Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Adjunct Associate Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine; President, Physicians Committee
Dr. Barnard is the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes patients funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has authored more than 80 scientific publications, as well as a number of books. Follow Dr. Barnard on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNealBarnard.
Eric L. Adams
Brooklyn Borough President
For the past three decades, Eric L. Adams has served the residents of Brooklyn as borough president, state senator, police officer, and coalition builder. In November 2017, he was re-elected for a second term to represent all of Brooklyn as borough president. Born in Brownsville and educated in the city’s public school system, Eric is committed to ensuring Brooklyn’s bright future by helping each and every Brooklynite reach his or her full potential. As a legislator, Eric’s record in the New York State Senate was one that underscored his strong commitment to the rights of those from every walk of life, including protecting the right to privacy, supporting marriage equality, defending a woman’s right to choose, as well as fighting for students’ rights, workers’ rights, and animal rights. His work involved efforts to prevent racial profiling, gender discrimination, domestic violence, and elder abuse.
Dean Ornish, M.D.
President and Founder, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California San Francisco
Dr. Ornish is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif. He is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
For more than 32 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. He directed the first randomized, controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. In collaboration with Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., he also showed that these lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that control how long we live.
He is the author of six best-selling books, including New York Times best-sellers Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum.
The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Circulation, The New England Journal of Medicine, The American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet Oncology, and elsewhere.
Brenda Davis, R.D.
Ms. Davis is a nutrition and health writer who has co-authored 10 books with more than a million copies in print in 13 languages. Her most recent works include The Kick Diabetes Cookbook, Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition, and Becoming Vegan: Express Edition. She has also authored numerous professional and lay articles. Ms. Davis is the lead clinical nutrition specialist for the diabetes intervention project in the Marshall Islands and recently completed a lifestyle intervention demonstration program in Lithuania. She is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame in 2007.
Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Dr. Kahleova is director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She is an endocrinologist with a doctorate in human physiology and pathophysiology. Her current research interests focus on dietary treatment of metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes. She conducted several clinical trials with a plant-based diet. The studies proved the power of plant-based nutrition to improve oxidative stress and metabolic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. One of the studies showed that a plant-based diet reduces muscle fat more than a conventional hypocaloric diet in people with type 2 diabetes. This reduction in muscle fat was also associated with improvements in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Her research proved that eating a large breakfast and lunch is more beneficial than eating six smaller meals a day for patients with type 2 diabetes. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at Loma Linda University in California, analyzing data from more than 50,000 people, who were followed for more than seven years, on meal frequency and timing in relationship to body weight regulation.
Michelle McMacken, M.D.
NYU School of Medicine
Dr. McMacken is an assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. An honors graduate of Yale University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. McMacken practices internal medicine in the Adult Primary Care Clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, where she also directs the hospital's Weight Management Program and the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program. Through a 2014 NYU Merrin Fellowship grant, Dr. McMacken studied evidence-based nutrition and developed a nutrition curriculum for her internal medicine faculty colleagues.
Simin Liu, M.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine and Surgery, the Alpert School of Medicine; Director, Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health (CGCH)
Dr. Liu is an epidemiologist whose work unites molecular genetics, nutrition, clinical medicine, and public health. He is a professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health, professor of medicine and surgery at the Alpert School of Medicine, and director of the Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health. Dr. Liu's research is concerned with the etiology of chronic and complex diseases and their prevention and control strategies. His group conducts both experimental and observational research in humans. This work has led to the identification and confirmation of several novel genetic and biochemical markers and gene-nutrient interactions for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Sean Hashmi, M.D., M.S., F.A.S.N.
Regional Physician Director, Clinical Nutrition and Weight Management, Southern California Kaiser Permanente
Dr. Hashmi is the regional director for clinical nutrition and weight management at Southern California Kaiser Permanente. He is a board-certified nephrologist and obesity medicine specialist. He currently serves as the assistant area medical director and medical staff president at Kaiser Permanente, Woodland Hills. He also serves as the current president for the Clinical Management of the Obesity Section of The Obesity Society. Dr. Hashmi is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and founder of SELFPrinciple.org, which is focused on the latest in evidence-based health, nutrition, and wellness education.
Leigh Frame, Ph.D., M.H.S.
