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Lifestyle Medicine Rotations at the Barnard Medical Center

About the Barnard Medical Center

Founded by Neal Barnard, MD, president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Barnard Medical Center uses a new model of health care that recognizes the fundamental importance of diet and lifestyle in the prevention, treatment, and possible reversal of many chronic diseases. In addition to providing top-of-the-line medical care, our outpatient primary care practice offers nutritional education and support, emphasizing a plant-based diet, to all its patients. 

About this Lifestyle Medicine Rotation Opportunity

If you are a student (medical, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) or medical resident who would like to learn how to integrate nutrition education and disease prevention into medical practice and learn more about plant-based nutrition, consider applying for this unique opportunity to visit an organization working to revolutionize health care. 

At the Barnard Medical Center, we have harnessed technology and deliver a significant portion of patient care remotely from outside of our Washington, D.C., clinic via telemedicine and online meeting platforms. As a result, your rotation will likely include both in-person and remote components. The remote components may take place wherever you will be staying during your rotation or at another location of your choosing. 

During your rotation you may have an opportunity to participate in some or all the following activities:

  • Interviewing, examining, and assessing patients in person depending upon clinicians’ schedules and patients’ approval (please note that for legal reasons, participants from foreign institutions are only able to shadow clinicians during patient visits)
  • Remotely joining telehealth patient visits (for U.S. students and residents only)
  • Remotely participating in group patient visits via an online platform
  • Remotely participating in group patient education programs via an online platform  
  • Remotely participating in staff journal club meetings via an online platform  
  • Remote independent learning such as reviewing medical literature  
  • Remotely giving a presentation to clinic staff on a relevant and current medical topic that aligns with your learning objectives 
  • Rotation participants may also have the opportunity to participate in clinical research on the effects of a plant-based diet and learn about the Physicians Committee’s other work, such as legislative advocacy, modernizing medical education by replacing the use of animals at medical centers, reforming nutrition education in medical schools, and promoting plant-based meal options in hospitals.  

Please note that the extent to which you will be able to participate in each type of activity will depend upon provider and patient schedules as well as our schedule for online patient programs. The standard duration of our clinical rotation is two weeks. Rotations for a duration other than two weeks will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All rotation participants will receive an orientation at the start of their rotation and ongoing support from their clinician preceptor. U.S. students will be provided with a laptop to participate directly in patient care (for legal reasons, participants from foreign institutions may not participate in direct patient care and will need to provide their own laptop). For telehealth and group patient visits, students will need to secure a private space to ensure patient confidentiality.

This unpaid rotation opportunity is not available as employment. The Barnard Medical Center is in the Metro-accessible Friendship Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Housing accommodations near the Barnard Medical Center office may be available at no cost. 

Qualifications

  • Those eligible to apply include:
    • Medical students 
    • Medical residents
    • Registered nurses in a Master of Science Nurse Practitioner program
    • Students in a Master of Science Physician Assistant program
  • Applicants should have a strong interest in the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the Barnard Medical Center’s unique approach to primary care and chronic disease prevention.
  • Applicants should be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

How to Apply 

Click here to complete our online application. Please submit your application at least six months in advance of your desired start date. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The Barnard Medical Center typically has two spots available each month for rotation participants. We will do our best to accommodate your desired timeframes.  

For more information, contact the Barnard Medical Center’s Human Resources department at careers [at] PCRM.org

Listen to participant Leonardo Areas Venaas discuss his experience rotating at the Barnard Medical Center on our Exam Room podcast.

Testimonials

Alice Krähenbühl, M.D.
Alice Krähenbühl, M.D.

I came to the Barnard Medical Center to learn how to better implement evidence-based nutrition advice in patient care. I was shown ways to communicate plant-based nutrition information efficiently and to make the science understandable to patients. The interdisciplinary approach of doctors, nurse practitioners, and dietitians working together to provide the best patient care truly convinced me, as I saw patients improving in many areas of their health. It was exciting to be able to take a patient off his diabetes medication for the very first time since I started practicing medicine. I became a doctor because of a deep-set desire to help reduce suffering in the world. I have now been given new tools to help me on this path. Engaging with patients that felt empowered to change their lives for the better through a plant-based diet helped me feel empowered to be the healer I want to be.
-Alice Krähenbühl, M.D., Swiss physician doing her formation training at North Cumbria Hospital in the United Kingdom

Dr. Pernille Kvernaas
Dr. Pernille Kvernaas

My time at the Barnard Medical Center taught me about the importance of communication to patients about nutrition and inspired me on my journey as a physician. I've learned that patient education about plant-based nutrition is a very powerful tool. I was surprised at how receptive patients are to big changes in their lifestyle and diet if only given the scientific information and the choice. What the clinicians and staff do here at the Barnard Medical Center and the Physicians Committee is game-changing and I'm very excited about seeing it expand further. The changes to the practice of medicine that the Barnard Medical Center team is pioneering here are creating ripples worldwide.
-Dr. Pernille Kvernaas, M.D., Physician completing her residency at Hospital Østfold Kalnes in Sarpsborg, Norway

Victoria Ryan
Victoria Ryan

I was given the opportunity to come to the Barnard Medical Center for my internal medicine rotation during my clinical year of physician assistant school. This experience was unlike any other rotation I’ve had and showed me how important lifestyle choices are for prevention of the most common chronic diseases. At each appointment, the team at the Barnard Medical Center educate patients about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet and other lifestyle changes. In school we are constantly told that once a chronic disease is diagnosed, it will be with that patient for the rest of their life; however, I met with several patients who have reversed their type 2 diabetes. I’ve also met with patients with type 1 diabetes who were able to significantly reduce the amount of insulin they needed to take, as well as with patients who drastically improved their cholesterol, and improved their arthritis. I plan on incorporating what I have learned at the Barnard Medical Center into my own practice of medicine, and hope to help my patients become truly healthier.  
-Victoria Ryan, physician assistant student at Gannon University in Pennsylvania

Kelsea Sanefur
Kelsea Sanefur

The clinical rotation at the Barnard Medical Center is an incredibly valuable opportunity for medical students looking to learn more about plant-based nutrition and the role it can have in preventative medicine. My exposure to the wealth of plant-based nutrition resources that exist will benefit both my own learning and that of my patients. I now feel much more confident about addressing nutrition with my patients and knowing how to offer them practical advice that they can implement right away.
- Kelsea Sandefur, medical student at A. T. Still University of Health Sciences' Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri