has vowed to tackle childhood obesity and to fight for a healthier America. But dumping 11 million pounds of cheese on children and economically disadvantaged people will aggravate the problems they are already struggling with,” said Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee. “Food assistance
programs need healthful foods—fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.” Dr. Barnard acknowledged that further testing will be needed to see how well cheese works as a pothole-filler. In the meantime, he asked that the cheese remain in storage. Watch video at PCRM.org/Potholes.
ian Staff Association, offered an antidote to the cancer-causing processed meats. HipCityVeg—D.C.’s hottest new vegan restaurant—created four exclusive fruit-and-veggie-based relishes for a veggie dog to honor four vegetarian members of Congress: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Rep. Ted Deutch (Fla.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.). Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., also discussed the health benefits of choosing veggie dogs (and a colorful plant-based diet) over hot dogs and other processed meats, which the World Health Organization declared “carcinogenic to humans.” Each 50-gram portion of processed meat—the size of a typical hot dog—eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.
“It gets animals out of harm’s way and it allows medical school students to learn they can be great doctors without harming animals.”
(The Physicians Committee, of course!)
—Physicians Committee director of academic affairs John Pippin, M.D., in “One Last U.S. Medical School Still Killed Animals to Teach Surgery. But No More.”
“The Grady McDonald’s location has been the subject of a protest by Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a medical group trying to encourage hospitals nationwide to dump fast-food franchises.” —“Grady Hospital McDonald’s Closing” “Dogs like Dorrie are very poor models for hypertension and other heart diseases in people due to the many differences in anatomy and physiology.” THINKSTOCK
—Physicians Committee director of academic affairs John Pippin, M.D., in “Ad Blasts Animal Medical Experiments at Wayne State”
End the Sweet Talk. Meat and Cheese Cause Obesity. When it comes to weight problems, sugarsweetened beverages and other sweets distract from the main culprits fueling obesity: our appetite for meat and cheese.
Theaters Ban Our ‘Sausage Party’ Cancer Ad Our message to Sausage Party viewers: Processed meats are no party.
Meat and Dairy Subsidies Make America Sick Government food subsidies are damaging the health of Americans. It’s a problem we’re working to fix.
CONNECT Facebook.com/PCRM.org • Facebook.com/NealBarnardMD • Facebook.com/21DayKickstart Twitter.com/PCRM •
GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
Join Us for a Sublime Time!
oin us on March 10, 2017, as Nanci Alexander opens the doors of her legendary Sublime restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to host a spectacular Bon Voyage party for the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise (see ad on this page). If you have never stepped inside Sublime or tasted its incredible cuisine, you are in for a treat!! Tickets for the party, which benefit the Physicians Committee, are $150 and include a wine and plant-based “cheese” reception, guaranteed dinner reservations at Sublime, and a copy of Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book The Cheese Trap, which will be released in late February. Please note that dinner is not included in the ticket price. Limited to 80 guests.
A Sublime Time Friday, March 10, 2017 5:30-7 p.m. Sublime Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Learn more and purchase tickets at PCRM.org/Events SPECIAL MEMBER OFFER!
Physicians Committee members will have the opportunity to preorder autographed copies of The Cheese Trap. Watch your e-mail in early 2017 for this special offer!
Join Us in Hollywood
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
n Sunday, Dec. 4, James Costa will host a fundraising brunch at his Hollywood Hills home to benefit the Physicians Committee. Don’t miss this very special event featuring an intimate acoustic performance by the musician Moby. Tickets can be purchased at PCRM.org/Events.
Big Benefits for Guardian Circle Members
hysicians Committee supporters who give $1,000 or more annually are designated as Guardian Circle members. At this level of giving, members receive all the regular benefits, such as Good Medicine magazine, and they also receive special invitations to quarterly update calls with Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., and invitations to our leadership events throughout the year. In 2017 we have two Leadership Summits planned—one in Los Angeles and one in Washington. If you’d like to learn more about supporting our work at the Guardian Circle level and member benefits at this level, please contact our membership office at 202-527-7366 or you can make a secure donation online at PCRM.org/ Guardian. Thank you!
