Plant-based health professionals UK is a Community Interest Company dedicated to providing education and advocacy on whole food plant-based nutrition for prevention and treatment of chronic disease. In addition to practicing conventional medicine, we are passionate about promoting health and well-being using whole food plant-based nutrition. There is no doubt that conventional medicine has resulted in some astonishing advances in patient care. However, the current model of healthcare in the UK focuses primarily on treating established disease, rather than emphasising interventions that could prevent or reduce the burden of chronic disease.
We hope to provide a valuable resource for the education of healthcare professionals and the general public alike and aim to empower individuals to take control of their own health and share this information with patients, friends and their families.
Shireen Kassam MBBS, FRCPATH, PHD, DipIBLM
Founder and Director
Shireen is a Consultant Haematologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College Hospital, London with a specialist interest in the treatment of patients with lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system). She is also passionate about promoting plant-based nutrition for the prevention and reversal of chronic diseases and for maintaining optimal health after treatment for cancer.
She qualified as a medical doctor in 2000, initially training in general medicine, and gaining Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP; 2003). She then specialised in Haematology and achieved Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath; 2008). During training, she took time out to undertake a PhD (University of London, 2011). Her research investigated the role of selenium, an essential micronutrient, in sensitising cancer cells to chemotherapy. She was able to show that supra-nutritional doses of selenium could enhance the action of chemotherapy in the laboratory. She has published a number of peer-reviewed papers in the field of lymphoma.
Shireen discovered the power of nutrition for the prevention and treatment of disease in 2013 and since then has been following a whole food plant-based diet. She has immersed herself in the science of nutrition and health, reading scientific papers and books, attending nutrition conferences and completing recognised continuing professional development activities to keep up to date in the field. She has completed the eCornell certification in plant-based nutrition and in 2019 she became certified as a Lifestyle Medicine Physician by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. With her medical and scientific training, Shireen is uniquely placed to interpret nutritional data and incorporate the latest findings into daily medical practice.
Shireen founded Plant-based health professionals UK in 2017. Since then she has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Plant-Based Nutrition at Winchester University with the aim of producing high quality educational material and courses. She is also a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the Vegan Society.
Advisory board members
Nutritionist and Marketing
Doug Bristor is from Cambridge and has a background in ICT and Fractal modeling. Professionally, he is a ‘layperson’ in nutrition. However, he has many years of experience working in the education sector with emotionally and behaviorally challenged students. It is through this work that he became aware of the impact of poor nutrition on physical and emotional health. He was also made aware of the lack of adequate nutrition education and the systemic resistance to information and understanding that challenges current behaviour and thinking. He is committed to supporting health professionals access and present scientific information that promotes a healthful, ethical and sustainable way of living.
“My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?”
― Galileo Galilei
Dr Leila Dehghan, MD, MSc (Nutr), ANutr
As a stressed, 40 year old primary school teacher, Kate succumbed to inflammatory arthritis, later diagnosed as psoriatic arthritis. It seemed like every joint in her body was inflamed and in hindsight, she realised that she had suffered a few previous undiagnosed attacks over the years, but this was the most debilitating. Everything was extremely painful if not impossible; walking, sitting, and even sleeping. She was signed off work for a year. Thankfully with medication, her condition was brought under relative control. Soon after, 13 years ago, and with support from her husband, she embarked on a vegan diet and was able to slash her medication by more than half.
Only recently has she discovered whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet, and its amazing restorative and disease preventing benefits. At last she is completely in remission and medication free.
With a new lease of life, she is an active community member, founder of Hunstanton Community Orchard, graphic designer, ceramicist and community arts provider. She loves cooking and growing vegetables and has a small business making vegan food. She is a passionate advocate of plant-based nutrition and exercise.
She is beyond thankful that there are plant-based doctors and other health professionals who are championing a WFPB diet so that other people need not go through the torture of psoriatic arthritis and other dreadful health conditions.
