Scott Stoll, MD — Co-founder & Board Chairman

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. As a former member of Whole Foods Market Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, he is 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.

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Susan Benigas — Founder

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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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 Medical and Expert Advisory Board for the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. The Esselstyns have four children and ten grandchildren.

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Tom Dunnam, MBA — Co-founder

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 with The Plantrician Project. He co-founded the International Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference and also serves as president of Total Health Immersions (THI). THI is 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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Brian Wendel

Brian is founder and president of Forks Over Knives and creator and executive producer of the Forks Over Knives feature film. Released in 2011, the Forks Over Knives documentary makes the radical but convincing case that modern diseases can be prevented, halted, and often reversed by leaving animal-based and highly refined foods off the plate … and adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet instead. The film, which received rave reviews from medical experts and entertainment critics alike, has been viewed by millions of people around the world and has become one of the most influential documentaries of our time.

Under Brian’s leadership, Forks Over Knives released the how-to companion book, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health in 2011. One year later, the brand published Forks Over Knives–The Cookbook. Both books were instant New York Times Best Sellers and together spent a total of 89 weeks on the best-seller list. A new book, The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, will be released in September of 2014.

Brian is also a partner in the commercial real estate firm Huntington Group, LLC and a member of the board of directors for the Lisa Wendel Memorial Foundation. Brian lives in Santa Monica, California.

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William Li, MD

Dr. Li is president, medical director, and co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation. He trained in the lab of Dr. Judah Folkman, pioneer of the angiogenesis field, and has been actively engaged in angiogenesis research and clinical development for 22 years.

Under Dr. Li’s leadership, the Foundation has developed a unique social enterprise model based on national and international collaborations with leading medical academic centers around the world, biopharmaceutical innovators, the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and medical associations. The Foundation’s work has led to the realization of 27 new treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to blindness to diabetic complications. Having testified and presented before congressional and other government panels on the impact of angiogenesis in healthcare, Dr. Li lectures widely on angiogenesis-related topics in front of clinical, government, and industrial audiences. He is involved in global efforts to advance the application of angiogenesis to health and wellness, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, has designed programs featured at the World Economic Forum, and launched the Eat to Beat Cancer, and Do iT Yourself Health campaigns to bring science- and evidence-based health recommendations to the public. Dr. Li has been published in Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and other leading peer-reviewed medical journals.

Receiving his A.B. with honors from Harvard College and his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dr. Li completed his internship, residency, and fellowship training in General Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He has held appointments on the clinical faculties of Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Li is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Wound Care Specialists and has served as advisor and consultant to leading global public and private companies.

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Ethan Brown

Ethan Brown, chief executive officer and co-founder of Beyond Meat — a company focused on perfectly replacing animal protein with plant protein – gained a profound appreciation for the natural world from his father, a professor and conservationist. Ethan’s passions for the environment shaped the direction of his adult life. After earning an MBA from Columbia University and an MPP from the University of Maryland, he embarked on a career in clean energy which included eight years at Ballard Power Systems, the world’s leading PEM fuel cell company focused on helping to create a better world.

Although he enjoyed a successful career in the clean energy sector, Ethan felt a need to make a bigger impact by addressing climate change, global resource constraints, animal welfare and human health. Committed to a plant-based diet, he often wondered if the staggering amount of animal protein produced and consumed could be significantly reduced if a perfect plant-based meat replication existed.

Pursuit of this idea led him to Dr. Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff at the University of Missouri. Their collaboration along with support from The University of Maryland, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and The Obvious Corporation led to the creation of Beyond Meat in 2009. The company also gained support from Morgan Creek Capital, The Humane Society, Closed Loop Capital and most recently, Bill Gates.

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Jana Kohl, PsyD

Jana Kohl, PsyD is a doctor of psychology, author, artist, activist and philanthropist. She has been an advocate for plant-based nutrition for the past fifteen years, as well as a champion of many causes. Having worked for the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, she has long been concerned with how society sanctions cruelty and abuse. Dr. Kohl testified before the Illinois legislature on the link between violence against animals and inter-human violence and has worked on legislative initiatives seeking bans on animal cruelty practices in various industries. She is the author of ‘A Rare Breed of Love.’

Dr. Kohl’s interest in plant-based nutrition had a moral and ethical basis but over the past decade she has embraced the other benefits now attributed to a plant-based lifestyle: Human health, reversing environmental destruction, the means to ending world hunger, and a positive impact upon failing economies.

One of Dr. Kohl’s passions is in assisting people on the journey to plant-based health and happiness. As a psychologist she is interested in understanding why people either resist or embrace change, especially when offered a chance to reverse or prevent illness through a plant-based diet. She is also interested in spreading the word about pediatric nutrition since her twin sons have thrived on a plant-based diet from infancy.

She and her children currently live in CA, where they grow organic fruit and vegetables, which they share with anyone who comes to visit.

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Eydie Desser

A marketing specialist, Eydie has over 20 years’ experience in local media sales management in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas for CBS, and has overseen media sales for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

She’s earned a Grande Diploma of Culinary from the French Culinary Institute in NYC as well as a certification in Rouxbe’s Plant-based Cooking Professional Course. She currently teaches whole food, plant-based cooking classes out of her home.

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