Sunday, May 2, 2010

PCRM Celebrates 25 Years

: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland
What: The Art of Compassion: PCRM's 25th Anniversary Gala
Where: The Lot, West Hollywood, Calif.
When: April 10, 2010
Why: Celebrating a quarter-century of PCRM’s extraordinary accomplishments

The Scoop: If you picture the folks at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible donning white lab coats rather than party gowns, it’s safe to say you weren’t in Hollywood last month. The organization known for advancing preventative medicine and ethical research let its hair down for a glorious and star-studded celebration for nearly 500 friends and supporters at The Lot—the former home of Warner Hollywood Studios, United Artists Studios, and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios—a venue which proved as fitting as the dresses and tuxes for the who’s-who of compassion that paraded and pranced around the stages where the classic films Robin Hood and West Side Story were filmed.

Event Chairs Tom and Kathy Freston kicked it all off with heartfelt words on why they are supporters of PCRM, including Tom’s admission that he never expected to end up vegan. Following the Freston’s were four-time NBA champ John Salley, the actors and actresses Marilu Henner, Jennifer Landon, Cloris Leachman, Melissa Rivers, Larry Sullivan, Mariana Tosca, and Persia White, and CNN's Jane Velez Mitchell. The evening’s entertainment included a rousing musical performance by Leona Lewis and a short yet hilarious stand-up routine by comedienne Carol Leifer. PCRM founder and president, the ageless Neal Barnard, MD, closed the ceremony with a recap of the lengthy accomplishments his organization and vision have ushered to fruition over the last quarter-century.

PCRM President Neal Barnard, MD, with VN's Colleen Holland

The gala wouldn’t have been complete without it’s quartet of awards. The Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine was given to Baxter Montgomery, MD, a Houston cardiologist who developed a “nutritional boot camp” to assist his patients in breaking unhealthy habits; The Henry Heimlich Award honored Gilman Veith, PhD, founder of the QSAR Foundation to Reduce Animal Testing, which uses computer models to predict the toxicity of chemicals without using animals; and The Art of Compassion Award, bestowed upon Robert “Skip” Trimble, the legislative chair of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, which promotes the humane treatment of animals through advocacy, education, and legislation. Lastly, two Voice of Compassion Awards were given to Ellen DeGeneres and Marilu Henner, which honors those who, “by word or example, have communicated caring, compassion, and the highest ethical principles.”

VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and Dr. Henry Heimlich share their maneuvers.

The delicious vegan dinner, coordinated by Tal Ronnen, was an all-star line-up of dishes from the nation’s best veg restaurants and chefs: hors d’oeuvres by Millennium, salad by Candle 79, soup and entrée from The Conscious Cook, and desserts from Seed Kitchen, Sublime, and The Veggie Grill.

Congratulations to everyone at PCRM for all the organization has done in making the world a healthy, safer place as well as for inviting us to your party. All of us at VegNews look forward to working with you over the next 25 years.

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