Twitter: KateDunbar @HunstantonTowny
Dr Sue Kenneally MBBS, MRCGP, MSC (NutMed), ANutr
Sue Kenneally qualified as a GP in 2002 and is also a nutritionist, having been awarded an MSc in Nutritional Medicine in 2017. She enjoys her portfolio career which gives her the flexibility to pursue her interests in weight management, lifestyle medicine and plant-based medicine. She is director of the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine, SCOPE certified member and regional group lead of the Association for the Study of Obesity, a member of the Board of the Welsh Obesity Society, member of the ‘GPs with an Interest in Nutrition Group’ and a tutor in obesity and weight management at the University of South Wales. She is passionate about lifestyle and health, and hopes to inspire and empower her patients to transform their lives by making often simple changes.
Sue has appeared on TV numerous times and gives regular radio interviews on any subject related to lifestyle as a means of maintaining good health, and also has spoken at a number of academic/medical meetings advising other doctors and health professionals about the importance of lifestyle medicine. You can contact her via her public Facebook page Dr Sue Kenneally, or via Twitter @drsuekenneally
Marta Lewandowska MBChB
Marta works as a junior doctor. She has been interested in health promotion and disease prevention for a number of years and believes that lifestyle medicine – and a whole food plant-based diet in particular – can have a tremendous impact on people’s health.
In Summer 2018, Marta flew to Washington, DC to attend the clinical rotation at the Barnard Medical Center under the umbrella of the Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine (PCRM). She was mentored by Dr James Loomis and Dr Neal Barnard, and had a chance to explore how plant-based nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are encouraged in a primary care setting.
A year later, she visited Dr Willcox’s laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was exploring the relationship between the FOXO-3 gene and human longevity. As part of her research, she spent three weeks in Okinawa – a Blue Zone where a lot of people live to be healthy centenarians.
Marta has been following a plant-based diet since her first year at university. She first tried it to show her vegan flatmate that she couldn’t survive by eating plants only. Ironically, she found herself thrive as a vegan and the only regret she has is that she hadn’t tried it sooner.
Rosie Martin MSC
Rosie graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University as a registered dietitian in 2017 after a career as a zoologist specialising in animal behaviour research. Working in zoological parks in the UK and Australia highlighted her concerns surrounding captive animal welfare and Rosie became a full-time vegan in 2014, inspiring her whole family to follow suit.
Following her move back to the UK, she became fascinated by the science of nutrition and health and decided to re-train as a post-graduate dietitian. During her training, Rosie spent time with The Vegan Society as a volunteer dietitian, and has since been keen to pursue the plant-based area of nutrition and dietetics.
Rosie now works for the NHS in Devon as a generalist dietitian in a wide variety of areas from oncology to coeliac disease. She is particularly interested in plant-based preventative nutrition, weight management and bowel health.
Dr Miriam Martinez-Biarge, MD, PHD
Miriam works now as an Honorary Consultant Neonatologist & Research Fellow at Queen Charlotte’s and Hammersmith Hospitals. She specialises in the follow up of infants and young children who have been born prematurely, who have had neurological problems around the time of birth, or who are at risk of neurodevelopmental impairments. She also has a private practice in Spain as a neonatologist and developmental paediatrician.
Miriam became a vegetarian when she was in medical school and has been vegan for the past 6 years. Although she became a vegan for ethical reasons, she also started to study the health benefits of plant-based diets, not only for adults but for children as well. Since 2013 she has had a blog where she promotes a whole food plant-based diet and counsels parents on how to provide good vegan food for their children. She is the author of a book on vegan nutrition for babies and children.
Dr Gemma Newman MBBCH, DRCOG, DFSRH, MRCGP
Plant Based Nutrition Specialist
Dr Gemma Newman has worked in medicine for 14 years and is the Senior Partner at a family medical practice. She studied at the University of Wales College of Medicine and has worked in many specialities as a doctor including Elderly Care, Endocrinology, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry, General Surgery, Urology, Vascular Surgery, Rehabilitation Medicine and General Practice. She gained additional qualifications in Gynaecology and family planning. She has a specialist interest in plant-based nutrition and gives nutrition and lifestyle advice to her patients, who have gained tremendous benefits by using the power of their plate.
