Looking Back at 1997: PCRM Boldly Goes Where No Doctors Have Gone Before . . .
Breast Cancer: In the February 1997 issue of Preventive Medicine, we published a disturbing report showing that only one woman in five is aware of the links between diet and breast cancer, and that this dismal figure has improved only slightly since 1991.
Milk and breast cancer were linked in a surprising scientific review published by PCRM’s Jessica Outwater, Andrew Nicholson, M.D., and Neal Barnard, M.D., in Medical Hypotheses. Milk contains hormones, growth factors, and fat, all of which are under suspicion for their role in cancer.
Diet and Medicare Costs: Andrew Nicholson, M.D., presented a detailed analysis of how meat-based diets affect Medicare costs to the Third International Conference on Vegetarian Nutrition. Dr. Nicholson’s research paper is pending publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
PCRM’s research paper “Animal Waste Used as Livestock Feed” investigated the risks of the bizarre farm practice of feeding chicken manure to cattle. Published in the September-October 1997 issue of Preventive Medicine, it snowballed into a media storm, starting in U.S. News and World Report and leading to NBC Nightly News, CNN Headline News, and numerous other news reports. The U.S. News story was then pictured on the cover of Parade magazine on October 19. These stories portrayed the meat industry not as inhumane or necessarily unhealthy, but just plain gross.
Diet, Estrogens, and Pain: Neal Barnard, M.D., Donna Hurlock, M.D., and Lisa Talev, along with Anthony Scialli, M.D., of Georgetown University, investigated the use of a low-fat vegan diet to treat severe menstrual pain. The diet reduced pain in the majority of participants, some of whom experienced a profound change.
ALTERNATIVES TO ANIMAL USE
We continued to campaign hard for alternatives to the use of animals in education, under the direction of Steven Ragland. As a result, the University of Pittsburgh, Washington University in St. Louis, and Oregon Health Sciences University all ended live animal laboratories in their medical curricula. And, in a move that will likely influence other schools in Eastern Europe, the Medical Academy of Warsaw and the University of Poznan also eliminated their live dog laboratories.
PCRM’s physicians helped end the use of animals from pounds in several Michigan jurisdictions, including Manistee and Livingston counties and the cities of Riverview and Taylor.
Our video, Advances in Medical Education with Henry Heimlich, M.D., which shows Harvard Medical School’s outstanding alternative to old-fashioned medical school dog labs, won the Silver Plaque at the 1997 International Film and Video Competition. Produced by Steven Ragland and directed by Mark Schimmel, it was released to all medical schools and medical libraries in the U.S. and Canada.
Our second video, Innovations in Trauma Training with Henry Heimlich, M.D., along with Human Anatomy-Based Trauma Training: An Implementation Guide, shows instructors exactly how to teach trauma care without using animals. Currently, trauma courses kill an estimated 5,000 dogs every year. PCRM’s video was distributed to every Advanced Trauma Life Support instructor in North America.
PCRM’s vital message was distributed at our booths at the conventions of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Medical Student Association.
Charity Reform: Charities have begun to embrace the concept of an animal-free research program. The American Kidney Fund, the Easter Seal Society, the Endometriosis Association, and several other health charities are now explicit about the fact that animal experimenters need not apply, realizing that, for many donors, it matters. The March of Dimes has yet to phase out its animal experiments, and PCRM volunteers again leafleted at March of Dimes events in cities across the U.S.
MEDIA AND OUTREACH
Expanded Outreach to Medical Students: This year our new, colorful brochure “What Is Responsible Medicine?” was distributed to 20,000 medical students throughout the U.S. and Canada, providing information on nutrition and alternatives to the use of animals in research and education, and inviting them to join PCRM. Steven Ragland, Cathy DeLuca, Peter Wood, Aaron Gross, Patricia Bertron, R.D., and Neal Barnard, M.D., produced three new curricula for use in discussion groups and brown-bag lunch seminars. All contain core information and practical tips, along with classic journal articles that changed the face of medicine.
PCRM’s new nutrition curriculum, Key Nutrition Issues for Medical Students, debuted with eight critical lessons on using nutrition in heart disease, cancer, and other serious conditions.
PCRM’s Research Issues Compendium helps students address alternatives to the use of animals in their coursework and in research, as well as ethical issues in human research.
PCRM’s Medicine and Society Curriculum addresses ethical and social issues in medical practice, from how to spot spousal abuse in the emergency room to the question of physician-assisted suicide.
Under the guidance of Lisa Vidigal, PCRM investigated the availability of healthful food in schools, hospitals, airlines, airports, sports arenas, cruise lines, and Fortune 500 companies, findings which were widely reported in the press.
Public Schools: Dade County Public School District in Miami, Fla., received PCRM’s top honors for offering healthy low-fat vegetarian foods every day. Among universities, Duke University in North Carolina topped the list. The University of Pennsylvania and University of Notre Dame came in second and third.
Hospital Food:Some hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., and Richland Memorial in Columbia, S.C., provide healthy vegan choices for patients, while others, such as University Hospital in San Antonio and the University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles still have not gotten the fat and cholesterol out of their food.
Basketball Arenas: The food concessions at the Orlando Arena and the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., help bring fans into athletic trim, while the concessions at Madison Square Garden and the Omni in Atlanta look like the training table at the obesity Olympics.
Friendly Skies, Friendly Menu: United Airlines and Los Angeles International Airport again topped PCRM’s list for providing healthy food for air travelers.
Subway restaurants proudly displayed PCRM’s award recognizing their vegetarian fare.
Kathy Savory coordinated PCRM’s outreach to tens of thousands at consumer health shows in Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Seattle, New York, and Washington, D.C.
PCRM physicians Murry Cohen, M.D., Marjorie Cramer, M.D., Daisy Francini, M.D., and Ray Greek, M.D., have done media interviews and lectured to school and community organizations. PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., lectured in Montreal, Richmond, Boston, Orlando, New York, Baltimore, and Seattle, and at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
Scientific American examined the controversy over animal experiments with a cover story written by Neal Barnard, M.D. and Stephen Kaufman, M.D. Our editorials and letters to the editor appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines.
Good Medicine now reaches more than 100,000 people, thanks to the efforts of Publications Director Doug Hall and Production Coordinator Miyun Park, who also turned out factsheets, flyers, T-shirts, booklets, advertisements, and an updated web site.
PCRM was rated among top charities by the American Institute of Philanthropy as published in Your Money magazine, reflecting the high percentage of our resources devoted to direct programs with relatively little spent for fund-raising.