Advisory Board

We are grateful for the shared passion and support of the members of the PBNHC Expert & Medical Advisory Board.

Susan Benigas

Susan’s work has spanned the gamut, from running political campaigns to serving in senior management and consultant roles for organizations ranging from professional sports and media to healthcare technology and worksite health promotion. It was while president of a worksite wellness company that she had the paradigm-shift leading to her life’s passion: She questioned the status quo approach to “wellness”—all too often to diagnose and medicate—as opposed to a primary focus on identifying and eradicating the cause of disease.

With a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tulsa and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Susan’s passion for reaching the gatekeepers of dietary recommendations—our nation’s physicians and healthcare practitioners—led to her founding The Plantrician Project and co-founding the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference, showcasing the efficacy of whole food, plant-based nutrition in its ability to prevent, suspend and often even reverse much of the chronic, degenerative disease afflicting our world.

Her experience and successful track record in the areas of organizational leadership, project management, strategic marketing, public relations, development, and Internet-based solutions design and development have helped to fuel the success of many organizations and endeavors. In addition to her work with The Plantrician Project, Susan serves as executive director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

She and her husband, Jon, and furry family member, veggie-eating dog Bailey Blue, reside in Town & Country, MO, where Jon serves on the Board of Aldermen and is chairman of the Green Commission.

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Gerard Campione, CEC

Gerard is administrative director, executive chef of health and wellness, overseeing all Mercy food service facilities and promoting Healthification among co-workers and visitors. His methods of standardization for purchasing, menu creation and nutritional analysis are found throughout Mercy’s thirty hospitals, with a system-wide employee population of over 40,000.

Chef Campione’s culinary background includes memberships in the American Culinary Federation and the Chaine des Rotisseurs. He is a certified executive chef and a chef instructor, offering healthy cooking classes for cancer survivors, patients with heart disease, and diabetics. He has conducted classes at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, Forest Park Community College and hosted a local cable cooking show in St. Louis for over three years. Holding a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America and a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Services Management, he was named Chef of the Year by St. Louis Chef de Cuisine in 2001. Gerard joined Mercy’s food service team in 2002 at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Gerard and his wife of 37 years, Sharon, have two grown daughters. Nicole is an associate professor at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and Joanna is the senior social media coordinator for Military.com in Washington D.C.

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Shushana Castle

Shushana grew up with a dietary lifestyle that was predominantly whole food, plant-based, with little meat or dairy. Always interested in nutrition, after reading dozens of books on plant-based nutrition, she became impassioned to spread this knowledge about the all too often overlooked connection between diet and disease.

She is the founder and co-author of the book, Rethink Food: 100+ Doctors Can’t be Wrong featuring doctors, nutritionists and athletes from around the world who substantiate why our food choices hold the most profound but overlooked influence on our health. Rethink Food empowers the reader with a simple solution for a healthier, stronger and smarter you.

She has produced and appeared on dozens of local TV and radio shows interviewing leading doctors and scientists in their respective fields about how our food choices are intimately connected to our health and the environmental crisis.

Before delving into our healthcare world, Shushana was a globally renowned fixed income securities specialist for over 20 years and an equities specialist for 5 years. She spent over 10 years frequently traveling to Europe and the Middle East meeting with heads of tier 1 financial firms and heads of state, structuring securities for their portfolio needs. Former President Bill Clinton personally invited Shushana to serve as a member of his Clinton’s Global Initiative. Shushana has been included in quarterly think tank discussions with Bill Gates, Larry Page of Google, Economist Robert Reich, Queen Rania of Jordon, Al Gore, Sir Richard Branson, among other celebrities and citizens who display passion and care for the planet. In 2011, 2010 and 2009 Shushana moderated the water sector at the international CleanTech Conference which brings together leading world scientists in the water and CleanTech spheres. Shushana contributed to the documentary, Running the Sahara with Matt Damon.

She currently sits on the board of Living Water International and is a Houston Women’s Business Chamber of Commerce member. Shushana also brings one of the most distinguished film festivals in the world to Houston each year: the Telluride Mountain Film festival—part ideas summit, part social gathering, showing films about cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and issues that matter. Shushana holds a Masters in Environmental Management and Water and a degree in Finance.

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Tom Dunnam, MBA

With attention paid to every minute operational detail, Tom has successfully married his business management expertise with his passion for health promotion in his role as co-founder of both the Plantrician Project and the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. He serves as president of Total Health Immersions, a 7-day lifestyle intervention program that, several times each year, touches employees of some of the nation’s most admired employers that are committed to reining in healthcare costs and improving the quality of life for their employees.

Holding a BA in Management from St. Leo University, where Tom was a pitcher and team captain of the baseball team, he concluded his graduate studies with an MBA from the John F. Welch College of Business at Sacred Heart University. Along with his wife, Andrea, and their two children, Tom calls New Canaan, CT home, where he spends much of his free time coaching youth sports. He is also an active volunteer with the American Diabetes Association and the Fairfield County Sports Commission.

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Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Dr. Esselstyn received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

During his association with the Cleveland Clinic, which began in1968, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery.

In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn served as president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, That same year he organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease. In 1997, he chaired a follow-up conference, the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers. In April, 2005, Dr. Esselstyn became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. In September 2010, he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award. Dr. Esselstyn received the 2013 Deerfield Academy Alumni Association Heritage Award In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement & Service, and the 2013 Yale University GEORGE H.W. BUSH ’48 LIFETIME OF LEADERSHIP AWARD.

