As many VEGWORLD readers know, physicians are seldom trained in the relation of nutrition to disease — meaning they go into practice with little or no knowledge of how good nutrition, particularly plant-based eating, could help their sick patients get better or recover completely.
One medical professional medical group that has worked to change this is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which joined with Detroit’s Wayne State University School of Medicine to create a new and required course in whole-food plant-based nutrition for first-year medical students. It’s the first such course in the US.
Some 300 physicians-to-be completed the recently launched course under the aegis of the student-run Plant Based Nutrition Group (PBNG). During their month of study, they learned the science underpinning whole-food vegan eating and were challenged to develop ways to use it to help patients.
Academic and Real-World Learning
Wayne State’s plant-based nutrition course featured lectures, videos, quizzes, and wide-ranging educational materials provided by PCRM and PBNG. But its developers didn’t stop there; in addition to academic learning, they also offered the students real-world evidence of the benefits of a plant-based diet, including:
- Cooking demonstrations where chefs not only shared their culinary knowledge but also offered samples of delicious vegan food (could be the way to these students’ learning was at least partly through their taste buds!)
- A meet-and-greet with more than 25 patients who had reversed their illnesses or seen them go into remission while eating a whole-food plant-based diet
- Information-exchange meetings with six health professionals whose practices focus on plant-based nutrition
“Study after study has demonstrated that a plant-based diet is not only healthier but could even help prevent, treat, and reverse some of the leading causes of pain and suffering in America and across the world, says Lakshman (Lucky) Mulpuri, president of PBNG.
He knows what he’s talking about: Medical research has demonstrated that eating a whole food plant-based diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Melanoma is one of these, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Cornell University and author of the groundbreaking The China Study.
“The success of PBNG’s Plant-Based Curriculum Enhancement will have national implications for the future of clinical care and medical education,” Mulpuri continued. “Armed with a more comprehensive understanding of plant-based nutrition, these future physicians will be better prepared to combat the devastating effects of chronic disease that millions of Americans face every year.”