Plant-based Nutrition Certification – T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Plant-based Nutrition Certification – T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

My sister-in-law, Kathy Parnay, and I co-founded 3 months ago, in January 2015. Our goal was to share information on the benefits of a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet. Her husband, Stefan, cured himself of aggressive prostate cancer  on a low glycemic, alkalizing WFPB diet, so we had become believers in the healing power of food. I had already been a vegan since 2010 and a vegetarian for 18 years prior to that, so was eager to share tips and recipes with interested readers. Since that time, we have enjoyed a steady stream of global followers of our blog and “likes” on our Facebook page.

Wanting to learn more about plant-based nutrition to build my knowledge and credibility, I found the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (CNS). CNS offers a six-week certification program in Plant-based Nutrition through Cornell’s online learning company, eCornell, so I quickly signed up.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the classes in the program. World-renowned experts Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of The Cleveland Clinic and Dr. John McDougall of the McDougall Center and others deliver the lectures. Teacher’s Assistants (TAs) grade assignments, provide additional information and encourage discussion among the students. Topics include nutrition fundamentals, diseases of affluence (such as cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and more), understanding and interpreting scientific research, the role of supplements and the impact of food production on the environment. I am happy to report that I completed the classes and received my certificate this week!

More on Dr. Campbell and CNS:

T. Colin Campbell (M.S., Ph.D.) is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. He has spent his entire career studying the effects of nutrition on long-term health, conducting lab studies and large-scale human (epidemiological) studies. The co-author of the ground-breaking book, The China Study, along with Whole and Low Carb Fraud, his work was featured in the popular documentary Forks Over Knives.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Miller, Executive Director of CNS to learn more about the non-profit and the certification program. CNS was founded in 1997 by one of Dr. Campbell’s former students, Megan Murphy. The certificate program in plant-based nutrition offered through eCornell began in 2009. The program is one of the first offered and provides continuing medical education (CME) credits for health care professionals.

Over 6,000 students have completed the program with approximately 75% from the U.S. and the remaining in other countries, primarily Western Europe and Australia. Most students are heath care professionals, such as doctors, nurses and nutritionists, but there are many laypeople like myself – chefs, tech managers, accountants, etc. In the last year Ms. Miller has seen an increase in physicians and nurses taking the course, which she attributes to demand from patients.

CNS also launched a certification program called Nutrition for a Healthy Heart. Dr. Campbell’s son, and co-author of The China Study, Dr. Tom Campbell, just released a book called The Campbell Plan. His other son, Nelson Campbell, directed Plant Pure Nation, a documentary that will be released on July 4, 2015. Plant Pure Nation is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to get the documentary shown in as many venues as possible. Learn more and consider contributing.

In closing, it’s exciting to see that information on the health benefits of a WFPB lifestyle is gaining considerable attention among health care professionals and consumers. We are at a tipping point in changing the way people eat. A WFPB diet is healthier for us, healthier for our planet and better for the animals we no longer consume. Please join Kathy and me in spreading the word.