Lifestyle Medicine Conference to Highlight Plant-based Diet

Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing is hosting the Lifestyle Medicine Conference February 3-4, 2014. Renowned scholar T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and best-selling author and health activist Rip Esselstyn (Engine 2 Diet) are keynote speakers for the event. Both were featured in Forks Over Knives, a popular documentary released in 2011 that helped bring discussions about plant-based diets further into the mainstream.

Southern is the only university in North America to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that includes a lifestyle therapeutics emphasis. This puts the School of Nursing in a unique position to offer its students—who are the primary audience for this conference, even though the public is invited—a world-class presentation by leading authorities on how diet directly relates to health. The first cohort of students in the DNP program will graduate in May.

"Lifestyle medicine has specific applications for diabetes and heart disease, but it is a holistic approach that encompasses all areas of wellness," said Jeff Gates, associate professor in the School of Nursing. "Our goal with this conference is to reach out to our friends and neighbors and prove that a wholesome, vegetarian lifestyle is not just an Adventist thing. It's something that applies to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation."

Though this is not Southern’s first health conference, the presenters have never been more prestigious or well known in health circles. During the 1980s Campbell, a professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, was a lead scientist in the China-Oxford-Cornell study on diet and disease which analyzed mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases in Asia. That research led to the writing of The China Study, one of America’s best-selling books on nutrition.

Esselstyn, an All-American swimmer in college and well-respected triathlete, worked for a time at an Austin, Texas, fire department where he introduced his passion for plant-based foods. Engine 2 Diet documents his success in helping co-workers lose weight and lower their cholesterol. Esselstyn recently left his job as a firefighter to team up with Whole Foods Market as one of its healthy eating partners to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.

But it’s not just the celebrity speakers who will be doing the sharing. Students from both the School of Nursing and the School of Physical Education, Health and Wellness, which is also a sponsor for the conference, will have an opportunity to showcase for the public various ways in which they have been encouraging positive lifestyle changes on campus at Southern.

The public is invited to keynote presentations on February 3 at 7 p.m. (Cigna Healthcare Company in Chattanooga) and February 4 at 7:30 p.m. (Southern’s Iles P.E. Center). Additional lectures are also open to students and non-students alike, but require an RSVP due to space limitations. See complete schedule for list of times and locations.

Rachael Hankins Story by Rachael Hankins Published: Last Edited:

The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.