• Dean Ornish earned a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
  • Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine.
  • He was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
  • He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital.


  • Dr. Ornish is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.


The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain HealthDean Ornish is the author of six books, all national bestsellers including:

  • The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health
  • Love & Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health
  • Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease
  • Everyday Cooking with Dean Ornish
  • Eat More, Weigh Less: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Life Choice Program for Losing Weight Safely While Eating Abundantly
  • Stress, Diet & Your Heart: A Lifetime Program for Healing Your Heart Without Drugs or Surgery


Preventive Medicine Research Institute | Founded by Dr. Dean Ornish

Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute (PMRI).

For over 35 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research through PMRI, demonstrating for the first time that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery.

The first lifestyle program to be covered by Medicare

After 16 years of review, Medicare recently agreed to provide coverage for Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. This is the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes.

Medicare reimbursement is really a game-changer. When reimbursement changes, so do medical practice and medical education.

CMS recently expanded coverage via Medicare Advantage and Medicaid to cover those with type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer. Most other insurance companies will follow Medicare’s lead.

A new paradigm for healthcare, rather than sick care

Along with his proven program to reverse heart disease, Dr. Ornish and his colleagues have also demonstrated that changes in lifestyle can:

  • Slow, stop or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer (what’s true for prostate cancer might be true for breast cancer as well);
  • Lengthen telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for discovering telomerase, an enzyme that repairs and lengthens telomeres);
  • Change the way genes are expressed, by “turning on” (upregulating) genes that are protective, and “turning off” (downregulating) genes that promote heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases;
  • Destroy tumors by inhibiting angiogenesis, which is less toxic and expensive than pharmaceutical drugs liks Avastin, and only has good side effects!

Research findings by Dr. Ornish and PMRI have been featured in virtually all national media, including cover stories in Newsweek, TIME, and U.S. News & World Report, and also presented at the leading scientific and educational meetings in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Their findings have also been published in many of the leading peer-reviewed journals and textbooks, including all of the following and more:

  • American Journal of Health Promotion
  • American Journal of Public Health
  • Circulation
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • The American Journal of Cardiology
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association
  • The Lancet
  • The Lancet Oncology
  • The New England Journal of Medicine


Dr Dean Ornish | Featured in Newsweek MagazineDean Ornish has written a monthly column for Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines and is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post, which has 45 million unique readers per month.


