Neal D. Barnard

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Neal Barnard
Born July 10, 1953
North Dakota, US
Nationality American
Education MD
Alma mater George Washington University School of Medicine
Occupation Doctor, psychiatrist, writer, musician
Employer Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, George Washington University

Neal D. Barnard (born 1953) is an American doctor, author, clinical researcher, and founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), an international network of doctors, scientists, and laypeople. An advocate of a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet, he has also conducted research into alternatives to animal experimentation and has been active in the animal protection movement. As of 2015, he is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.[1] He founded the nonprofit Barnard Medical Center in 2016 to integrate the fields of nutrition and medicine for complete primary care.[2] On April 4, 2016, Barnard was inducted as a fellow into the American College of Cardiology.[2]

Both Barnard and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have drawn criticism for the views on nutrition they promote.[3][4]


Barnard grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. He received his M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine.[1] He trained as a psychiatrist and is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.[citation needed] He provided psychiatric services at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the Calvary Shelter for Homeless Women in D.C., then shifted his focus to researching the impact of diet on human health, and finding alternatives to the use of animals in research.[5][not in citation given]


Barnard is an adjunct associate professor of medicine at GWU and is also a life member of the American Medical Association.[6]

Later, Barnard led two studies with GEICO, looking at weight loss.[7]


Barnard has written 17 books about nutrition, including the Dr. Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes and 21-Day Kickstart and Power Foods for the Brain. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians (2007). Nutritionist Marion Nestle wrote that he raises "provocative questions that deserve serious attention."[1] Dean Ornish has called him "one of the leading pioneers in educating the public about the healing power of diet and nutrition."[8] and Henry Heimlich described his "tremendous influence on dietary practices in the United States."[9] Salon praised his ability to promote a vegan diet "with such eloquence as to make the proposition sound almost inviting."[1]

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine[edit]

In 1985, Barnard founded the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The organization promotes the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets and works to end medical and scientific practices it considers harmful to human health.[10][self-published source?]


He appears in the 2011 documentary feature film Forks Over Knives, a film that traces the careers of T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn.[11] He also appears in the documentary Mad Cowboy.[12]

Criticism of Low-Carb Diets[edit]

Barnard is skeptical of the Atkins Diet, a low-carbohydrate fad diet. In 2004, he approved the Physicians Committee's release of a medical report on the death of Robert Atkins.[13] The New York City medical examiner's office said the report had been "inappropriately obtained" by a cardiologist, who said he had provided it to the Physicians Committee for research purposes only. Barnard said the cardiologist was aware the report would be released and justified it to expose the effect of the diet on Atkins' health.[14]


In the 1990s, Quackwatch included Barnard in its list of "Promoters of Questionable Methods and/or Advice."[3]

Peter Lipson, a doctor and writer on alternative medicine, has been heavily critical of Barnard's view that diabetes can be "reversed" by diet, saying that it relies on an over-simplifed view of the disease.[15]


A student of piano, cello, and guitar during his childhood, Barnard continued on as a musician to release multiple albums.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Wadman, Meredith. "Profile: Neal Barnard", Nature, 206, 12: 602.
  2. ^ a b "President". Barnard Medical Center. 
  3. ^ a b "Promoters of Questionable Methods and/or Advice". Quackwatch. Stephen Barrett. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Jarvis, William. "Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM)". National Center Against Health Fraud. NCAHF. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Sharkey, Joe. "Perennial Foes Meet Again in a Battle of the Snack Bar",The New York Times, November 23, 2004.
  6. ^ "Biographical Sketch",, accessed February 6, 2011.
  7. ^ Reed, Tina. "Going vegan could improve mood, productivity of workers at your company, study shows", Washington Business Journal, February 27, 2015.
  8. ^ Barnard, N.D. Foods that Fight Pain. Harmony Books, 1998.
  9. ^ Barnard, N.D. Food for Life. Harmony Books, 1993.
  10. ^ "About the Physicians Committee", PCRM, retrieved November 16, 2007
  11. ^ "Homeviewing" Turtle Creek News. (Dallas, Texas) Sept. 2, 2011. Page 9
  12. ^ Tobias, Michael Charles "Occupy Your Diet: A Discussion About Food, Health and Kindness With Dr. Neal Barnard" November 9, 2011.
  13. ^ Mary Carmichael, Atkins Under Attack, Newsweek, February 2004
  14. ^ Tara Godvin, ["Doctor: Atkins Data Wasn't for Public"], Newsday, February 13, 2004.
  15. ^ Lipson, Peter (12 October 2009). "Medicine is hard and should be practiced with caution". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  16. ^ "EXCLUSIVE! ‘Louder Than Words’ by CarbonWorks" Songwriting, December 12, 2016.
  17. ^ Duke, Dan. "Hampton Roads musicians, and a cute Samurai, get in their licks on doctor's new record" The Virginian Pilot, December 1, 2016.

External links[edit]