Star-Studded Celebration Marks PCRM's 20th Anniversary
Physicians’ Organization Looks Back at Two Decades of Advocacy For Good Nutrition and Alternatives to Animal Research
WASHINGTON— Founded 20 years ago to educate Americans about a healthier diet and to promote more ethical medical experiments, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has today emerged as a leading voice in promoting better health through good nutrition. PCRM will celebrate its founding on Saturday, April 16, at a 20th anniversary Gala in Washington, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin and attended by a host of other luminaries, including actress Alicia Silverstone and singer Emmylou Harris.
Highlights of the 20th anniversary celebration will include a presentation on a groundbreaking new insulin assay devised by PCRM scientists, the debut of a new public service announcement about healthy eating and cancer prevention narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, and presentation of The Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine by Mary Morgan, widow of the late pediatrician.
Under the leadership of founder and president Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM has grown from a small circle of concerned healthcare professionals in 1985 to a major nonprofit advocacy and research organization with a membership that includes more than 5,000 physicians and 100,000 laypersons.
Soon after PCRM was founded, the organization began exposing and reforming unethical experiments on animals and humans. In that first year, member physicians helped end controversial baboon head injury experiments at the University of Pennsylvania. PCRM also began an effort to educate medical schools about humane alternatives to live animal teaching labs. Today, more than 80 percent of U.S. medical schools now use alternatives. In 2002, researchers at PCRM and Georgetown University School of Medicine exposed the little-known practice of prescribing estrogens to tall girls in order to suppress their growth.
PCRM also promotes good nutrition. In 1991, PCRM released the New Four Food Groups, which would later contribute to fundamental changes in the federal Dietary Guidelines. In 1998, PCRM finished a two-year study showing that a low-fat vegan diet reduces disabling cramps and PMS symptoms. In 2004, PCRM helped file a high-profile lawsuit against Atkins Nutritionals on behalf of a Florida man who sustained a life-threatening artery blockage while on a low-carb diet.
PCRM scientists continue to conduct and publish groundbreaking research. Dr. Barnard is currently engaged in a federally funded study testing the efficacy of diet changes for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Last year, PCRM ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., published a landmark report in Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science proving that even “routine” laboratory procedures cause animals enormous stress. In a scientific review published early this year in the journal Pediatrics, PCRM nutritionist Amy Joy Lanou and co-authors showed that dairy products do not promote bone health in children and young adults.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.