His scientific publications number over 150, “The Best Doctors in America” 1994-1995 published by Woodward and White cites Dr. Esselstyn’s surgical expertise in the categories of endocrine and breast disease. In 1995, he published his bench mark long-term nutritional research arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at 12 years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, making it one of the longest longitudinal studies of its type. Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet for more than 26 years. Dr. Esselstyn presently directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of The Plantrician Project. The Esselstyns have four children and nine (soon to be 10) grandchildren.

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Michael Greger, MD

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Greger is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the infamous “meat defamation” trial.

He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the director of public health and animal agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org, with new videos uploaded every other day.

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Micaela Karlsen

Micaela is a PhD candidate in Nutritional Epidemiology at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She holds an MSPH in Human Nutrition from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in Psychology from Cornell University.

A contributor to the New York Times bestseller Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, Micaela was one of the two founding employees of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation (now the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies), where she served as the foundation’s executive director before leaving to focus on her doctoral studies.

Having met so many people over the years who were excited about the idea of research related to diet and disease but did not know where to find or how to interpret original, peer-reviewed research papers, Micaela knew this was a void that needed to be filled. In 2013, she founded the online resource PlantBasedResearch.org, which she now manages as a database of original, peer-reviewed research studies relevant to plant-based nutrition. The website provides the public and health care professionals with access to the original, peer-reviewed research supporting the adoption of a plant-based diet, shining a spotlight on the topic to stimulate awareness and interest within the academic and medical communities.

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James Loomis Jr., MD

Dr. Loomis serves as medical director for the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC.

He received his M.D. degree from the University of Arkansas, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and graduated with honors. He subsequently completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, Dr. Loomis received an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.He is board certified in internal medicine and is on the clinical faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. Having earned a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Dr. Loomis has served as team internist for the St. Louis Rams football team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, as well as tour physician for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining Barnard Medical Center, he practiced internal medicine and served as director of prevention and wellness at St. Luke’s hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Jim is father to three sons, Jimmy, William and Bobby. Jim’s plant-based cooking classes are in high demand—the first to sell out at various culinary institutes.

An avid runner, cyclist and swimmer, Dr. Loomis has completed numerous half-marathons and triathlons, including a half-Ironman.

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Robert Ostfeld, MD, MSc, FACC

Robert Ostfeld, MD, MSc, FACC a cardiologist, is the founder and director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore, an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Associate Director of the Cardiology Fellowship at Montefiore-Einstein.

Dr. Ostfeld earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa; his MD from Yale University School of Medicine; and his Masters of Science in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Ostfeld completed his medical internship and residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiology fellowship and research fellowship in Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — both teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School.

His professional interests include cardiovascular disease prevention, medical education and clinical research. He earned the Outstanding Full Time Attending of the Year award at Montefiore for excellence in teaching medical residents; the Program Director’s Award for dedicated service on behalf of the Montefiore-Einstein Cardiology Fellowship; and was elected to the Leo M. Davidoff Society at Einstein for outstanding achievement in the teaching of medical students.

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Scott Stoll, MD

Dr. Stoll co-founded the International Plant Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference after recognizing the urgent need to educate and motivate healthcare professionals to use whole, plant-based foods as a foundation for healing and disease prevention. He is also the author of numerous scientific articles and Alive! The Physicians Biblical and Scientific Guide to Nutrition, and is an international speaker with a vision and passion to educate and inspire people and leaders to reclaim their health, and thus their lives, through nutrition and lifestyle.

Specializing in regenerative medicine, Dr. Stoll researches and utilizes natural treatments such as diet, regenerative injections and lifestyle to aid the body in healing chronic disease and injuries. Scott is the team physician at Lehigh University and serves as department chairman of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Coordinated Health.

Dr. Stoll is board chairman and serves as chief medical officer of the The Plantrician Project. He is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Future of Health Now Advisory Board, and the Rouxbe Cooking School Board of Directors and served as a member of the Whole Foods Scientific Medical Advisory Board.

A member of the 1994 Olympic Bobsled team, Dr. Stoll now serves as a team physician for the United States Bobsled and Skeleton team. Along with his beautiful wife, Kristen, the author of Kristen’s Healthy Kitchen Recipes, and their six children, the Stoll family resides in Bethlehem, PA.

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Phil Tuso, MD

The National Clinical Lead for Total Health with Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute, Dr. Tuso is the Regional Physician Co-Lead for Complete Care and Regional Physician Lead for the Readmission Reduction Program for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Dr. Tuso is a practicing nephrologist and hospitalist physician on the staff at Antelope Valley Hospital and Palmdale Regional Medical Center. Additionally, he serves as the director of the Fresenius Medical Care Dialysis Unit in Lancaster, California. Dr. Tuso is on the Board of Directors of Antelope Valley Partners for Health, a community based organization for local public health planning and intervention in the Antelope Valley.

Dr. Tuso received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside and M.D. from St. Georges University School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at Griffin Hospital in Derby Connecticut, a teaching affiliate of Yale University School of Medicine, and nephrology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then was awarded a National Institute of Health Training Grant and completed a research fellowship at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. For his research work he was awarded a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Dr. Tuso is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He has authored over fifty articles and books and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

In 2004, Phil and his wife, parents to four beautiful children, formed the Foundation to Improve Renal Nutrition, a 501 C 3 non-profit foundation which provides free nutritional supplements to low income patients with kidney disease who are malnourished. For his volunteer work he was awarded the Kaiser Permanente David Lawrence Community Service Award and the National Kidney Foundation Spirit of Nephrology Award.

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