Program Director, Integrative Medicine, the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dr. Frame is the director for the Integrative Medicine Program at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Frame brings nutrition and immunity together through clinical translational research. She is especially interested in the role of vitamin D as an immune modulatory hormone. Her interests also include the potential role of the microbiome and nutrition in health, the consequences of malnutrition in obesity, research ethics, and social media. Dr. Frame received her doctorate degree in human nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health while working at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery and also received a Master of Health Science from the same school.
Director of Philanthropy, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Eric O'Grey is a director of philanthropy for the Physicians Committee. After losing 150 pounds and reversing his type 2 diabetes and other chronic health problems with plant-based nutrition and the help of a shelter dog, Eric’s story of recovery and redemption went viral with the internet film Eric & Peety and his book Walking with Peety, the Dog Who Saved My Life. Mr. O’Grey is passionate about plant-based cooking and animal kindness and especially enjoys spending time with his wife Jaye and running marathons with his dog Jake. Eric has a Bachelor of Science in finance from San Jose State University and a Doctor of Law degree from Emory University.
Kitt Falk Petersen, M.D.
Professor of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Petersen is a professor of internal medicine in the section of endocrinology at Yale University School of Medicine. She is also an honorary professor of medicine and clinical physiology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, where she is also deputy director of the metabolic imaging and liver metabolism section at the Center for Basic Metabolic Research. Dr. Petersen has published more than 140 articles on using stable isotopes magnetic resonance spectroscopy to explore the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance in aging, obesity, and low birth weight and the reversal of NAFLD and insulin resistance with caloric restriction or exercise. She completed clinical training at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, and Kandidatstipendium and Seniorstipendium fellowships for research in metabolism at the University of Copenhagen and the section of hepatology at Rigshospitalet. Dr. Petersen received further fellowship and postdoctoral training in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and metabolism at Yale.
Mark Messina, Ph.D., M.S.
Executive Director, Soy Nutrition Institute; Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University
Dr. Messina is the co-owner of Nutrition Matters, Inc., a nutrition consulting company, an adjunct associate professor at Loma Linda University, and the executive director of the Soy Nutrition Institute. Dr. Messina devotes his time to the study of the health effects of soy foods and soybean isoflavones. He writes extensively on these subjects, having published more than 100 articles and book chapters for health professionals, and has given more than 600 presentations to both consumer and professional groups in 53 countries. Dr. Messina is the chairperson of the editorial advisory board of, and writes a regular column for, The Soy Connection, a quarterly newsletter that reaches more than 250,000 dietitians and other health professionals. He has also organized and chaired nine international symposia on the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease and has organized soy meetings in China, India, Brazil, and Italy.
Jamie Kane, M.D.
Chief, Section of Obesity Medicine - Zucker School of Medicine at Hostra/Northwell
Dr. Kane is the section chief of obesity medicine and director for Northwell Health’s Center for Weight Management, as well as an assistant professor in the department of medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. At Hofstra/Northwell, Dr. Kane started and directs a fellowship in obesity medicine, one of the first of its kind in the nation, in addition to directing a resident clinic in obesity medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. He received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine prior to completing his residency training in internal medicine at Yale University.
Danielle Belardo, M.D.
Dr. Belardo is a cardiology fellow at Lankenau Heart Institute, where she started Pennsylvania’s first plant-based nutrition cardiology clinic. The clinic provides traditional cardiovascular care with dietary intervention. Since April 2018, she has helped more than 100 patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet and reverse chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Dr. Belardo earned her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine and completed her internal medicine residency at Temple University Hospital, where she became board certified in internal medicine. She is a member of the American College of Cardiology Nutrition & Lifestyle Workgroup.
Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., M.A.C.E.
Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Shulman is the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine and Cellular & Molecular Physiology at Yale University. He is also co-director of the Yale Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Shulman pioneered the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy combined with mass spectrometry to noninvasively examine intracellular glucose and fat metabolism in humans. This has led to a shift in the understanding of type 2 diabetes and identified several new drug targets for its treatment. He received his medical and doctorate degrees from Wayne State University.