As a broadcaster and writer she has been regularly featured on television, including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky News Sunrise. She has contributed to articles for magazines including Glamour, Zest and Good Housekeeping. Her family lead a fully plant-based lifestyle, following the extensive scientific research she has done on the health benefits associated with whole food plant-based nutrition. She is regularly invited to teach other Doctors via training programmes and conferences about the benefits of plant-based nutrition. You can get in touch via Facebook Dr Gemma Newman, or follow her on Instagram @plantpowerdoctor, or gemmanewman.com.
Iida Van Der Byl-Knoefel
Iida van der Byl-Knoefel is the author of the whole food, plant-based, no-oil cookbook A Kitchen Fairytale. She was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis at the age of 33 and able to reverse the symptoms of the condition with a plant-based diet through the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Iida’s cookbook contains delicious, plant-based recipes using fresh, whole food ingredients; with insider tips such as tackling airplane food and travelling, as well as easy to follow shopping lists, this is a must-have book for anyone who wants to take responsibility for their own health and enjoy plant-based meals that provide deliciously nutritious options for the whole family. It is packed with beautiful photography—inspired by the author’s hugely popular Instagram account @akitchenfairytale
Director of Videography
Plant-based filmmaker and music producer Jay Cox rediscovered his lust for life after a cancer diagnosis. After a tough fight and with the disease in remission, he didn’t need any more reminders how short life really is, or any more encouragement to follow his passion. He changed his diet, became totally plant-based and, with new-found energy, got back on his mountain bike. He also got his camera out again and began looking for places he could make a real difference. This reinvention of himself, his life and his purpose lead him by chance to Tarifa in Spain with endurance athlete Luke Tyburski as he embarked on an insane 2,000km solo triathlon in 12 days. The result was the Ultimate Triathlon documentary, and the revelation of Jay’s formidable natural talent.
Jay has teamed up with plant-based health professionals to help achieve their mission to promote evidence based nutrition education.
Find out more about his company at fizzeekmedia.com
International advisory board members
Dr David Jenkins OC, MD, FRSC, FRCP, FRCPC, PHD, DSC
He also served as a member of Agriculture Canada’s Science Advisory Board (2004-2009) on the future direction of Canada’s agriculture and agricultural research. He has spent much time working with the food industry to develop products for the supermarket shelf and, for example, helped to initiate Loblaw’s ‘Too Good To Be True’ and most recently their popular “Blue Menu” line of products.
His research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 300 original publications on these and related topics. His team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering. His group developed the cholesterol lowering concept of the dietary portfolio that has entered guidelines in many jurisdictions (e.g. CCS, Heart UK etc.).
He believes in the therapeutic value of plant based diets and that diets have to be environmentally sustainable.
Dr Kim Allan Williams, MD, MACC, MASNC, FAHA, FESC
Prior to coming to Rush University, Dr. Williams was chairman of the division of cardiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, where he started the Urban Cardiology Initiative. This continued at Rush in Chicago, as he initiated the HEART Program (Helping Everyone Assess Risk Today) to screen churches and community groups for heart disease and stroke risk.
Dr. Williams has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, monographs, book chapters, editorials, and review articles. He has served on many committees and boards for the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, ASNC, ACC and ABC.
Dr. Williams received his medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at Emory University and overlapping fellowships in cardiology at the University of Chicago in clinical pharmacology and nuclear medicine.
Brenda Davis RD
Brenda Davis, registered dietitian, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant and academic nutrition instructor. Brenda is the lead dietitian in a diabetes research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands. She is a featured speaker at nutrition, medical and health conferences throughout the world.
Brenda is co-author of nine award-winning, best-selling books – Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (2014), Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (2013), Becoming Vegan (2000), The New Becoming Vegetarian (2003), Becoming Vegetarian (1994, 1995), Becoming Raw (2010), the Raw Food Revolution Diet (2008), Defeating Diabetes (2003) and Dairy-free and Delicious (2001). She is also a contributing author to a tenth book, The Complete Vegetarian (2009). Her books are vegetarian/vegan nutrition classics, with over 750,000 copies in print in 8 languages. Brenda has authored and co-authored several articles for peer-reviewed medical and nutrition journals and magazines.
Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. In 2007, she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. Brenda lives in Kelowna British Columbia with her husband, Paul Davis. She has two grown children, Leena Markatchev and Cory Davis.