From The China Study to TV’s Big Medicine: Celebrity Doctors to Speak at 6th NYC Veg Fest

A roster of eight highly credentialed physicians will grace the stages at the sixth annual New York City Vegetarian Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.

Festival co-founder and organizer Sarah Gross said the medical emphasis at this year’s event is due to the rising mountain of evidence that a vegan diet is ideal for one’s health. “We energetic vegans have known this in our bones for quite awhile, but it’s nice to be validated by the medical community,” she said.

The doctors scheduled to speak at the Festival include:

• Aysha Akhtar, double Board-certified neurologist and preventive medicine/public health specialist, author of Animals and Public Health, Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, Lieutenant Commander in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and regular blogger for the Huffington Post. She received her training at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Washington Hospital Center, and the University of North Carolina Medical School in Chapel Hill.

• Michelle McMacken, Board-certified internal medicine physician, assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine, and honors graduate of Yale University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has more than ten years of experience practicing primary care, directing a medical weight-loss program, and teaching doctors-in-training at Bellevue Hospital Center in NYC.

• Michael Greger, Cornell- and Tufts-trained general practitioner, founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and author of the books Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching and Carbophobia: The Scary Truth Behind America’s Low Carb Craze. His latest book, How Not to Die, became an instant New York Times Best Seller.

• Robert Ostfeld, associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center, and associate director of the Cardiology Fellowship at Montefiore-Einstein. He received his training from the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University School of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School.

• Casey Taft, professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, associate editor of the journal Psychological Trauma, board member of The War Writers’ Campaign, consultant to the United Nations on preventing violence and abuse globally, and manager of Vegan Publishers. He sees the prevention of violence towards animals as a natural extension of his work.

• Thomas Campbell, medical director of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, co-founder and clinical director of the University of Rochester Program for Nutrition in Medicine, Board-certified family physician, and co-author of The China Study. His training is from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, the University of Rochester, and Cornell University.

• Garth Davis, fellow of the American College of Surgeons, fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, co-star of the docu-reality television series Big Medicine, and author of The Expert’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery and Proteinaholic. He received his training from the University of Texas in Austin, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

• Steve Neabore serves on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and specializes in the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic diseases. He completed his undergraduate degree at New York University and earned his medical degree from St. George’s University, with a residency in internal medicine at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.

The Festival will also feature other speakers on a variety of topics such as animal advocacy, vegan cooking techniques, and motivational tips from professional athletes.

A large part of the pavilion will be devoted to vegan vendors, many of whom will be offering free food samples to attendees. Non-profit organizations will also staff tables with literature about their activities. This year’s charity partner is Mercy For Animals, which will receive proceeds from the Festival raffle.

Festival Co-Founder Nira Paliwoda noted the event is family-friendly, with a special area devoted to children’s arts and crafts activities. There will also be performances by a comedian, an illusionist, and other entertainers.

For more information about the Festival or to purchase tickets, go to