Physicians Association for Nutrition South Africa

Find out more about the PAN South Africa team and their activities here.

About PAN South Africa

Physicians Associated for Nutrition (PAN) South Africa was established mid-2020. PAN South Africa has successfully hosted two webinars on plant-based nutrition including topics related to climate change. With a strong focus on research, PAN South Africa is accelerating access to plant-based nutrition information for healthcare professionals with hopes to reach medical students in the near future.

Find out more about the Journal Series and how you can get 3 CPD credits per monthly activity.

What do South African health science students know about plant-based nutrition?

PAN South Africa surveyed over 170 health science students to find out…

What do South African health science students know about plant-based nutrition?

PAN South Africa surveyed over 170 health science students to find out…

COP27: Implementing Plant-Rich Diets for Type 2 Diabetes in South Africa

Recorded on 17 November 2022

A few days after World Diabetes Day 2022, PAN South Africa hosted a 75-min side event at the Food4Climate pavilion at COP27 in Egypt. They presented their findings of the first-ever implementation study on whole food plant-based nutrition for diabetes in the South African context. The research is in the form of a case study on the pilot program created by UBUNTU Wellness Institute, a 21-day Diabetes Reversal Challenge launched in early 2021.

PAN South Africa has gathered clinical information and interviewed ten type 2 diabetics who took the challenge, plus four physicians who monitored their progress. While sorting through the information, we continuously asked the question; how can a plant-based nutrition intervention be implemented in South Africa? Our findings are sorted into a socioecological model highlighting key health outcomes, interpersonal factors, the broader South African context, and integrations within the public health system. Our findings culminate into recommendations for health science researchers, implementation teams, and policymakers.

Nutrition and Climate Change in South Africa: Adapting to the Challenge

Recorded on 17 March 2020

In order to bring the important topic of climate change and pandemics in healthcare to the South African public, the Physicians Association for Nutrition South Africa collaborated with the Public Health Association for South Africa (PHASA) to present this free 90-minute webinar. It was made possible through a collaboration between PHASA Special Interest Groups (SIG) Health Promotion, Nutrition and Climate, Energy & Health.

The CPD-Accredited webinar was attended by over 100 attendees, and participants were from all over the world, including South Africa, Mexico, Greece, China and the USA.

About the speakers

How do our dietary choices affect the Earth?

Gidon Eshel is a Research Professor of Environmental Physics at Bard College. Eshel studied physics and earth sciences at the Technion & Haifi University, Israel before getting an M.A., M.Phil., and a Ph.D. at Columbia University in mathematical geophysics. He is best known for his work on quantifying geophysical consequences of agriculture and diet.

How is climate change affecting food safety, exposure to pesticides and mycotoxins?

Dr. Cliff Zinyemba holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of Cape Town. His PhD research focussed on characterising the relationship between climate change and agricultural use of, and exposure to endocrine disrupting pesticides. He is currently working as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe in the Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. He teaches “Introduction to Environmental Health” and “Climate Change and Health” in the Occupational and Environmental Health programme.

How can we have a multi-system approach to advocacy and policy change?

Rachel Thompson has experience spanning international development, global health and food systems – the common thread being a commitment to promote equity in health and beyond. Rachel is currently a Policy Advisor at the World Obesity Federation, where she leads advocacy work with UN agencies to advance multi-sector action on malnutrition in all its forms.

An introduction to the role of a plant-based diet.

Dr. Tushar Mehta is a physician and co-founder of Plant Based Data, an online database which collects and organises the most important academic and institutional literature regarding the impact of a plant-based diet on health, environmental and food security, including the role of animal agriculture in creating pandemics. This resource is free to access, and meant to assist others in their education, writing, advocacy and policy work.

How should South Africa respond to the challenge?

Professor Andrew Robinson, Chairman & Director of PAN South Africa, is Deputy Dean and Extraordinary Professor in the North West University Health Science Faculty.

Nutrition as a Therapeutic Tool in a Post-COVID World

Recorded on 22 October 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a collective increased concern for global health. While the virus rapidly travelled across borders, many individuals questioned what the most effective methods to staying healthy are. Eating a nutrient-rich diet is essential for the defence systems in the body, and has been proven to manage and reverse chronic diseases.

