The Plantrician Project Luminary Award
Each year the Plantrician Project recognizes a Luminary who has worked to advance whole food, plant-based nutrition as the foundation of disease prevention, suspension and reversal.
2017 Recipient Michael Klaper, MD
In recognition of your unwavering dedication, exemplary patient care, sage wisdom, and humble leadership in the advancement of whole food, plant-based nutrition as the foundation of disease prevention, suspension, and reversal.
Dr. Klaper, is a gifted clinician, internationally recognized teacher, and sought-after speaker on diet and health. He has practiced medicine for more than 40 years and is a leading educator in applied plant-based nutrition and integrative medicine. He is also the author of a successful book on cholesterol-free nutrition, as well as numerous DVDs and Videos on Demand and a series of “Healthy YOU Webinars.” A source of inspiration advocating plant-based diets and the end of animal cruelty worldwide, Dr. Klaper contributed to the making of two PBS television programs Food for Thought and the award-winning Diet for a New America movie based on the book of the same name. Dr. Michael Klaper teaches that “Health Comes From Healthy Living” and is dedicated to the healing and flourishing of all living beings and our planet.
Dr. Klaper graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago (1972), served a medical internship at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada with additional training in surgery, anesthesiology, and orthopedics at the University of British Columbia Hospitals in Vancouver and in obstetrics at the University of California Hospitals in San Francisco.
As Dr. Klaper’s medical career progressed, he began to realize (true to what science is bearing out today) that many of the diseases his patients presented – clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, adult onset diabetes, and even some forms of arthritis, asthma, and other significant illnesses – were made worse or actually caused by the high sugar, high fat, high salt, overly processed Standard American Diet (S.A.D.). Dr. Klaper resolutely believes that proper nutrition (through a whole food, plant-based diet) and a balanced lifestyle are essential for health and, in many cases, can make the difference between healing an illness or merely treating its symptoms.
In addition to his clinical practice and private consultations with patients, Dr. Klaper is a passionate and devoted educator of physicians and other healthcare professionals about the importance of nutrition in clinical practice. Dr. Michael Klaper served as the Director of the non-profit Institute of Nutrition Education and Research from 1992 through 2015, during which time he conducted a study focusing on people who ate a completely plant-based (vegan) diet. Dr. Klaper was also a member of the Nutrition Task Force of the American Medical Student Association, and served as an advisor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project on nutrition for long-term space colonists on the moon and Mars.
For over ten years, Dr. Klaper hosted a popular medical information radio program Sounds of Healing on WPFW in Washington, DC and KAOI 1110 AM on Maui, Hawaii.
Dr. Michael Klaper practiced acute care medicine in New Zealand for three years and currently serves on the staff of the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, a nutritionally-based medical clinic specializing in therapeutic fasting and health improvement through a whole-food, plant-based diet.
He also serves on the Advisory Board for Naked Food Magazine.
2016 Recipient Dean Ornish, MD
In recognition of your pioneering research, dedicated teaching, distinguished leadership and steadfast commitment in the advancement of whole food, plant-based nutrition as the foundation for disease prevention, suspension and reversal.
The founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Dr. Ornish is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his MD from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dean earned a BA in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
For over 36 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. Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for this program, the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes. He directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His current research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as the first study showing that these lifestyle changes reverse aging by lengthening telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009).
He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers, including: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum.
2015 Recipient Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD
In recognition of your extraordinary vision, groundbreaking research, noble service, diplomatic leadership in the advancement of whole food, plant-based nutrition as the foundation of disease prevention, suspension, and reversal.
Dr. Esselstyn received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
During his association with the Cleveland Clinic, which began in1968, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery.
In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, That same year he organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease. In 1997, he chaired a follow-up conference, the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers. In April, 2005, Dr. Esselstyn became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. In September 2010, he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award. Dr. Esselstyn received the 2013 Deerfield Academy Alumni Association Heritage Award In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement & Service, and the 2013 Yale University GEORGE H.W. BUSH ’48 LIFETIME OF LEADERSHIP AWARD.
His scientific publications number over 150, “The Best Doctors in America” 1994-1995 published by Woodward and White cites Dr. Esselstyn’s surgical expertise in the categories of endocrine and breast disease. In 1995, he published his bench mark long-term nutritional research arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at 12 years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, making it one of the longest longitudinal studies of its type. Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet for more than 26 years. Dr. Esselstyn presently directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and serves on the Medical and Expert Advisory Board for the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. The Esselstyns have four children and ten grandchildren.
2014 Recipient T. Colin Campbell, PhD
In recognition of your exceptional contribution, vision, leadership and research in the advancement of whole food, plant-based nutrition as the foundation of disease prevention, suspension and reversal.
Having trained at Cornell (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology, Dr. Campbell spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus), as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry.
His principal scientific interests, which began with his graduate training in the late 1950’s, have been on the effects of nutritional status on long term health, particularly on the causation of cancer. He has conducted original research both in laboratory experiments and in large-scale human studies; has received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly NIH), has served on several grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, and has authored over 300 research papers. He has served on many national and international expert committees with mandates to develop food and health policy positions. He is the recipient of several awards, both in research and in citizenship.
Since publication of The China Study in 2005 that he co-authored with his son, Tom (MD, family practice), he has given more than 500 lectures both in the U.S. and abroad. More recently, he published Whole (May, 2013), as well as a new smaller book, Low Carb Fraud (Feb 2014). The very successful 2011 documentary movie, Forks Over Knives features his work and that of his colleague, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD.
Dr. Campbell founded the T Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, which is now headed by his son, Tom Campbell, MD. The Center, in partnership with the Cornell University, offers a highly successful online course in “Plant-Based Nutrition.”
About The Plantrician Project Luminary Award
The actual award presented to the doctors is original fine art by The Plantrician Project’s Official Artist, Kerry Schroeder of Austin, Texas.