Physician Profile: Sam Jacobs, M.D.
For many PCRM physicians and members, their commitment to better health and ethical medical research was prompted by something quite small—a word from a friend, a passage in a book, or an example set by a doctor, colleague, or friend. For Sam Jacobs, M.D., it started with a very small rabbit—the one who ended up in his fellowship curriculum over a decade ago.
The laboratory required performing invasive, painful procedures on dozens of young rabbits who were not adequately anesthetized. Although it was presented as useful research, Dr. Jacobs soon realized it taught him nothing relevant he could apply to the human patients he would soon be treating. He successfully petitioned the university for a humane research alternative, published his thesis in a widely respected medical journal, and has been instrumental in bringing similar changes to many areas of medicine.
As associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and clerkship director of the ob/gyn rotation for third-year medical students, Dr. Jacobs is opening a world of new information for his students and colleagues, teaching PCRM's New Four Food Groups, presenting safe alternatives to estrogen replacement therapy, and exploring nutrition-based solutions to infertility. "One patient, despite months of intensive fertility treatments, was unable to conceive. After losing more than 100 pounds on a vegetarian diet, she became pregnant without any drugs at all," he recalls warmly. "The more I learn, the more I see how simple lifestyle habits have far-reaching impact."
Dr. Jacobs is a tireless proponent of a vegan diet and humane alternatives to animal experimentation. He fought for and won the elimination of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's "dog labs" in 1999, and he is currently busy promoting the school's research and development of synthetic skin grafts, which do not use animals at all. His dedication has been recognized with two Golden Apple Teaching Awards.