PCRM Nutrition Education Curriculum

The Physicians Committee

The Physicians Committee's nutrition education curriculum is designed for use in medical offices, worksites, and anywhere people will benefit from learning about the lifesaving effects of healthful eating. This approach has been tested in a multicenter study with GEICO—the well-known insurance company—and in the medical office setting. Similar curricula have been used in thousands of classes in the United States and abroad.

Neal Barnard, M.D.In the medical office setting, a great way to introduce the program is to invite people with diabetes, weight problems, cholesterol issues, or any other condition where nutrition plays a role to come to the office for a group session at a convenient time, say, early evening. Hopefully, you’ll have 15 to 20 people there. At the session, you can play a DVD that describes why a diet change is powerful. For example, Dr. Barnard’s PBS program Tackling Diabetes is a good starter. If you prefer, you can do a talk yourself instead of using a DVD. Once people are engaged, you can then invite them to a series of classes. All you need is an empty waiting room and a DVD player.

In the work setting, you can use a similar format. Start with an invitation to attend a group lecture, with no demand that anyone commit to more than that. Hopefully, the initial program will whet everyone’s appetite for more.

This curriculum may include more sessions than you need. Feel free to pick and choose, and to change the order.

Food for Life Symposium

Most sessions include a brief DVD segment. The DVDs are available through PCRM. The class listing indicates which DVD to have available. If you prefer, you can deliver this content yourself, without using a DVD.

The final session is a cooking class. This is often a big hit, but it is considered optional because not all meeting areas have adequate space and ventilation. Sometimes, it pays to prepare recipes that require no heat (e.g., a bean salad).

The optimal group size is 15 to 20 people. If you have more than that, some people will be left out of the discussion. If you have fewer, some people may feel they are under too much scrutiny. But you will be able to make do with whatever group size you have.

Thank you for putting this program to work. Please let us know of anything we can do to improve it.

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