Fighting for Ethical Research and Better Health: A Review of 1998
Our program for alternatives to animal laboratories in medical education continues to grow, with ten medical schools receiving a special media/advertising blitz—Boston University, St. Louis University, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Colorado, University of California at San Diego, Medical College of Virginia, University of Arkansas, University of Miami, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and University of South Florida. In addition, PCRM sent alternatives information to medical schools across the U.S. and Canada.
In July, the University of Miami became the latest medical school to dump its animal teaching labs, thanks to PCRM’s campaign and our medical student allies, backed up by PCRM’s research coordinator Jennifer Drone. In October, however, animal experimenters fought back, deciding that if they could not have a dog lab, they may try to arrange a lab using pigs. PCRM is working hard to keep the medical school cruelty-free.
A flight nurse training program in Kansas City, Kansas, canceled its live dog laboratory after PCRM provided detailed alternatives information.
Firefighters save animals. Washington Township firefighters in Dublin, Ohio, objected to an upcoming trauma training course using live dogs and contacted PCRM for help. We sent Fire Chief Gene Bostic information on nonanimal alternatives, and the animal laboratory was soon canceled.
Sale of dogs stopped. PCRM pushed the city of Duluth, Minnesota, to cut off the sale of animals to laboratories. Now dogs turned into shelters can be sold to laboratories only if the lab has the consent of the previous owner and pays $200 per dog, provisions that effectively close off all sales.
PCRM’s director of research Steven Ragland promoted nonanimal teaching methodsin trauma care at the American College of Surgeons convention in Orlando, while Laurel Kadish and Brian Buckley Smith represented PCRM at the American College of Emergency Physicians in San Diego. Jennifer Drone, Steven Ragland, and Aaron Gross unveiled PCRM’s new medical student curricula at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) convention in Washington, D.C. The curricula include the Medicine and Society Curriculum, the Nutrition Curriculum, and the Research Issues Compendium.
The indefatigable Ray Greek, M.D., spoke on behalf of PCRM against animal experiments at Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta and at many other venues. Murry Cohen, M.D.; Marjorie Cramer, M.D.; Beverly Greenwold, M.D.; Donna Hurlock, M.D.; Michael Janson, M.D.; Michael Klaper, M.D.; Rich McLellan, M.D.; Milton Mills, M.D.; David Perlmutter, M.D.; Rhoda Ruttenberg, M.D.; Leonard Segal, D.O.; and Don Sloan, M.D., did broadcast interviews on medical controversies.
Our medical education campaigns also reached Poland, thanks to Rich McLellan, M.D., and Australia, thanks to veterinary student Andrew Knight.
Animal breeder blocked. Tri-River Investment Company’s attempt to start breeding dogs for experimentation near Portland, Oregon, was blocked after PCRM pushed the county commissioners to oppose the move.
OurGuide to Cruelty-Free Giving was greatly expanded, listing the charities that fund no animal experiments and those that continue to fund them. We also launched our new Web address for information on health charities—charitiesinfo.org.
PCRM physicians and researchers assisted the U.S. General Accounting Office in its investigation of the U.S. military’s animal experiments, focusing especially on biological and chemical warfare, trauma, brain injury experiments, medical education, and failures in public accountability.
PCRM’s video Advances in Medical Education, with Henry Heimlich, M.D., showing Harvard’s alternative to a typical “dog lab,” received an Emmy Award nomination.
PCRM researchers began a groundbreaking project examining the shocking number of humans and animals used in experiments as part of the marketing of unnecessary new drugs. More to come.
PCRM’sResearch Innovation Award was presented to Diana Schendel, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by PCRM’s LaVonne Painter, M.D., and Aaron Gross. The award cited Dr. Schendel’s breakthrough work on the role of magnesium in dramatically reducing the risk of cerebral palsy and mental retardation in newborns.
PCRM named the American Kidney Fund itsCharity of the Year for outstanding service, health innovation, and entirely ethical, nonanimal research.
Our program to reform charities, now in its third year, was bigger than ever. Demonstrations and leafletting in 140 cities, including airplane-flown banners in 5 cities, aimed to push the March of Dimes and other health charities to switch from animal experiments to better methods.
Meanwhile, PCRM’sNero Award—for fiddling with animal experiments while birth defects rise—was presented to March of Dimes offices in Dallas; Pittsburgh; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago. Andrew Breslin and Aaron Gross headed the charity reform effort.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Outreach to the medical community. Debbie Wildey; Lauri Chonko, R.D.; and Stephanie Sarkis represented PCRM at the American Public Health Association conference. PCRM’s Neal Barnard, M.D., addressed Health Show conventions in Austin, Las Vegas, and Orlando with the help of Stephanie Sarkis; Lauri Chonko, R.D.; Kathy Savory; and Lisa Lynch.
Patricia Bertron, R.D., in cooperation with Georgetown University School of Medicine, planned and coordinated PCRM’s ground-breakingSummit on the Dietary Guidelines 2000, which explored critical health issues and novel ways to promote healthier diets for all Americans.
PCRM’s Blood Pressure Block Parties gave thousands of people a free blood pressure check, a quick lesson in health, a medical referral, and a taste of foods that help bring blood pressure down. Many thanks to PCRM’s Stephanie Sarkis and the dozens of doctors, medical students, nurses, dietitians, and volunteers who made these events a roaring success in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Miami; Pittsburgh; Oakland; Rockford, Illinois; Seattle; Madison, Wisconsin; Tampa; and Milford, Connecticut.