Elisa V. Bandera, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chief, Cancer Epidemiology and Health Outcomes; Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Dr. Bandera is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers School of Public Health and chief of cancer epidemiology and health outcomes and co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Her major research interests include the impact of obesity on breast and ovarian cancer risk, treatment outcomes, and survival, with a focus on cancer health disparities. Over the past 10 years she has served as a member of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) International Expert Panel for the Continuous Update Project and the WCRF/AICR Third Expert Report on Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. She was also involved in the development of the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention in 2006 and in the 2012 Guidelines for Cancer Prevention and Survival. Dr. Bandera earned her medical degree from the University of Málaga, Spain, and a doctorate in epidemiology and community health from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she also completed post-doctoral training in nutritional epidemiology of cancer.
Robert Ostfeld, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.C.C.
Director, Preventive Cardiology, Montefiore Health System; Associate Professor of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Ostfeld is the director of preventive cardiology and the founder and director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Health System. He is also an associate professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His professional interests include cardiovascular disease prevention, medical education, and clinical research. He speaks widely regarding nutrition and prevention. Dr. Ostfeld earned his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine and his Masters of Science in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Ostfeld completed his medical internship and residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiology fellowship and research fellowship in preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, both teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School.
Ashley I. Bush, M.D., Ph.D.
Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia
Dr. Ashley is senior principal research fellow at Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, director of the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre, and head of the Oxidation Biology Unit at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne. He has made outstanding contributions to the neuroscience field, most notably his discovery of the importance of metal biology in neurodegenerative brain diseases. Dr. Ashley’s leadership has led to the development of new predictive tests for Alzheimer’s disease and innovative, potentially disease-modifying strategies. He is co-director of Biomarker Development for The Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing.
Ulf Risérus, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Uppsala University, Sweden
Dr. Risérus is associate professor of clinical nutrition and metabolism at Uppsala University in Sweden. He is currently leading a research group targeting dietary prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with special expertise on the role of fatty acids in the development and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases. His group has led a large number of clinical trials focusing on the effects of fatty acids on liver fat and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Since 2012, Dr. Risérus has been the president of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Dr. Risérus earned his doctorate in medicine and nutrition at Uppsala University.
Paul Ridker, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A.
Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Ridker is the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has been collaboratively responsible for elucidating the critical role of inflammation in the detection, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Best known for his pioneering population biology work on inflammatory biomarkers such as high-sensitivity CRP and interleukin-6, the first demonstrations of the anti-inflammatory effects of statins, the guideline changing JUPITER trial in 2008, and ultimately through the CANTOS interleukin-1b inhibition trial in 2017, Dr. Ridker's work has led to a fundamental shift in the understanding of atherosclerosis and to the first proof that targeted anti-cytokine therapies can lower cardiovascular event rates in the absence of lipid lowering. His work on inflammation, CRP, and atherothrombosis garnered recognition by Time magazine as one of America’s Ten Best Researchers in Science and Medicine and selection to the “Time 100.”
Baxter Montgomery, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Medical Director, Montgomery Heart & Wellness Center; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Dr. Montgomery is medical director of the Montgomery Heart & Wellness Center, a clinical assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of Texas in Houston, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and the founder and president of the Houston Cardiac Association.
Having seen many patients suffer the consequences of chronic heart disease, Dr. Montgomery founded the Montgomery Heart and Wellness Center in 2006 with the mission to reverse and prevent life-threatening illnesses. Located in Houston, Texas, The Montgomery Heart & Wellness Center is a state-of-the-art wellness facility complete with all the technology and resources to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care.
Dr. Montgomery earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston and his Medical Degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He is also the author of The Food Prescription for Better Health.
Ted D. Barnett, M.D., F.A.C.L.M.
President, Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute
CEO, Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Group
Dr. Barnett is the president of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute and CEO of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Group. Vegan since 1991, and the father of three adult vegan children, Dr. Barnett has, of necessity, developed expertise in plant-based nutrition. As an interventional radiologist, he treats clogged arteries with angioplasty and stents, and has had ample opportunity to witness the havoc that the Western diet plays on patients’ blood vessels. Although he performs high-tech interventions to repair these damaged blood vessels, Dr. Barnett would prefer to treat the cause with lifestyle changes. He’s known as the “High-Tech Doctor with Low-Tech Solutions.”
