Dean Ornish

Renowned Health, Diet, and Nutrition Expert
Dean Ornish
  • A Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Ornish dedicates his life to promoting lifestyles changes that can reverse heart disease
  • Draws on extensive research background to communicate the importance of mental and physical lifestyle changes to audiences around the globe
  • The author of six best-selling books, his “Ornish Diet” has been rated #1 for Heart Health by U.S. News & World Report every year since 2011
  • Serves as a physician consultant to President Bill Clinton as well as president of Preventative Medicine Research Institute

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Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Dean 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 BA in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address. For almost 40 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. Medicare created a new benefit category 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 slow, stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. This research, which he published with Dr. Craig Venter, showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. He also directed the first study showing that these lifestyle changes may begin to reverse aging by lengthening telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging, in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. 

He is the author of six books, all national best-sellers, and his TED talks have been viewed by almost five million people. 

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. He has written a monthly column for Newsweek, TIME, and Reader’s Digest magazines, is currently the medical editor of The Huffington Post, and is a LinkedIn Influencer. 

Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and by President Barack Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He is a member of The Lancet Oncology “Moonshot Commission," and has been a member of the boards of directors for both the San Francisco Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He and his colleagues established a lifestyle medicine clinic at the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter in San Francisco where over 30,000 homeless people have been treated. 

The “Ornish Diet” has been rated “#1 for Heart Health” by U.S. News & World Report, every year since 2011. Dr. Ornish has received several awards, including the 1994 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, Austin, the University of California, Berkeley, “National Public Health Hero” Award, the Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for distinguished contribution in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention from the International Academy of Cardiology, a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association, the inaugural “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the Beckmann Medal from the German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases, a US Surgeon General Citation, the Stanley Wallach Lectureship Award from the American College of Nutrition, the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute for Functional Medicine, the Glenn Foundation Award for Research, the Bravewell Collaborative Pioneer of Integrative Medicine Award, the Plantrician Project Luminary Award, the Sheila Kar Health Foundation Humanitarian Award from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and others. 

Dr. Ornish has been a physician consultant to President Bill Clinton since 1993 and to several bipartisan members of the US Congress, and he consulted with the chefs at The White House, Camp David, and Air Force One to cook more healthfully, from 1993 to 2000. He also chaired the Google Health Advisory Council from 2007 to 2009 with Marissa Mayer and gave a keynote speech reviewing the science of integrative and lifestyle medicine at the Institute of Medicine’s first Summit on Integrative Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.  

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