Happy Anniversary to UC Davis Integrative Medicine.
Four years ago today we were ‘born’.
And like all ideas—our program started with a vision.
We wanted to be the first integrative medicine program at an academic medical center to focus on plant-based nutrition.
When we first started discussing this, we were delighted and grateful to know that our vision was in perfect alignment with the overall mission here at UC Davis which places a premium on “food for health”, complete with its core competencies: food, water, sustainability, health and energy.
So blessed with ‘buy-in’ from our own community and the much-appreciated support of top administrators on the main campus and at the School of Medicine (who believed our message needed to be shared despite the fact that it challenged long standing medical viewpoints), we were on our way…
Together, let’s check out where we’ve been—and where we plan to go in the future…
Where We’ve Been
Here are some of the highlights of where we’ve been:
- For the first two years, our education efforts targeted our own physicians, staff and students through our continuing medical education. In that vein, we launched a Grand Rounds series called Pioneers in Integrative Medicine. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Michael Roizen have all participated in the program, teaching the health benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet. As a result of these talks, dozens of physicians, nurses, staffers and students here at UC Davis have successfully made the transition to a plant-based lifestyle!
- We have been invited on a permanent basis to co-chair an annual conference on preventive and integrative medicine with Dr. Michael Roizen, which is attended by 250-300 medical professionals. This year’s conference, “How Optimal Aging Is Affected by Inflammation, Plant Based Diets and Your Microbiome”, will discuss plant-based nutrition and longevity.
- In 2014, we sponsored our first virtual event in celebration of World Food Day featuring luminaries in whole food, plant-based nutrition. With only three days notice, we attracted an audience of 6,000 people!
- Given the enormous success of the first event and the feedback we received, we’ll be hosting two virtual events this year. The first one will will tackle the toughest (and most common) challenges people encounter when they transition to a plant-based diet.
- Our new blog is up and running since February 15th. In just a month, we’ve had 35,000 unique visitors!
Where We Are Going
- As we enter into our fifth year, our vision has become even bolder. To spread the plant-based message as far as possible, we aim to be the information aggregator for plant-based living. To that end, we are in constant conversations and partnerships with prominent plant-based spokespersons, eager to help them get their messages to as many as possible.
- We aim to offer continuing education to the next generation of healthcare professionals. Doctors and nurses from across the country have asked us about nutrition-specific distance learning programs for plant-based living and we see this as one of the most promising roles we can play.
- In terms of research, we will continue to focus on the interplay between nutrition, genetics/genomics and gut microbiome in the promotion of health. Our ultimate goal is to run randomized controlled trials comparing different diets to whole food, plant-based nutrition to identify food- and nutrient intake-specific molecular profiles and biomarkers linked to distinct health outcomes.
So as you can see, the coming year is full of promise. Not only for medical professionals, but for people who want to make the transition to whole, nutritious, plant-based foods and live longer, healthier lives.
Since our birth four years ago, the field of plant-based nutrition has evolved. The dialogue has even spread to the mass media; a great example was CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary “The Last Heart Attack” which featured former president Bill Clinton and offered up strong positive evidence for a plant-based diet.
As a result of all of this, we’ve witnessed more and more people to join our cause. We hope to build on the bourgeoning popularity of living plant-based by uniting health and diet, sharing high-quality information and building our community. In as many ways as possible, we want to make it easy for people to transition into a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
For those of you who have followed us on our journey these last four years, we want you to know we are humbled, honored and extremely thankful for your continuing support and encouragement.
And if you’ve just joined us, “welcome!” It’s going to be an exciting year.
And for everyone—no matter when you’ve joined us—we have a very special treat for you today with this French Breakfast Radishes with Nori, Tamari, and Avocado recipes straight from the highly acclaimed Vedge restaurant –considered one of the top 3 vegan restaurants in the US!