Conducting Scientific Research with the Leaders in Science & Medicine
For more than 35 years, Dean Ornish, M.D.® and his colleagues at the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI) in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco and other leading academic institutions, have conducted a series of research studies showing that changes in diet and lifestyle can make a powerful difference in our health and well-being, how quickly these changes may occur, and how dynamic these mechanisms can be.
Dean Ornish, M.D.
Founder & President
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSD. He 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 40 years, he 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, “intensive cardiac rehabilitation,” to provide coverage for this program. He directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may slow, stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His 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 the first controlled study showing that these lifestyle changes may begin to reverse cellular aging by lengthening telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which regulate aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine & Physiology). He is currently directing the first randomized controlled trial to determine if comprehensive lifestyle changes can reverse the progression of early Alzheimer’s disease.
He is the author of seven books, all national bestsellers. UnDo It! (co-authored with Anne Ornish) was published by Random House as their lead nonfiction title in January 2019. His three main-stage TED.com talks have been viewed by over six 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. 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 TIME, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines, is a LinkedIn Influencer, and was Medical Editor of The Huffington Post 2010-2016.
He was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy; by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health; and by Governor Newsom to the Governor’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and Preparedness. He is also a member of The Lancet Oncology “Moonshot Commission.” He has been a member of the boards of directors of the San Francisco Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute. Dr. Ornish and colleagues established a lifestyle medicine clinic at the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter in San Francisco where over 30,000 homeless people were treated.
The “Ornish diet” has been rated “#1 for Heart Health” by a panel of experts at U.S. News & World Report
for nine years from 2011-2020. He co-chaired the Google Health Advisory Council with Marissa Mayer 2007-9.
He received 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 U.S. Surgeon General Citation; 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; the “Pioneer in Integrative Medicine” award from California Pacific Medical Center; the Stanley Wallach Award from the American College of Nutrition; the Glenn Foundation Award for Research; the Bravewell Collaborative Pioneer of Integrative Medicine award; the Sheila Kar Health Foundation Humanitarian Award from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Plantrician Project Luminary Award; and others. Dr. Ornish has been a physician consultant to President Clinton since 1993 and consulted with the chefs at The White House, Camp David, and Air Force One to cook more healthfully (1993-2000).
Dr. Ornish was recognized as “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years;” by TIME magazine as a “TIME 100 Innovator;” by LIFE magazine as “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation;” by People magazine as “one of the most interesting people of the year;” and by Forbes magazine as “one of the world’s seven most powerful teachers.”
Colleen Kemp, RN, MSN, CNS
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Colleen Kemp, RN, MSN, CNS is the Vice President of Clinical Operations at PMRI. She began her career in nursing in 1980 in hospital-based critical care units where she developed her expertise as an acute care provider. She has a Masters in Nursing and is certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Integrative Health. She has developed Integrative Health continuing education courses for health care providers, including counseling individuals on integrating lifestyle modification, and other complementary therapies such as intuition and energetic healing into their health care plans. She also held an adjunct faculty position in the Nursing Department at Dominican University of California. Colleen has been working with Dr. Dean Ornish since 2002, and has served in a variety of roles including Project Director for the Gene Expression Modulation in Nutrition and Lifestyle research study at PMRI and Vice President of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine at Sharecare. She is a decisive and pragmatic manager of multidisciplinary teams and projects, responsible for the successful leadership and management of clinical programs and operations.
Vice President, Business Operations
Heather Amador, BS, is the Vice President of Business Operations at PMRI. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She began working with Dr. Ornish at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI) in 1993. For over 25 years Heather has served in a variety of roles at PMRI including; Director of Retreat Programs, Assistant to the Director of Operations, Assistant to the Vice President of Finance, and Operations Manager. She has experienced the transformational power of lifestyle changes in both her personal and professional life. She is grateful to have been part of this life changing program for the majority of her career and is passionate about continuing to work to make the world a healthier place.
Anne Ornish, BA
Vice President, Program Development
ANNE ORNISH is the Digital Director of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine and Vice President of Program Development at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute. She is the creator of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine’s digital platform—including pmri.org, ornish.com—and Empower, a turnkey learning management system that trains health care professionals and supports participants to transform their health throughout the country. Today, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine is reimbursed by Medicare and many other commercial payers, offered in more than 30 states, and delivered with a turnkey process that is optimized by decades of operating knowledge. Most importantly, it has empowered tens of thousands of people from across the country to take their lives back by transforming suffering into health and well-being.
Anne is highly trained and experienced in lifestyle medicine, yoga therapy, mobile applications and web design, with over 20 years of successful innovation in the health and wellness industry.
In their new landmark book, UnDo It! Anne and Dean Ornish, MD present a simple yet powerful new unifying theory explaining why and how simple lifestyle changes can reverse so many different chronic diseases and how quickly these benefits occur. https://undoitbook.com/
Chief of Staff
Tandis Alizadeh is Chief of Staff at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute where she supports Dean Ornish, MD and the senior management team’s efficiency and productivity regarding all strategic initiatives. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Tandis has a passion for animals and is actively involved with various rescue programs throughout the Bay Area. Her foster fail, Oliver, is the official Rescue Mutt at PMRI.
Catherine Madison, MD
Dr. Madison received her M.D. from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri and completed residency training in neurology at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. After serving 8 years in the Air Force she came back to California to care for her own mother with Alzheimer’s disease. This personal family journey deepened her interests in helping others facing a similar life changing diagnosis.