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You’re holding stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares that have increased in value. You want to make a gift that doesn’t affect your liquidity or cash flow. You want to make an outright gift, or fund a gift that will first return lifetime payments to you and/or another beneficiary. Contact our philanthropy office at 202-527-7366 to learn more about gifts of stock.
ifetime Partners are members who are committed to creating a legacy of compassion by including the Physicians Committee in future giving plans—in a will, trust, or as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement account. Our philanthropy team is available to explain how you can create a future gift to support the Physicians Committee’s lifesaving work. Bequests are the most popular type of legacy gift, but there are a variety of options and we can help you determine what type of gift will best fit your situation and accomplish your philanthropic goals.
Information about leaving a legacy of compassion is also available on our updated website: pcrm.plannedgiving.org. You can learn about the benefits to using your retirement account to make a gift, calculate gift annuity payments, and the interactive Plan-a-Gift function will even recommend a gift plan to meet your individual needs. Please contact Brandalyn Patton, Lifetime Partners Program Manager, at 202527-7318 or email@example.com to learn more about creating a legacy of compassion. Or, if you prefer, return the form below and we’ll contact you.
A Gift Plan that Works Best for You Please contact me about making a year-end gift of stock or making a gift from a qualified retirement plan. Please send me simple steps for creating a will. I have already named the Physicians Committee in my will or trust. Activate my Lifetime Partner status!
Please mail to Physicians Committee, Attn: Brandalyn Patton, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20016 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
Don’t sell the stock first. Even though you may donate the proceeds as a gift, the IRS will impose capital gains tax on your sale, wiping out the benefits of this arrangement. IMPORTANT TIP:
Enhanced Legacy Website
Resources for Physicians
You already know diet is a major factor in chronic disease prevention. Help your patients make the connection with our Waiting Room Literature Kits. Add our award winning educational literature to your office to start the conversation and help your patients make diet and lifestyle change a practical reality.
From the Physicians Committee Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, second edition Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
This comprehensive medical reference manual covers nearly 100 diseases and conditions, including risk factors, diagnoses, and typical treatments. Most importantly, it provides Many Physicians Committee fact sheets and booklets are downloadable without charge or available in print at minimal cost at PhysiciansCommittee.org/Lit The Nutrition Rainbow Poster The more naturally colorful your meal, the more likely it is to have an abundance of cancer-fighting nutrients. Pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors represent a variety of protective compounds. The Nutrition Rainbow poster shows the cancer-fighting and immune-boosting power of different-hued foods. 18"x24", $6.00
AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
the latest evidence-based information on nutritionâ€™s role in prevention and treatment. Includes an in-depth examination of general nutrition, macronutrients, micronutrients, and nutritional requirements for all stages of life. 745 pgs, $19.95 Special Discount $17.95
A Waiting Room Starter Kit A Waiting Room Starter Kit contains everything you need to start talking prevention with your patients. You will get samples of our most popular literature to share in your practice. $25.00, Free Shipping on this item!
Power Plate Poster These healthful food groups help you live longer, stay slimmer, and cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.18"x 24", $6.00
Nutrition Education Curriculum DVD PCRMâ€™s Nutrition Education Curriculum is designed for use in medical offices, worksites, and anywhere people will benefit from learning about the lifesaving effects of healthful eating. Please use the DVDs in this package where indicated on the curriculum found at pcrm.org/ curriculum. $8.00.Free Shipping on this item! Prescription for Health poster Finally, a prescription with side effects you want. This colorful 18"x24" poster is great for advertising the benefits of a plant-based diet. Encourage your patients to try food as their medicine with this Prescription for Health poster. $6.00
From the Physicians Committee
From Neal D. Barnard, Physicians Committee President
The Best in the World, Volumes I-IV Boxed Set Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-of-the-Way Restaurants
Power Foods for the Brain An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory
Neal D. Barnard, M.D., Editor
