Public Release: 

Physicians committee hosts CME conference to help providers prescribe a plant-based diet

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

WASHINGTON--Diet-related risk factors account for nearly half, more than 300,000, cardiometabolic deaths each year related to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Eight-six percent of doctors feel uncomfortable talking to patients about diet and health. Dietary risks remain the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee, aims to change this and brings the fifth-annual International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine (ICNM) to international health care providers and medical students on July 28 to 29, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.

Physicians, dietitians, and nurses can earn up to 15 continuing medical education (CME) credits, accredited by the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, while learning about the latest research in helping patients treat, prevent, and, in some cases, reverse chronic disease with a plant-based dietary intervention.

"In order to make health care work for everyone we have to get healthy," says Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. "Modern-day disease needs a modern-day prescription, which starts by building meals around nutrient-packed, plant-based foods."

In addition to gaining insight about the science and practical applications of nutrition counseling, attending clinicians and future doctors will learn about cutting-edge research, from the microbiome and telomere health to breakthroughs in metabolic function and the emerging link between diet and Alzheimer's disease.

Sample sessions include:

  • Nutrition Essentials: What Every Clinician Needs to Know by Dr. Barnard, with the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Heart-Healthy Nutrition in Practice by Robert Ostfeld, M.D., MS.c., F.A.C.C., with Montefiore Medical Center
  • Nutritional Interventions in Heart Failure by Conor Kerley, Ph.D., R.D., with Dublin City University
  • Diet, Stress, and Cellular Aging by Cindy Leung, Sc.D., Ph.D., with the University of California, San Francisco
  • Diet and Alzheimer's Disease by Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., with Rush University
  • Understanding Vitamin D by Anastassios Pittas, M.D., M.S., with Tufts University
  • Evaluating the Problem Gut by Robynne Chutkan, M.D., with Georgetown University
  • Understanding Metabolic Adaptation to Changes in Dietary Patterns in Humans by Matthew W. Hulver, Ph.D., with Virginia Tech University
  • Helping Patients Break the Weight Plateau by Anthony Lim, M.D., with TrueNorth Health Center

"We live in a digital age where studies populate by the minute and influence patient health outcomes and behavior," says Dr. Barnard. "Our goal is to sit down, discuss the research, and talk about the best ways to communicate peer-reviewed research with patients who have unique challenges, yet bring unique opportunities to influence their families and communities."

In addition to a 17-session conference, including a morning workout session led by Karen Smith, R.D., senior manager of clinical dietetics at Barnard Medical Center, the clinicians will break into a "Building Your Practice" workshop to discuss leveraging physician and patient time, group medical visits, and billing for nutrition guidance.

Metabolically-friendly meals include fiber-rich dishes that center around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, or lentils, beans, and peas.


Live tweets and Facebook videos will stream throughout the conference. To request a media pass, an interview with a panelist, or photos, journalists can contact Jessica Frost at 202-527-7342 or

Learn more at and follow the conversation online at #ICNM17.

Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., is the president and founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee, founder of Barnard Medical Center, a nonprofit primary care medical center in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The Physicians Committee is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 by Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., that promotes preventive nutrition, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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