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Ms. Levin is director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee, where she studies how plant-based diets reduces chronic disease risk. She also addresses the need for nutrition guidelines that reflect the Physicians Committee’s Power Plate (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains). In addition, Ms. Levin assists in teaching nutrition and health classes to participants in clinical studies exploring the links between diet and various medical conditions. She received her Master of Science in nutrition from Bastyr University in Seattle. After receiving her master’s degree, Ms. Levin completed a dietetic internship at Bastyr University and became a registered dietitian. She also earned a specialty certification in sports dietetics from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Caroline Trapp, D.N.P., A.N.P.-BC, C.D.E., F.A.A.N.P.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Dr. Trapp is director of diabetes education and care with the Physicians Committee, where she manages a variety of diabetes prevention and reversal initiatives. She has collaborated with a number of Native American organizations to address the type 2 diabetes epidemic. She has also produced materials including a DVD and recipe booklet that were “Favorably Reviewed” by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Dr. Trapp is also a nurse practitioner specializing in the care of people with diabetes at Premier Internists, a division of the Millennium Medical Group, P.C., in Southfield, Mich. Dr. Trapp received her Masters of Science in community health nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is board certified in adult primary care, advanced diabetes management, and diabetes education.
Lee Crosby, R.D., L.D.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Ms. Crosby is a staff dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Barnard Medical Center, where she uses plant-based nutrition to help patients lose weight in a body-positive way, prevent and reverse diabetes and heart disease, and ease women’s health issues. When she’s not helping people feel their best with plant-based food, Ms. Crosby loves sharing delicious (and healthy) recipes on her blog, Veggie-Quest.com.
Meghan Jardine, M.S., M.B.A., R.D., L.D., C.D.E.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Mrs. Jardine is the associate director of diabetes nutrition education for the Physicians Committee, where she works to develop programs to educate physicians, health care professionals, and the public about nutrition as preventive medicine and the health benefits of plant-based diets. She also researches the link between diet and a healthy microbiome. Prior to working at the Physicians Committee, Mrs. Jardine coordinated a large multisite diabetes education program serving Dallas County in Texas. Mrs. Jardine is also the leader of the Plant-Based Nutrition for Diabetes with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She earned her master’s degree in nutrition and food science from Texas Woman’s University.
Karen Smith, R.D., C.D.E.
Progressive Health of Delaware
Ms. Smith is a staff dietitian at Progressive Health of Delaware, a lifestyle medicine primary care office, where she develops and helps facilitate a number of group lifestyle medicine programs and meets with patients for individual nutrition and lifestyle counseling. She also teaches Food for Life classes for her community in Abingdon, Md. Her experience as a dietitian includes working in public health, clinical settings, and for the Physicians Committee and the Barnard Medical Center. Ms. Smith received her degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware, where she also completed her dietetic internship.
Minh Nguyen, M.S., R.D.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Mr. Nguyen is a registered dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He received his master’s degree in nutrition from Texas Woman’s University and completed his dietetic internship in Houston, Texas. Mr. Nguyen is a native Houstonian and has worked on several electoral and civic engagement campaigns across the nation.
Preeti Kulkarni, N.D.
Owner and Founder of Core Integrative Health, Ambassador for Institute of Natural Medicine
Dr. Kulkarni is the owner and founder of Core Integrative Health and an ambassador for the Institute of Natural Medicine. Dr. Kulkarni is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a unique integrative approach to treatment. Her treatment protocols are based on current scientific research, customized to each patient's unique requirements, and built upon a foundation of clinical nutrition and lifestyle changes. The effectiveness of her unique approach was highlighted in the book Walking with Peety by Eric O’Grey, one of her past patients. Dr. Kulkarni sees patients with health concerns including cardiometabolic disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, endocrine imbalance, and autoimmune diseases. She is an active member of both the California Naturopathic Doctors Association and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Marie L. Borum, M.D., Ed.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Medicine
Director, Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Marie L. Borum, M.D., Ed.D., M.P.H., is a professor of medicine and the director of the division of gastroenterology and liver diseases at The George Washington University. Her research interests include medical education, physician practice patterns, health disparities, women’s health, colorectal cancer screening, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.
Dr. Borum has edited four text books, written more than 390 abstracts, 100 book chapters, and 130 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to her induction as a Master in the American College of Physicians, she is a fellow in the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Gastroenterological Association. She has been selected as a Top Doctor in Washington, D.C., Top Doctor in Northern Virginia and Top Doctor in America.
She received her medical degree from Rutgers Medical School and a master’s in public health and a doctorate in education from the George Washington University. She completed her internship, residency, and specialty training at George Washington University. She is board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.
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