  • A Lifesaving Legacy
    Judah Folkman transformed our understanding of cancer. Now his groundbreaking work is leading to new strategies for fighting obesity, Alzheimer’s and scores of other conditions.
  • A Plan for Overweight Kids
    The childhood obesity epidemic has been called ‘the terrorist threat from within.’ Now researchers armed with $500 million are taking aim at this public health disaster.
  • Bigger Brains, Better Genes
    Believe it or not, those are among the benefits of exercising more and eating healthier.
  • Changing Your Lifestyle Can Change Your Genes
    New research shows that improved diet, meditation and other non-medical interventions can actually “turn off” the disease-promoting process in men with prostate cancer.
  • Chocolate to Live For
    Not only does it taste good, studies show that it improves blood flow to your heart, lowers blood pressure, and other good stuff. What you need to know about a sweet and healthy favorite.
  • Ending the Sick Care System
    Sen. Tom Harkin on why America cannot afford to skimp on preventive health care.
  • Feel Better, Live Longer
    Love and joy are the real secrets to healthy living.
  • Forget About Willpower
    The real secret to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is knowing why you want to lose weight and live healthier. Fear of dying is not sustainable; joy of living is.
  • From Breakdown to Breakthrough
    Proven strategies for helping you survive the stress and anxiety of trying times.
  • Genes are Only Part of the Story
    In most cases, diet and lifestyle changes trump DNA if you’re willing to make big enough changes.
  • Lifestyle Changes, Regime Changes
    Fear doesn’t work–whether it’s in politics or at the breakfast table.
  • Lighten Up
    New studies show that stress not only makes you gain weight, but it affects what you eat and even where you pack on those extra pounds. What you can do to stop it.
  • Like Parent, Like Child
    The diet and lifestyle choices you make don’t just affect you.
  • Talking with Edwards About Health Reform
    In the first of a series, our columnist explores the candidates’ positions on fixing the way we pay for medical care.
  • The Collapse of Primary Care
    Disaster looms as medical students abandon family practice for higher-paying sub-specialties.
  • The Dark Side of Good Fats
    While omega-3 fatty acids offer health benefits to most people, new research has found they may be dangerous to some patients.
  • The Garbage Trucks in Your Blood
    The recent failure of a potential blockbuster drug designed to increase so-called ‘good cholesterol’ raises important issues about diet and heart health. What is HDL, anyway?
  • The Never-ending Diet Wars
    A new study reports that the Atkins diet can be just as healthy as a low-fat diet. But don’t start buying bacon yet. This research has some serious flaws.
  • The Toxic Power of Racism
    Recent studies document the harmful effects of discrimination on our health.
  • Tortured Logic
    There are important reasons why the most sacred medical oaths and doctrines prohibit doctors from participating in torture in any way.
  • What Matters Most
    That simple question can play a powerful role in healing our lives.
  • Why Health Insurance Doesn’t Work
    Because of a growing awareness that the current system is unsustainable, reformers are promoting disease prevention. A look at one campaign leader.
  • Yes, Prevention is Cheaper than Treatment
    Don’t be misled by recent reports, changes in diet and lifestyle are still the most effective way to lower health-care costs. You’ll feel better, too.

Reader's Digest | Articles by Dr. Dean Ornish


The White House Logo

  • Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
  • He was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy.
  • He is a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute.
  • He was elected to the California Academy of Medicine and chaired the Google Health Advisory Council (2007-2009).
  • He has been a physician consultant to President Clinton since 1993 and to several bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress. He consulted with the chefs at The White House, Camp David, and Air Force One to cook more healthfully (1993-2000). President Clinton has talked publicly about following Dr. Ornish’s program for reversing heart disease.
  • He has given the matriculation lecture at the Army War College on “The Power of Love” every year since 2008.  


Dean Ornish, M.D. is a revolutionary thought leader in healthcare and medicine, proving through 35 years of research studies that comprehensive lifestyle changes can improve chronic conditions and transform lives.

  • First to prove that even severe coronary heart disease may be reversed in both women and men by comprehensive lifestyle changes
  • First to prove that the progression of early-stage prostate cancer may often be slowed, stopped, or even reversed by comprehensive lifestyle changes
  • First to prove that changing lifestyle affects gene expression in men with prostate cancer
  • First to prove that changing lifestyle lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control aging, in the first controlled study over time showing that any intervention may begin to reverse aging on a genetic level
  • First to prove that changing lifestyle inhibits angiogenesis, thereby killing tumors with less toxicity by disrupting the tumor’s blood supply


  • One of the 125 Most Extraordinary University of Texas Alumni in the past 125 years
  • One of the 50 Most Influential Members of his Generation (LIFE magazine)
  • One of the Most Interesting People of 1996 (People magazine)
  • One of the Seven Most Powerful Teachers in the World (Forbes Magazine)


  • Beckmann Medal from the German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Bravewell Collaborative Pioneer of Integrative Medicine Award
  • Glenn Foundation Award for Research
  • Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement
  • Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for Distinguished Contribution in the Field of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention from the International Academy of Cardiology
  • Linus Pauling Award from the Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, Austin (1994)
  • Pioneer in Integrative Medicine Award from California Pacific Medical Center
  • Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association
  • Sheila Kar Health Foundation Humanitarian Award from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles)
  • Stanley Wallach Lectureship Award from the American College of Nutrition
  • U.S. Army Surgeon General Medal
  • University of California, Berkeley, National Public Health Hero Award