Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Director, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention/Reversal Program, Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

Founder and researcher, 20 year longitudinal study of Arrest and Reversal Therapy for Coronary Artery Disease, The Cleveland Clinic

Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. received his BA from Yale University and his MD from Western Reserve University, and has long directed the Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.  His distinguished and diverse career, spanning decades, has culminated in his ground-breaking long-term research on arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients through nutritional measures.  He first published its findings in 1995, updated the study upon 12 years follow-up, and reviewed over 20 years of its results in his book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, making this one of the most extensive longitudinal studies of its type.  In conjunction with this work, he organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease, held in Tucson AZ in 1991, and the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers in Lake Buena Vista FL in 1997.

Dr. Esselstyn  was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital, London.  In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.  He had also earned an Olympic gold medal in 1956 as a member of the United States rowing team.  During his association with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968, he has served as President of the Staff, as a member of the Board of Governors, as Chair of the Breast Cancer Task Force and as head of the Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from its Alumni Association.

In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn served as President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.  Other honors received include:  listing 1994-1995 as a surgeon in “The Best Doctors in America” categories of endocrine and breast disease;  the first Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine in 2005;  induction into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame and the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 2010;  and a Yale University Lifetime Achievement award in 2013.  His scientific publications number over 150.

Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet for more than 26 years.  They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.