Dedicated to making a healthy difference
in our community and beyond


Through groundbreaking education, support, and inspiration, we’ve been empowering children and adults to take control of their health and build a community where healthy choices are accessible and affordable.
Founded in 2005 by Douglas Mercer, a visionary man committed to building a healthy community, Wellness Foundation is a small team of passionate wellness warriors doing BIG things! Our forward-thinking team and world class advisory council is made up of pioneers, visionaries, and trailblazers on the cutting edge of plant-powered health and wellness.

We teach people about the power they have to take control of their health and, as a result, help them to transform their lives. Within our community, we’re working hard to end the trend of obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it—and we’ve ignited a spark in other wellness warriors around the country who want to bring our world class programs to their communities.
Wellness Foundation is in the business of helping people build happy, healthy lives and we are committed to helping them prevent and reverse chronic disease through the power of plant-based nutrition.





Look at what we've accomplished...



Neil Barnard, MD

T. Colin Campbell, PHD

Antonia Demas, PHD

Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD

Rip Esselstyn

Joel Fuhrman, MD

Robyn O'Brien

Pamela Popper, MD


One of America's leading advocates for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research, Neal Barnard, M.D., is a physician, clinical researcher, author, and adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The Physicians Committee provides direct medical care through its subsidiary, Barnard Medical Center. Dr. Barnard works with patients with diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions in clinical research studies aiming to improve the prevention and treatment of these health problems. Dr. Barnard’s articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the American Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Scientific American, the American Journal of Cardiology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Lancet Oncology, Preventive Medicine, and in many other scientific and medical journals. He is the editor-in-chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians and the author of 18 books for lay audiences. In 2015, Dr. Barnard was named a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and he received the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s Trailblazer Award in 2016. He is an active member of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, the American Medical Association, and other organizations working to improve health and medical care.


For decades T. Colin Campbell, PhD has been at the forefront of nutrition education and research. Dr. Campbell’s expertise and scientific interests encompass relationships between diet and disease, particularly the causation of cancer. His legacy, the China Project, is one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted. The New York Times has recognized the study as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology”. Dr. Campbell is the coauthor of the bestselling book The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller Whole, and The Low-Carb Fraud. He is featured in several documentaries including: the blockbuster Forks Over Knives, Eating You Alive, Food Matters, PlantPure Nation and others. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate in partnership with eCornell. Dr. Campbell has conducted original research both in laboratory experiments and in large-scale human studies; received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly with NIH), served on grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, actively participated in the development of national and international nutrition policy, authored over 300 research papers and given hundreds of lectures around the world. He was trained at Cornell University (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) innutrition, biochemistry and toxicology. Dr. Campbell spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.


Dr. Antonia Demas is a professor of Food Studies. In 1999 she founded the Food Studies Institute. Dr. Demas has received national recognition for her research in food studies. In 1994, her food education curriculum won national awards for the Most Creative Implementation of the Dietary Guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture and Excellence in Nutrition Education from the Society for Nutrition Education. In 1999, Dr. Demas' curriculum was published, as 'Food is Elementary'. Articles by Dr. Demas on the topic of achieving acceptance of healthy, low-fat, meals in schools have been published in 'New Century Nutrition' and the 'American Journal of Cardiology' among others. As a consultant and speaker, Dr. Demas works with schools, non-profit organizations, vegetarian societies, and corporations across the country.


Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. was a researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic for more than thirty-five years. In 1991, he served as the president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Heart Disease. In 2005, he became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He is the author of "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease", backed by the irrefutable results from his 20-year study proving changes in diet and nutrition can actually cure heart disease. He earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University and an M.D. from Western Reserve University.


The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan That Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds" was created and implemented by Rip Esselstyn, a former world-class professional tri-athlete and the son, grandson and great-grandson of renowned physicians. After saving the lives of a many as a firefighter, now he is saving millions more with The Engine 2 Diet - his groundbreaking nutritional program with indisputable, dramatic results in lowering cholesterol and losing weight in just 4 weeks. Rip left his job as a firefighter in 2009 to team up with Whole Foods Market as one of their Healthy Eating Partners to raise awareness for Whole Foods employees, customers and communities about the benefits of eating a plant-strong diet. As the founder of Engine 2, Rip develops and implements a range of programs and events geared toward education, inspiring and nurturing plant-strong living for individuals, families and organizations across the globe. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and national television shows, including the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. Rip is a New York Times Bestselling Author who has published four books. Rip lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Jill, and their three beautiful children, Kole, Sophie and Hope.


Through his medical practice, as well as his New York Times best-selling books and PBS specials, Dr. Fuhrman has helped thousands of people lose weight permanently and reverse chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and chronic pain syndromes, including migraines, using a nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style that he calls the Nutritarian diet. Dr. Fuhrman is the President of the Nutritional Research Foundation, and is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, for which he serves on the medical advisory board. An internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, Dr. Fuhrman is also a health and fitness enthusiast, whose athletic background gives him a keen insight into the importance of diet and physical exercise. Before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Fuhrman was a world-class figure skater who placed third in the 1976 World Professional Pairs Skating Championship. Dr. Fuhrman devotes his life to nutritional research, staying up-to-date on the thousands of articles published in scientific journals, and working with nutritional researchers around the world. His expertise includes 25 years of experience caring for more than 10,000 patients with serious medical conditions and in most cases facilitating their recovery via nutritional methods. His books have no preconceived philosophy, agenda or bias; they are an uncompromising assessment that offers the gold standard of nutritional excellence to foster the greatest potential for disease prevention, reversal and extending human lifespan.


