Dr. Dean Ornish, MD


Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine at Healthways, a Sharecare Company. Dr. Ornish is also the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Since 2013, Dr. Ornish and Healthways have been working together as strategic partners to expand access to the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine programs across the country.

Documented in 40 years of research, Ornish Lifestyle Medicine remains the only program scientifically proven in randomized controlled trials to reverse the progression of heart disease without drugs or surgery. Medicare agreed in 2011 to cover Dr. Ornish’s program for reversing heart disease, the first of its kind to receive Medicare coverage. Since then CMS and commercial payers across the county are reimbursing for the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program under the new benefit category of Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Designated by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as one of the founding fathers of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Ornish and his colleagues continue to demonstrate the remarkable impact that his program can have on other chronic conditions. 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 has also shown that comprehensive lifestyle changes can affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. He also directed the first study showing that these lifestyle changes may begin to reverse aging on a cellular level by lengthening telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine).

He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers. His TED.com talks have been viewed by over 4 million people.

The “Ornish diet” has been rated “#1 for heart health” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 2011, the first year their panel of experts started ranking healthy diets.

Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, served as a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at 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.

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 Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines, is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post, a LinkedIn Influencer, and writes a column for TIME magazine.

Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He has been a member of the boards of directors of the San Francisco Food Bank, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter in San Francisco, where he and colleagues established an integrative medicine clinic at which 30,000 homeless people have been treated. He was elected to the California Academy of Medicine and chaired the Google Health Advisory Council with Marissa Mayer 2007-9.

Dr. Ornish has received several awards, including 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; the inaugural “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine; a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association; 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 Lectureship Award from the American College of Nutrition; the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement; the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute for Functional Medicine; 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 (Los Angeles); and the Plantrician Project 2016 Luminary Award.

He has been a physician consultant to President Clinton since 1993 and to several bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress, and he consulted with the chefs at The White House, Camp David, and Air Force One to cook more healthfully (1993-2000). He gave a keynote speech reviewing the science of integrative medicine at the Institute of Medicine’s first Summit on Integrative Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Ornish was honored as “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years;” chosen by LIFE magazine as “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation;” recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People magazine; and by Forbes magazine as “one of the world’s seven most powerful teachers.”

For more information: www.ornish.com



  • Preventive Medicine Research Institute


  • Sausalito, CA
  • 415-332-2525