Petition for Dr. T. Colin Campbell to Receive a Nobel Prize in Medicine
The undersigned are petitioning for Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, to receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Not only is he deserving of this honor, but it also would be the most impactful Nobel Prize in Medicine ever rewarded.
With his colleagues and students, Dr. Campbell organized and published for more than half a century the findings of hundreds of research studies that peered into the deepest corners of human biology. Dr. Campbell’s observations in the Philippines in the 1960s led him to question the supposed health benefits of animal protein. Having grown up on a dairy farm and advancing these benefits in his graduate research program, Dr. Campbell looked past his own biases to lead a pivotal study in 1983 showing a strong mechanism-based causative role of animal protein to cancer. This early fundamental research also suggested an opposite outcome when animal-based foods are replaced with plant-based foods.
This groundbreaking discovery motivated additional laboratory research by Dr. Campbell that validated his original discovery of the causative role of animal protein to cancer, and eventually motivated his seminal research in China (in collaboration with colleagues in China and Oxford University), the most comprehensive human study on the relationship between diet and disease ever conducted. Through an unusually comprehensive research design, Dr. Campbell confirmed the primary finding from his earlier research, that a plant-based diet is optimal for human health, including the prevention of cancer and other diseases common to Western cultures. Importantly, these findings suggested that these benefits extend beyond disease prevention into treatment, as many clinicians are now demonstrating.
As Dr. Campbell fought for the truth he was pursuing, he invited ridicule and other forms of hardship that often result when someone challenges a dominant paradigm. But he never wavered in his commitment to seeking the truth.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded to people whose work is transformative and translational. Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking discovery of the healing effects of a whole food, plant-based diet has the power to benefit every person born into this world. Importantly, it also is the most important tool now available for slowing climate change before reaching a point of no return; animal agriculture has been well established by leading authorities as the leading cause of global warming.
In recognizing Dr. Campbell’s transformative research, the Nobel Committee has an opportunity to bring further attention to one of the most important health truths ever discovered.
The undersigned encourage the distinguished individuals involved in the Nobel nominating and selection process to reward a Nobel Prize in Medicine to Professor T. Colin Campbell, who is now 84 years old. We know of no person more deserving of such recognition, and no other issue as important to the health of people and this fragile planet we all call home. Dr. Dean Ornish, famed for this research on heart disease, said, “Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands on the shoulders of Dr. Campbell, who is one of the giants in this field.”