Written by Jamie Qualls, Class of 2017 D.O. / M.P.H. Candidate at Michigan State University.
In a world of uncertainties and confusion about the “best” way to eat, the medical field is doing little to create a clear, consistent message.
Our Plant Based Nutrition Interest Group at Wayne State University School of Medicine was a great success during the 2015/2016 school year, but it doesn’t take the message far enough. Every student that will become a member of the medical field should be exposed to the impact nutrition can have on physical and mental well-being. This is the only way we will be able to best serve our patients as a whole, not neglecting any aspect involved in their care.
That is where we have decided our group of brilliant, dedicated students in the medical field will have the most impact.
We’re currently partnering with plant-based nutrition leaders across the United States to create a complete curriculum outline regarding the evidence-based benefits of plant-based nutrition by system.
Ultimately, this document will allow schools in the medical field (medical, RD, nursing, etc.) to easily incorporate the latest nutrition research into their curriculum.
Who are the unsung heroes putting in the time to complete this groundbreaking document and why are they doing it?
See for yourselves…
Meet our dedicated students/individuals currently working hard to complete our curriculum outline:
Ivana Marchlewicz: “I believe that plant based nutrition is the future! I feel responsible as a public health student to spread the evidence-based research for the best practice and future of healthcare. Also… you can’t ignore statistics!”
Stacy Willner: “I am part of this project because I want to give my future patients the best care possible.”
Jamie Qualls: “I’m on a personal mission to research and understand the causes of chronic diseases plaguing our civilization. My involvement in this guide is helping me acquire a full understanding of the relationship of food and chronic disease so that I can provide my future patients the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to achieve optimum health.”
Amalia Restrepo: “This project is something so monumental for the future of healthcare and I believe it’s important for the world to be informed of the importance of a plant-based diet.”
Ryan Abboud: “As mankind advances, it grows ever more important to heed the call of Mother Earth and make compassionate choices to heal nature and preserve our shared well being. Nature’s abundance of edible flora provide all of the nutrients for optimal health of mind and body.”
Suzie Genyk: “Working with the Curriculum Change Committee means so much to me. We are compiling life-saving information. On a deep personal level, I feel that I have to do this work. My father was a cardiac patient who was told to follow the Atkins diet. After multiple bypass surgeries, a pacemaker and medication, his heart finally gave out.
If I can help give physicians the knowledge that nutrition saves lives, another young daughter does not have to go through the pain of losing her father.”
Helaina Huneault: “After graduating from Kinesiology and Dietetics I realized the power of plant-based nutrition and I went to TrueNorth to complete an internship with Dr. Klaper and Dr. Goldhamer. I have a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle and want to use my knowledge as a plant-based RD to help develop the nutrition curriculum with the help of PBNSG. I am so thankful to have this community in Michigan and together we can help to change the world one plant-based meal at a time (with a side kale salad)!”
Robin Bonomi: “Plant based nutrition holds enormous promise as a method for prevention and cure of many diseases that are far too common in our society. I truly believe that spreading knowledge about diet can help change the future of medicine and subsequently the demographic of the United States.”
Erica Willemsen: “I think it is important to educate people on how plant-based nutrition can benefit mental health and is a better alternative than conventional prescription drug therapy to treat mental health disorders.”
We have the utmost respect and gratitude for our faculty editors:
Dr. Mary Morreale, MD (Psychiatry, WSUSOM): “My involvement with the curriculum originates from my personal interest in a plant-based diet. From the research I have encountered, I believe that this approach to nutrition is the best for patients' health, while also supporting animal welfare and environmental conditions.”
Dr. Michael Levin, MD (former resident, WSUSOM, current Urologic Onncology fellow, Cleveland Clinic): “I am involved in the curriculum committee because while I am able to create change on an individual basis as a physician, leading by example, I hope to affect many more people via this curriculum change.”
A HUGE thank you to the rest of the students/individuals that helped us tackle the first half of this project:
- Naila Kovacevic
- Theresa Gattari
- Brittany Van Houten
- Jason Van Houten
- Angie Sullivan
- Brooke Westbrook
- Patrick Commiskey
Written by Amanda Martin
"So I set out to change our medical school."
One of my favorite things about Paul is his optimism. Truly, to be involved in this kind of work that’s changing paradigms you have to be a visionary and see things how they ought to be rather than how they are.
This is the way he looks at what we’re doing at the medical school:
- So far we have brought speakers to (at least) 500 1st and 2nd year medical students at Wayne State, University of Michigan and Michigan State.
- Of those 500 future doctors, if only 5% of them decided this message is worth sharing with their patients that would make 25 plant-based doctors.
- If we consider they see about 20 patients a day for a total of 240 days a year (and each patient comes about twice a year) that would mean they are caring for a combined 2,400 patients.
- If all of our plant-based doctors carried on this way for 30 years that would mean they would have touched a combined 72,000 lives.
Of course, these numbers are hypothetical and, we hope, an UNDERESTIMATE of how many medical students are taking this message to heart. After all, medical students entered this profession to heal and we have the honor of bringing them a message that can allow them to do exactly that.
The message is clear and simple; ask your patients what they eat before pills and procedures.
This is what we’ve been up to with our “lunch and learns” at the medical schools and we’re up to even more behind the scenes that we can’t wait to share with you soon.
- Amanda Martin