This webinar was a collaboration between the Physicians Association for Nutrition (PAN), PAN South Africa, Public Health Association South Africa (PHASA), South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), and North-West University (NWU).

In attendance was honorary guest, Tlaleng Mofokeng, a South African medical doctor, women’s rights, sexual and reproductive health rights activist appointed as UN Special Rapporteur.

About the speakers

What is the role of nutrition in Public Health in South Africa?

Professor Andrew Robinson, Chairman & Director of PAN South Africa, is Deputy Dean and Extraordinary Professor in the North West University Health Science Faculty.

What is the role of a whole food plant-based diet in clinical practice?

Dr. Yesheen Singh, co-founder of PAN South Africa, is a plant-based physician based in Cape Town with experience in private and public health systems in South Africa and the UK. He has additional post-graduate education and training in Functional Medicine, Public Health and Health Systems Engineering.

How do we balance a whole food plant-based plate of food?

Jessica Kotlowitz is a registered dietitian with a Master’s degree in Nutrition (Stellenbosch University). Jessica has a private practice in Cape Town which focuses on plant-based nutrition.

Who is PAN International and what do they do?

Niklas Oppenrieder is a physician specialising in paediatrics and PAN’s Medical Director. He heads the development of the organisation, applying his medical and scientific expertise as a peadiatrician as well as his first-hand technical knowledge as a member of several different medical associations.

Meet the PAN South Africa team

Prof. Andrew Robinson

Chairman & Medical Director of PAN South Africa

Andrew is the Deputy Dean and Extraordinary Professor at The Faculty of Health Sciences of the North-West University.

Dr. Nanine Wyma

Managing Director

Nanine graduated with MBChB from Stellenbosch University in 2018. As a full-time plant-based health advocate, Nanine runs national campaigns and programmes that increase access to information and resources about plant-based nutrition.

Donovan Will

Executive Director

Donovan has a keen interest in plant-based nutrition, and has held various leadership positions in organisations involved in the promotion of plant-based food. He co-founded the South African chapter of PAN after meeting the PAN International team at the VegMed conference in Berlin.

Pierrette Nhlapo

Communications Coordinator

Pierrette is a Registered Dietitian, with a BSc degree in Dietetics from the University of the Western Cape. She is passionate about nutrition and the role it plays in disease prevention. Furthermore, she seeks to advocate for a sustainable food system to eradicate world hunger.

Gabriela Lourenco

Community Coordinator

Gabriela is a nutrition scientist, with a BSc degree in Nutrition from the University
of Pretoria. Her passion for the environment and achieving optimal health drives her interest in plant-based nutrition education and sustainable living. She aims to share her knowledge regarding nutrition and the sustainability of plant-based

Become a Member of PAN South Africa

Your membership is the most effective way to help us bring healthy nutrition to the core of healthcare systems and communities. Membership fees help to support PAN South Africa’s educational activities, projects and campaigns.

Membership fee for 12 months is R600 for (healthcare) professionals. Student membership is R150 as long as you are enrolled as a student at any university. Please upload your student card along with your membership application.

Benefits for PAN South Africa members include:

  • Full-access to our Plant-Based Nutrition Journal Series, with monthly activities to gain 3 CPD points while reading the latest articles about plant-based healthcare. (30 CPD points/2 year cycle)
  • On-demand access to all available webinar recordings* from PAN International including:
    • “VegMed Web 2021” conference talks (English)
    • “Nutrition > Medicine” series (English)
    • “VegMed 2021” webinars (English)
    • “PAN Essentials” webinars (German)
    • “Iss Das!” (Eat That!) series (German)
  • Quarterly newsletters with updates on PAN South Africa’s activities and accomplishments.
  • Take part in member activities and events.

* Future events will be recorded and added to the webinar recordings page as and when they take place. Members will receive a password from PAN South Africa to access the recordings page. Please contact PAN South Africa directly for assistance with access.

Sign up to become a PAN South Africa member using the form below. We will review your application and respond via email as soon as possible.

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