Dr Madison envisioned and developed the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center (RDBHC) at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco in 2012 with an endowment from the Dolby Family. This is a multi-disciplinary center collaborating with the Alzheimer’s Association to educate patients and families about diagnosis, treatment strategies and how to work around changes to best maintain quality of life.
After assisting thousands of patients at RDBHC she is now working with Dr Ornish at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI) to study how intense lifestyle interventions may change the course of an early Alzheimer’s process.
Lynn Sievers, RN MS FNPc
Registered Nurse Case Manager
Lynn Sievers is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Her ongoing commitment to caring for people while also developing deep and varied expertise is evidenced by her educational and professional experience and accomplishments. She began her nursing career in critical care at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and subsequently spent several years working as a Clinical Specialist for Medtronic in the cardiac rhythm management division.
Lynn pursued her Masters of Science as a Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist from UCSF while also interning for the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI). Since earning this degree, Lynn has worked as UCSF’s clinical care coordinator in the specialized area of cardiac electrophysiology, and has run the pacemaker clinic at Golden Gate Cardiology.
Recently, Lynn’s passion for helping people create healthy lifestyles, not only for her family and herself, but also for her patients, inspired her to earn a second Masters degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Lynn’s desire to educate herself and others about the holistic pursuit of optimal health has led her back to PMRI. In her time away from work, Lynn can be found hiking with her husband, daughter, and dog in scenic Marin County. She also greatly enjoys her role a guest lecturer at the UCSF School of Nursing.
Sarah Tranter, RN, BS
Registered Nurse Case Manager
Sarah is an experienced critical care nurse who advocates for evidence-based diet and lifestyle prevention. She has more than 10 years of experience working in oncology, GI, intensive care units and the emergency room. Sarah holds a Food for Life instructor certificate from the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Sarah currently works as a registered nurse in the emergency room and at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI) supporting the Alzheimer’s lifestyle trial.
Pamela Kimmel, BS, MA, LMFT
Group Support Facilitator
Pamela has a Bachelor of Science in child development and a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California. She has assisted many individuals and families facing challenges navigating services and care resources in various communities. She has provided individual therapy to both men and women dealing with a variety of issues including life threatening illnesses, addiction and trauma. Her background includes working in Community mental health as well as providing individual and group therapy support. Her area of specialization is working with seniors. She previously volunteered as a medical outreach volunteer for the Alzheimer’s association. She has worked as an activities director with adults in memory care facilities and has coordinated and implemented groups and activities for seniors as well as their family members. She has been in private practice part time for over 5 years and has facilitated support groups for seniors and caregivers. She joined the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine clinical team as a Group Support Specialist in June of 2018.
Annie DiRocco, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian and Health Coach
Annie DiRocco is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Health Coach. She earned her degree in nutrition from New York University. During her studies she conducted research at NYU Langone Medical Center to examine the influence of the proposed NYC soda portion cap rule aimed at limiting the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) at the population health level. Annie deepened her knowledge of lifestyle management as a Health Coach for Healthways, where she gained extensive training in motivational interviewing and the transtheoretical model of behavior change. She has coached hundreds of clients towards more optimal, lifelong health transformations. Annie also holds a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and teaches on the connections among food, mind, body and environment. She is currently working as a registered dietitian with the Alzheimer’s study at PMRI.
Certified Personal Trainer
Laurie’s goal is to show everyone just how strong they really are! Laurie helps her clients shoot for the stars in whatever obstacle they wish to conquer and takes them to where they want to be. Whether it is day-to-day living, playing outdoors with family or competing in a race. Laurie believes in being her clients loudest cheerleader & safety supervisor. Laurie was born and raised on the East Coast. When Laurie is not Coaching, she is chasing after her two energetic boys and helping her husband with his surfing paddling business. She is currently working at PMRI as the Certified Personal Trainer on the Alzheimer’s clinical trial.
Marie Goodell, C-IAYT, RYT-500
Stress Management Specialist
Marie Goodell is a Certified Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher. Marie turned to yoga to manage stress more effectively while working as a high-tech marketing manager in Silicon Valley for large companies such as IBM, Oracle and SAP. After experiencing improved health, Marie began teaching in 2011 at the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco where she leads Hatha Yoga and Restorative Yoga classes. Marie also teaches wheelchair yoga classes at Laguna Honda Hospital & Rehabilitation Center to clients with physical disabilities, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. As a yoga therapist, Marie offers 1:1 sessions to clients recovery from surgery, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and chronic fatigue. Marie also teaches stress management at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute championed by Dr. Dean Ornish. Marie serves as a Board Member of the Accessible Yoga Organization and IYI San Francisco.
Allison Haag, RYT-200
Stress Management Specialist
Allison Haag is 200 HR Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. Allison began practicing yoga 10 years ago during American Acting Conservatory training programs. She learned yoga as a foundational warm-up to theatrical performance, dance, voice and improvisation. Allison’s curiosity of yoga as a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual practice led her to India for an Ayurveda & Yoga immersion. She became certified as a yoga teacher after studying classical Hatha Yoga with the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. She currently teaches restorative and hatha yoga classes at Purusha Yoga Studio in San Francisco. Allison sees the integration of yoga as an essential tool for renewing joyful, daily tasks. She teaches mindfulness skills, and stretching to fellow employees at Greens Restaurant. She is currently studying to complete her 500 HR yoga teaching certification. Allison is thrilled to work with Dr. Dean Ornish and the Preventive Medicine Research Institute as a provider of stress management, and body and mind renewal.