We Speak Your Language: Joaquin Carral, M.D., and Aurora Leon, M.D.
Joaquin Carral, M.D., and Aurora Leon, M.D., have helped thousands of Spanish speakers around the world switch to a healthful vegan diet with PCRM’s Vegetariano en 21 Dias program.
“A lot of information about the disease-fighting benefits of a plant-based diet is in English,” says Dr. Leon. “But about 50 percent of my patients are Hispanic, so I know firsthand how important it is to translate this lifesaving message into Spanish.”
In October 2012, PCRM launched Vegetariano en 21 Dias, which features webcasts and nutrition advice from Drs. Carral and Leon, who both learned about PCRM after reading Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes.
Dr. Barnard’s book inspired Dr. Carral to spend four weeks as a nutrition intern with PCRM. He says the experience increased his knowledge of nutrition issues and made him aware of the gaps in his nutrition education.
“When I returned to my residency program, I started reading more about nutrition,” explains Dr. Carral, who along with Dr. Leon adopted a vegan diet three years ago. “It’s a subject physicians should be required to master.”
Drs. Carral and Leon both work at St. Luke´s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, where Dr. Carral is a chief resident and Dr. Leon is in the second year of her internal medicine residency.
“I always talk about nutrition with my patients, no matter if it is five or 30 minutes,” says Dr. Leon. “I find out what they are eating and see if they are willing to make a change.”
Dr. Carral also recommends that his patients eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
“I tell all of my patients that they have the opportunity to be healthier by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet,” says Dr. Carral. “For my patients with diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol, I spend more time on diet counseling than anything else. Patients have the right to know that it is in their power to live healthy lives.”
Drs. Carral and Leon both earned degrees at Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico City, Mexico.