Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. 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. He earned a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
For over 35 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 increasing telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens 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.
The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Circulation, The New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet Oncology, and elsewhere. A one-hour documentary of their work was broadcast on NOVA, the PBS science series, and was featured on Bill Moyers' PBS series, Healing & The Mind. Their work has been featured in all major media, including cover stories in Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report. He has written a monthly column for Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines and is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post, which has 45 million unique readers per month.
Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He is a member of the boards of directors of the San Francisco Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He established an integrative medicine clinic in the Saint Vincent de Paul homeless shelter in San Francisco which will be replicated throughout the country. Dr. Ornish was elected to the California Academy of Medicine and chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-9.
The Ornish diet was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011 and 2012.
Dr. Ornish was honored as “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years;” chosen by LIFE magazine as “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation;” recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People magazine; and by Forbes magazine as “one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world.”