Since 1998, the Physicians Committee has collected healthy, exotic recipes from distinctive restaurants around the globe. Now you can own all four hardcover The Best in the World cookbooks in one beautifully boxed set. 284 pgs, $40.00, Special Discount $37.95 The Best in the World Fast, Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-of-the-Way Restaurants Neal D. Barnard, M.D., Editor
This popular collection of wonderfully healthy recipes comes from the world’s best and most unusual restaurants. Enjoy these vegan delicacies at home. Hardcover, 71 pgs, $11.95 The Best in the World II Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-of-the-Way Restaurants Jennifer L. Keller, R.D., Editor
Travel around the world to discover treasures from side-street cafes and elegant hotel dining rooms. Attractively illustrated. Hardcover, 71 pgs, $11.95 The Best in the World III Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-ofthe-Way Restaurants Neal D. Barnard, M.D., Editor
Discover delicious and unique recipes from restaurants across the globe. Join monks in a temple courtyard in the Far East, passengers on a French luxury yacht, or even a rock star in Akron, Ohio, for an unforgettable culinary adventure. Hardcover, 71 pgs, $11.95 The Best in the World IV Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-ofthe-Way Restaurants Neal D. Barnard, M.D., Editor
Find delicious and healthful recipes from unique restaurants all around the globe. Visit a rustic hotel in England’s Lake District, enjoy a friendly street side cafe in Rome, and dine on a terrace overlooking black volcanic beaches. Recipes are designed to be within the abilities of any amateur chef. Hardcover, 71 pgs, $11.95
In Power Foods for the Brain, Dr. Barnard has gathered the most important research and studies to deliver a program that can boost brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other less serious problems, including low energy, poor sleep patterns, irritability, and lack of focus. 320 pgs, $16.00 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health Based on the Physicians Committee’s popular online Kickstart program, Dr. Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart will help you get fast results: drop pounds, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve blood sugar, and more. With more than 60 recipes, daily meal plans, and tips for grocery shopping, this book will get you on the fast track to better health. 368 pgs, $15.99 The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook 125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Jump-Start Weight Loss and Help You Feel Great These recipes are based on Dr. Neal Barnard’s landmark two-year study, which shows that a vegan diet effectively controls type 2 diabetes. In fact, it’s also beneficial for weight loss, the reversal of heart disease, and the improvement of many other conditions. Dr. Barnard and nutritionist Robyn Webb offer easy, delicious meals to improve your health. 248 pgs, $18.95 Foods That Fight Pain Did you know that ginger can prevent migraines and that coffee sometimes cures them? Drawing on new research, Dr. Barnard shows readers how to soothe everyday ailments and cure chronic pain with common foods. 348 pgs, $14.95
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes If you have diabetes or are concerned about developing it, this program could change the course of your life. Dr. Barnard’s groundbreaking clinical studies, the latest funded by the National Institutes of Health, show that diabetes responds dramatically to a low-fat, vegetarian diet. Rather than just compensating for malfunctioning insulin like other treatment plans, Dr. Barnard’s program helps repair how the body uses insulin. Includes 50 delicious recipes. 288 pgs, $15.99 Breaking the Food Seduction We all have foods we can’t resist, foods that sabotage our health. But banishing those cravings for chocolate, cookies, cheese, or burgers isn’t a question of willpower; it’s a matter of biochemistry. Drawing on his own research and that of other leading institutions, Dr. Barnard reveals how diet and lifestyle changes can break the craving cycle. 324 pgs, $16.99 Turn Off the Fat Genes Genes, including those that shape our bodies, actually adapt to outside influences. Dr. Barnard explains the process and provides a three-week gene-control program complete with menus and recipes by Jennifer Raymond. Here are powerful tools for achieving long-term weight loss and better health. 350 pgs, $16.00
GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
PCRM MARKETPLACE The Cancer Survivor’s Guide Neal Barnard, M.D., Jennifer Reilly, R.D.
Find out how foods fight cancer and the advantages of a high-fiber, low-fat, dairy- and meat-free diet. Includes updates from the latest research, special prostate and breast cancer sections, tips for making the dietary transition, and more than 130 recipes. 245 pgs, $19.95
PhysiciansCommittee.org/Shop Food for Life Apron
Eating Right for Cancer Survival dvd Neal Barnard, M.D., Chef Sualua Tupolo, Stephanie Beine, R.D.