PCRM rated the best and worst foods on the ground and in the air. A Natural Touch veggie burger has no fat or cholesterol, while a typical hamburger has 20 grams of fat and 90 milligrams of cholesterol. Lightlife veggie hot dogs have no fat or cholesterol, while a typical beef hot dog has 16 grams of fat and 35 milligrams of cholesterol.
American Airlines and United Airlines had the best availability of healthy vegan foods in the air. Stephanie Sarkis and Gowri Koneswaran coordinated the ratings and analysis.
The Best in the World, a collection of healthy vegetarian recipes from restaurants around the world, designed by PCRM’s Doug Hall, showed that dining is all the more chic when you’re not worrying about your cholesterol level.
When Benjamin Spock, M.D., drafted the seventh edition of his classic book Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care—which has sold more copies than any book other than the Bible—he turned to PCRM for the latest in nutrition. PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., and Charles Attwood, M.D., assisted Dr. Spock with the rewrite, including guidelines on how to spare children the dangers of meats, dairy products, and junk food, and Miyun Park coordinated many editing tasks.
The book’s release sparked a long-overdue discussion about vegetarian diets for kids, leading to many national and local media appearances. In response, PCRM assembled a nutrition expert panel including Patricia R. Bertron, R.D.; Carol M. Coughlin, R.D.; Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., F.A.D.A.; Virginia Messina, M.P.H., R.D.; and Neal Barnard, M.D. The panel released a detailed report on the advantages and safety of vegetarian diets for children.
Unfortunately, Ben Spock—a long-time friend, colleague, and Advisory Board member—did not live to see the book’s release. Ben died March 15, just shy of his 95th birthday, and the world lost a gentle man and great doctor.
In June PCRM president Neal Barnard released Foods That Fight Pain, promoting healthier diets with a 43-city lecture tour and endless newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, and TV programs, including Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, CNN Headline News, CBC’s Canada AM, and many others. PCRM’s media coordinator Michael Murphy juggled media demands in many different cities.
In the wake of findings that milk does not protect against fractures and has a surprising range of ill effects for many people, PCRM pushed North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Mississippi, Maryland, and Nebraska tojust say no to dairy industry schemes making milk the “state beverage.”
A plant-based nutrition program for schools was conducted on the island of Maui, Hawaii, whose population has some of the nation’s highest rates of diet-related disease. The breakthrough program, pioneered by Antonia Demas, Ph.D., and carried out by Dr. Demas and Jennifer Raymond, was warmly received by students, faculty, and local media.
Demonstrations on healthy cookingwere conducted in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore by culinary wizard Jennifer Raymond in conjunction with nutrition lectures by PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D.
PCRM staffers jumped to the rescue of a truckload of nearly 200slaughterhouse-bound pigswho were abandoned in Washington, D.C., by a missing-in-action driver.
Women’s Health:A study of low-fat vegetarian diets as a treatment for disabling menstrual pain was completed by PCRM’s Neal Barnard, M.D., along with Anthony Scialli, M.D., of Georgetown University. It is now pending publication. PCRM staffers—Patricia Bertron, R.D.; Mindy Gregg; Miyun Park; Kathy Savory; Cathy DeLuca; Jennifer Drone; Michael Murphy; A.R. Hogan; William Green; Aaron Gross; Neva Davis; and Steven Ragland—worked many late nights keeping the research on track.
Heart Disease:The dramatic cholesterol-lowering effect of a vegetarian diet was studied by Kalia Edmonds, along with PCRM doctors. PCRM has submitted the study for publication.
Diet and Prostate Cancer: PCRM’s research study of the use of diet in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer is fully designed and awaiting funding in order to begin.
Diabetes: Likewise, we are prepared to begin our Clinical Nutrition Research Study on Diabetes, pending funding. This study follows an extraordinarily successful pilot study.
A RESOURCE FOR VITAL INFORMATION
PCRM’s Good Medicine provided information found nowhere else, under Managing Editor/Designer Doug Hall and Assistant Editor Miyun Park.
PCRM’s Web site, www.pcrm.org, became a first-class, technically sophisticated resource, under the direction of Miyun Park.
PCRM’s media coordinator Michael Murphy managed the flow ofhundreds of hours of broadcast time and thousands of newspaper column inches, based on interviews with PCRM’s spokespersons, as well as our own press releases and video news releases on research and health issues.
Staff writer A.R. Hogan and media consultant Simon Chaitowitz kept PCRM’s presence strong with commentaries and letters to the editor appearing in dozens of publications, including Time, US News and World Report, USA Today, Science News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, and many others.
ActorKeenan Ivory Wayans, musician Ziggy Marley, St. Louis Cardinals managerTony LaRussa, skateboard championsEd Templeton and Jamie Thomas, and actor and triathlete Alexandra Paulpromoted a simple but powerful message, “Tonight, Make It Vegetarian” in PCRM’s “Do It for Someone You Love”public service announcement campaign. The campaign was coordinated by PCRM’s Lauri Chonko, R.D., and Gowri Koneswaran.
PCRM’s development director Peggy Hilden, along with Lisa Lynch and Laurel Kadish, responded to members’ needs and kept PCRM’s programs running stronger than ever. Rod Weaver, Sossena Dagne, Nabila Abdulwahab, David Wildey, and William Green made sure that PCRM’s lists and mailings—hundreds of thousands of pieces—were kept on track and that PCRM member inquiries got prompt attention.
Outreach coordinators Debbie Wildey and Kathy Savory managed innumerable special educational events for PCRM members and the public, distributing thousands of pieces of information-packed materials.
Financial officers Godfrey Fernando and Louise Holton kept our program funding at its maximum and our overhead astonishingly low. PCRM received an“A” rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy, reflecting the high percentage of our resources devoted to direct programs with relatively little for fundraising.