Roberta S. Gray, M.D., started quietly taking ethical stands many years ago. While attending medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she became the first student to decline participating in a live animal lab. After taking part in two horrific animal labs while studying physical therapy, one of which included drilling holes into the skulls of cats, she couldn’t bear to take part in a surgical lab as part of her medical training and resolved to work to end this kind of abuse.
After receiving her medical degree, Dr. Gray completed her internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and served as chief resident there. She subsequently pursued fellowships in pediatric endocrinology and pediatric nephrology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Dr. Gray has held academic pediatric faculty positions at Duke University, Marshall University, East Carolina University, and Carolinas Medical Center.
As a pediatric nephrologist, Dr. Gray has taken care of many children with chronic kidney conditions. She found that children with chronic kidney failure but not yet on dialysis could see great improvements with protein restrictions, so Dr. Gray began recommending diets based on plant protein instead of animal protein. In these situations, families are highly motivated to help the child make dietary changes. Often, parents are so impressed with the benefits of a plant-based diet, the whole family adopts those healthier habits. Similarly, many children develop kidney stones due to their meat-heavy diets. Moving them toward a plant-based diet is an important part of management of patients with this condition.
Dr. Gray now serves as chair of PCRM’s Physicians Steering Committee. She hosts PCRM’s Doctor’s Forum conference calls, writes letters to the editor, and advises on PCRM activities.