Created for the Physicians Committee’s Food for Life instructors, this Power Plate-themed apron in polyester/cotton twill features two large 7"x7" pockets and adjustable neck and waist ties. Blue, $20.00
This exciting two-disc set is designed to work hand in hand with the companion book, The Cancer Survivor’s Guide. Nine nutrition presentations and nine cooking lessons provide powerful tools for making changes in health and well-being. 270 mins, $19.95
DVDs from PBS Tackling Diabetes with Dr. Neal Barnard
Kickstart Your Health with Dr. Neal Barnard
Protect Your Memory with Dr. Neal Barnard
Drawing on the latest scientific research, Dr. Barnard explains how a low-fat vegan diet can fight diabetes by controlling blood glucose, weight, and heart disease risk. In many cases, it will even eliminate the need for some medications. 60 mins, $9.95
More than 400,000 people have participated in the Physicians Committee’s Kickstart program. Here Dr. Barnard describes the 21-day plan for a smarter, slimmer, and healthier you. Achieve lifelong results with this quick and easy approach. 60 mins, $9.95
Dr. Neal Barnard confronts yet another debilitating disease—memory loss. Through proven research, Dr. Barnard provides vital steps to boosting cognitive function along with valuable insight on how to protect your memory. $9.95
Power Plate Tote Bag
Unlocking the Power of Plant-based Nutrition dvd series
Share the Physicians Committee’s revolutionary Power Plate with this 10"x13"x15" polypropylene bag (20% post-industrial r e cy cl e d c o n t e n t ) w i t h reinforced handles and plastic bottom insert. Black, $5.00
You can buy all three Unlocking the Power of Plant-based Nutrition DVDs–Food for Life, Weight Control, and Heart Health–for $29.95. That’s a savings of nearly $15. Each disc features the segments “Getting Started” with Neal Barnard, M.D., and “In the Kitchen” with TV’s Totally Vegetarian chef Toni Fiore. Discs average 58 minutes in length. $29.95 Find more healthful resources at PCRM Marketplace Online PhysiciansCommittee.org/Shop
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AUTUMN AUTUMN2016 2016| |GOOD GOODMEDICINE MEDICINE
November is World Diabetes Month. More than 400 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes. But a plant-based diet can help prevent and reverse diabetes. Spread the message by sticking a fork in diabetes this November. Itâ€™s easy!
Step 1: Choose your favorite plant-based food and stick a fork in it. Step 2: Take a selfie. Step 3: Share your selfie on social media with the hashtag #StickAForkInDiabetes. Learn more about how a plant-based diet fights diabetes at StickAForkInDiabetes.org. GOOD MEDICINE | AUTUMN 2016
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Promoting Plant-Based Public Policy
Agustina Saenz, M.D., M.P.H.
gustina Saenz, M.D., M.P.H., joined the Physicians Committee as director of nutrition education and policy so she could help the U.S. government do a better job of promoting plant-based diets—and deterring consumption of disease-causing meat and dairy products—through federal nutrition programs. “While I was studying for my Master of Public Health, I immersed myself in the policy aspect of nutrition, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], the Farm Bill, and Food and Drug Administration regulations,” says Dr. Saenz, who earned her degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “My understanding of those topics is helping me better advocate for a low-fat, plant-based diet at the federal level.” But Dr. Saenz’s plant-based nutrition education didn’t start at Harvard or in
medical school. “In medical school, my nutrition course was geared more toward biochemistry—knowing the amount of calories per gram of fat, carbs, and proteins,” she recalls. “There was nothing on diets or practical advice that we could provide to patients.” Her interest in plant-based nutrition began after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. “I always cared about nutrition and thought I was eating a healthy diet, until I watched Forks Over Knives four years ago. I continued to watch related documentaries one after another the same night,” says Dr. Saenz. “They were such an eye-opener that the following morning I began eating a whole-foods, plantbased diet.” Cooking soon became a favorite pastime. “I discovered so many new flavors that now I actually enjoy spending time in the kitchen,” says Dr. Saenz, who also
address has changed, please let Please keep Ifusyour know promptly. AddressChanges@ in touch. PCRM.org or 202-686-2210, ext. 304. 24 AUTUMN 2016 | GOOD MEDICINE
enjoys running, biking, and reading philosophy, history, or nonfiction to “unplug” her brain. As Dr. Saenz continued her plant-based nutrition research after watching Forks Over Knives, she learned about the Physicians Committee and its physician resources, including the international conferences in nutrition in medicine, PCRM.org, and the Barnard Medical Center. “Working at the Physicians Committee is not just a job,” Dr. Saenz continues. “I’m advocating for what I strongly believe in: I am able to promote plantbased diets, participate in clinical research, and influence U.S. food policies.” She’s already doing that on Capitol Hill. In the congressional publication The Hill she recently wrote about SNAP and the Farm Bill. “To align our country, let’s start by aligning our nutrition policies. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends following plant-based dietary patterns to reach optimal health and reduce the risk for chronic disease,” wrote Dr. Saenz. “Hippocrates first introduced the concept of ‘Let food be thy medicine,’ and ‘Let medicine be thy food,’ but after countless centuries, we’re waiting to integrate this into our agricultural and health policies.” @PCRM
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