Editorial: Thanks, Doc
When I founded PCRM in 1985, I envisioned it as a small think tank of perhaps two dozen doctors who would issue sage reports on the key issues in research, health, and preventive medicine. We would point out the value of alternatives to animal research. We would expose unethical human studies. We would promote healthy diets.
Over the years, we have done all those things as aggressively as we could. But our doctors now number well into the thousands, they have been joined by many other health professionals and lay persons who support our mission, and our campaigns have developed a sophistication and efficacy far beyond our initial vision.
I recently had some wonderful reminders of the commitment of PCRM’s doctors. We had learned that Ohio State University was planning a course in spinal cord injury, in which students would be taught to damage the spinal cords of mice and rats, leaving them injured for days and ultimately killing them. We asked our doctors to critique the course, and their response was immediate. They wrote to the University to demand an end to the cruel exercise and insisted on a prompt meeting with the University president. While this battle is still in high gear, I am grateful that so many of our neurologists, surgeons, internists, and other specialists are ready and willing to speak out against cruelty.
A great many of our doctors have already been doing battle with the forces of nutritional ignorance. John McDougall, M.D., Joel Fuhrmann, M.D., and many others have jumped into heated interviews at a moment’s notice.
This fall, we filmed four television commercials promoting healthy vegetarian diets for children and adults. We chose a top-notch production company and hired actors to play the parts of patients, people at home, etc. But when we looked to see who would play the roles of doctors speaking out for better diets, we didn’t need actors. PCRM’s doctors themselves came to Washington to give their message to the public loud and clear. Daran Haber, M.D., Carol Tavani, M.D., Ana Negron, M.D., Carolina Amador, M.D., Milton Mills, M.D., Zarin Azar, M.D., Michele Dodman, D.O., Stephen Stigers, M.D., and Aysha Akhtar, M.D., spent long hours with the film crew, making sure everything was perfect. None of them received a penny for their work. When filming ended at about 1 a.m., after four solid days of shooting, Dr. Haber asked, what else can I do for the cause?
To all our doctors, including the many I did not list here, please accept my gratitude for your commitment to making the world a much better place.
Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
president of PCRM