Q: How will the role of nutrition in mainstream medicine change?
A: I see a shift at some point in health care that is going to emphasize preventive care and nutrition. It seems like people are making a stronger case for preventive care, and how nutrition should be an intervention and be considered first. I think the future is bright and at some point, the Association for the Advancement of Medicine and the medical colleges are going to institute education regarding nutrition. But it’s a slow process.
Q: Is there talk about holistic, alternative medicine in curriculums these days?
A: Johns Hopkins had our first real launch in January of how we present nutrition in medical school, emphasizing more preventive nutrition and lifestyle modifications. For the first time, we’re flying an integrative dietician in to lecture on healthy diets. And I’m lecturing on how to use things like herbs, supplements and integrative nutrition. This is a first here.
Q: The gut’s connection to immunity is being talked about everywhere. Do you think that’s going to change our model of medicine?
A: The interconnection has been known for a very long time and is slowly making itself known out here in the West. It’s been disseminating itself into the functional and integrative medicine worlds; it is new to many practitioners but is becoming more and more popularized. I think that will continue over time and people will address issues in the gut in order to address overall health issues. It’s not sexy like the heart or the brain, but people will learn over the years that the gut is a lot of the inner core that helps us to thrive and function. Immunity is a large part of that, so that also needs to have a larger place in people’s mindsets, and I predict that will happen over time.
–Interview by Anna Soref