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Medical Students Across North America to Receive Free PCRM Nutrition Guide

Fruits, vegetables, and other vegetarian foods play a key role in fighting disease and promoting health, but medical students do not always get the nutrition facts they will need to help their patients adopt better eating habits. To supplement nutritional training in medical curricula, PCRM created a 900-page nutrition guide designed for medical students. This spring, the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians will be made available to every second-year medical student in the United States and Canada free of charge.

clinicians guideThe Nutrition Guide for Clinicians is a comprehensive manual on nearly 100 diseases and conditions. The guide not only provides basic information about each disease, such as risk factors and typical treatments, but it also provides evidence-based information on how nutrition can play a role in prevention and treatment. In addition, the guide contains in-depth information on general nutrition, including the roles of macronutrients and micronutrients and specific nutritional requirements for all stages of life.

PCRM President Neal Barnard, M.D., first envisioned the guide years ago when he noticed the demand among medical students for more information on nutrition in clinical medicine. Nutrition is often a neglected topic in medical school curricula, and many times even when it is taught, the lessons are focused on the biochemical aspects. For example, a student might learn the chemical structure of a vitamin but might not know what kind of diet changes to prescribe a patient with diabetes.

But nutrition is enormously important in clinical medicine. Studies have shown that a wide range of diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, can improve dramatically with diet changes. The guide was created to bring these issues to the attention of future doctors.

Medical schools will begin receiving shipments of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians in April, and the books will be distributed to the approximately 19,000 second-year medical students in the United States. This distribution to students will take place every year, and the guide will be updated periodically to ensure students are getting the latest information. Second-year students were selected as the recipients in hopes that the guide will help them prepare for their first clinical year.

“Knowledge of the critical relationships between diet and disease is essential for students so that they can inform their patients of nutritional changes to supplement and/or substitute pharmacological treatment, from the student’s third-year rotations on through the rest of their career,” said Haley Burke, a second-year medical student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “This guide provides valuable, real-life content that other review books lack and will be an essential part of my library.”

The guide was put together by a core team of two physicians and a dietitian—Brent Jaster, M.D., Scott Kahan, M.D., and Rick Weissinger, M.S., R.D.—under the oversight of Dr. Barnard. The guide was reviewed by more than 75 experts in a number of diverse fields, such as gastroenterology, dermatology, oncology, and nutrition.
To purchase your own copy of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, visit

PCRM is especially grateful to Nutrition Guide for Clinicians program sponsors: Darla K. Brunner and Steven R. Nussbaum with additional support from Robert Irish.


Good Medicine: Introducing PCRM's Nutrition Guide for Clinicians

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