A former financial and food industry analyst, Robyn O'Brien has been called "food's Erin Brockovich" by the New York Times. She triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry when she asked: "Are we allergic to food or what's been done to it?" Today, she is a sought after advisor and speaker, inspiring organizations and individuals to engage in the "New Food Economy." Robyn has worked in the food industry for twenty years, first as a financial analyst on a team that managed $20 billion in assets, then as an advisor to the industry, analyzing the impact that our food system has on the health of our children and families. Robyn is the author of the bestseller "The Unhealthy Truth." Her 2011 Tedx talk has been viewed by millions. Robyn has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, CNBC, NBC Nightly News and TEDX.


Dr. Pam Popper is a naturopath, an internationally recognized expert on nutrition, medicine and health, and the Executive Director of Wellness Forum Health. The company offers educational programs for consumer and healthcare providers that facilitate evidence-base, collaborative and informed decision making for health-related matters. Dr. Popper serves on the Physician’s Steering Committee and the President’s Board for the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C. She served as part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s teaching team at eCornell, teaching part of a certification course on plant-based nutrition. She has been featured in many widely distributed documentaries, including Processed People and Making a Killing and appeared in the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives, which played in major theaters throughout North America in 2011. She is one of the co-authors of the companion book, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 66 weeks. Hermost recent book is Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Can Save Your Life. Dr. Popper is featured as one of the lead experts in Food Choices, which was released in September 2016, and is co-author of the companion book for this film. She will be appearing in The Yoyo Effect, to be released summer 2018 and is writing the ompanion book for this film as well. Dr. Popper is also a lobbyist and public policy expert, and continually works toward changing laws that interfere with patients’ right to choose their health provider and method of care. She has testified in front of legislative committees on numerous occasions, and has testified twice in front of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.







Joe Cross is a filmmaker, entrepreneur, author and wellness advocate. He directed, produced and was the subject of the award-winning documentaries "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 1 and 2"; authored the New York Times best-seller "The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet" book; and is credited with having accelerated the plant-based eating movement by media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Dr. Oz Show. His website,, has become an integral meeting place for a community of millions of Rebooters worldwide. His third documentary film, "The Kids Menu", was released in 2016 and featured Wellness Foundation's WKids Program. Joe is passionate about the work Wellness Foundation is doing and believes that providing education, inspiration and opportunity is the key to inspiring people to change behavior that leads to smarter and healthier choices when it comes to overall wellness. He believes Wellness Foundation is doing this every day in a very impactful way and he is proud to be a part of this change!


Barbara Layton is widely known as the visionary behind—and proud owner—of Babette's restaurants, located in East Hampton, NY and in Newport Beach, CA. Known for organic and sustainable food, Barbara’s intention with Babette’s has always been to support farmers and growers who do the right thing. Food has been one of the many ways in which Barbara has worked to promote the health of individuals and communities; she is also actively involved in promoting policies that support wellbeing through her work in the political arena, and she is a board member of The Source of Synergy Foundation. In addition to her own beautiful son, Zach, Barbara has over 15 years’ experience working with children as a Montessori teacher. She is also a Certified Breathworker. Barbara is pleased to join Wellness Foundation’s Board of Directors and support them in their mission to promote healthy people and a healthy planet.


Robert Murphy is COO, CMO & Co-Founder of MINDBODY, Inc. the largest global provider of web and mobile business management solutions for the health, wellness and beauty industries. Bob holds a B.S. in communications from Boston University. Apart from MINDBODY, he enjoys his yoga practice (especially his wife's classes), a good game of golf and spending time with his wife and three children.


Michele has a strong track record leading organizations through strategic change and growth. Michele was previously Executive Director of the Time Warner Foundation and a Vice President overseeing Corporate Social Responsibility at Time Warner. She served in the Clinton Administration for six years working in Education and Civil rights and was a Peace Corps Volunteer working on children's health in West Africa. She has consulted and served on numerous nonprofit boards. She has a B.A. from Brown University and a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from T. Colin Campbell's Center for Nutrition Studies. She is a certified Vinyasa yoga teacher and is passionate about a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She has 3 young sons and is committed to creating a generation of change for our children.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”


Not many people would come out of a comfortable retirement at the age of 71, driven by a mission to help others live their healthiest and happiest lives. Brave, bold, and passionate about making a difference, Doug was willing to challenge what was then the traditional advice about nutrition. It’s not easy to be one of the first to stand up and say, “there’s a better way.” But that’s just what Doug did.

For over a decade, Doug has been illuminating the path to wellness for others through his own shining example. He has shown countless people that their health destinies are far from pre-determined. Unwavering in his mission to create a generation of change in his community and beyond, Doug challenged the notions that we are beholden to our genes or to “Big Food,” and he shed light on the tremendous power each of us has to live our healthiest lives, through the decisions we make every day.




Douglas Mercer, Founder, and Anthony R.H. Gerard, Leasa Meyer and Michael Worthen are founding Board members of Wellness Foundation and the Foundation gratefully acknowledges their service from 2005-2012. They will remain Board Members Emeritus.

Wellness Foundation in the News



Letter-Perfect Fare
Hamptons Magazine

JULY 2015


A Wellness Revolution Led by Kids
East Hampton Star

JUNE 2015


A Conversation with Doug Mercer
Sag Harbor Express

For media prior to April 2012, please contact Wellness Foundation at, or call 631-329-2590.