A reader asks if the course is worth the money.
Short answer, a resounding YES. Since earning my “certificate” in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and Cornell University in November of 2009, I have been greatly rewarded in many ways that I never anticipated at the time.
For example, next Tuesday I am meeting for lunch in Boston with one of the course’s most prominent graduates. A doctor of public health, he’s enjoyed a rich career in government and academia; now serving on the Harvard faculty in the department of public health. He also served as a special advisor to the U. S. Senate Committee charged with re-writing our federal health care system during the past few years.
We’re meeting to discuss a few ideas for changing the world — by leveraging the simple principles of plant-based nutrition. Without my taking the eCornell course, this meeting would not be happening. Here’s the note that I received from one of my readers earlier this week:
Mr. Hicks, Enjoy your daily blog and your book. I am interested in your thoughts on Dr. Campbell’s Certificate course from Cornell. It is something I am considering, but my question is about the course content. I have read the “China Study” and much of the print material from Drs. Fuhrman, McDougall, Esselstyn and others. Does the course material enhance this information, or repeat it? I would appreciate your thoughts. Regards, John
My response. Hi John. As a new writer, blogger and speaker in the field of diet and health, I am very glad that I earned a certificate in PBN from the TCC Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. Here are my primary reasons for feeling that way; they go far beyond just the knowledge that you will gain from the course.
- The homework assignments (including essays) played a large role in prompting my decision to write a book. It showed me that it was fun to write about my new passion and that I had a gift for making complex things simple and compelling.
- The “big picture” focus of the class was right up my alley. The course is not just the nutritional reasons for eating plant-based; it also covers a great many environmental issues.
- Good networking opportunities both during the course and after.
- The additional knowledge gained from the course after studying the topic for seven years.
- The great feeling of knowing that with my “certificate,” I have more formal training in nutrition than most MD’s in America. Remember; the few that had ANY nutrition training in med school — their course(s) were USDA approved and therefore lacking in very much true, health-promoting nutritional information.
- The course instructors are sending new folks to my blog and my book every day; and without me asking them to do so.
- Earning that certificate just shows that you’re serious.
- The course may not be available forever — at least through Cornell. According to TCC, it is the ONLY plant-based nutrition course with CME credits in the world. If Cornell pulled out of it (with more pressure from meat and dairy industry — see links below), would it still be able to provide the CME for doctors?
Bottom line. I’d say go for it; it may be the best $1400 you’ll ever spend.
For more course info, click here. In short, the course consists of three consecutive 2-week segments and is conducted online. You should be prepared to spend about an hour a day for the duration of the course.
For a richer learning experience, you should devote more time, do some extra reading and communicate more with the instructors and other students. During my six-week course, I actually went to Ithaca and attended a TCC lecture in person at Savage Hall on the Cornell campus. For a little history on this course, you might enjoy reading two of my earlier blogs plus a July 2012 blog that features this course.
- “Academic freedom” in nutritional science…a scary story
- Cancer, cell phones, cow’s milk, and Cornell
- July 2012—Plant-based Nutrition instructors, “health-promotion” specialists
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s latest book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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I also am a graduate of the e-Cornell course and would give it a hearty endorsement. A lot of the material was already familiar to me from previous study and my work as Cancer Project cooking instructor. (www.cancerproject.org)
However, the unique part is that even though the course is online, you really do get to know the other participants since enrollment is limited and participation in forums is required. The participants are a very diverse group so it’s a wonderful opportunity to discuss the issues with a wide range of people. The instructors also respond to and critique your posts so it is very interactive.
The last part of the course emphasizes communication – how do we improve our ability to share the information on plant-based eating so that we can effect change? That was most helpful to me.
I second Jim’s recommendation that you set aside plenty of time during the two-week modules so that you can put a lot of effort into the course and reap bigger benefits. You can download all the materials to review later, but the interaction with others is only available during the two-week time slot. The old maxim that what you get out of something depends on what you put it into is certainly true here.