Ambassador Council

Ceres Community Project's Ambassador Council are thought leaders and subject matter experts who believe strongly in our work. Ambassador Council members provide a wide range of strategic support.

Donald I. Abrams, MD

Donald I. Abrams, MD is chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital, an integrative oncologist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He graduated from Brown University in 1972 and from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 1977. After completing an Internal Medicine residency at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco, he became a fellow in Hematology-Oncology at the UCSF Cancer Research Institute in 1980. His interest in botanical therapies led him to pursue a two-year Fellowship in the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. His particular passion in the field involves nutrition and cancer. Since completing his Fellowship, Dr. Abrams has been providing Integrative Medicine consultation to people living with and beyond cancer at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He has returned to clinical investigation in integrative oncology with interests in medicinal mushrooms, Traditional Chinese Medicine interventions and nutrition. He co-edited an Oxford University Press textbook in Integrative Oncology with Andrew Weil, MD. Dr. Abrams is the immediate past President of the Society of Integrative Oncology.

Keith I. Block, MD

Keith I. Block, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in integrative oncology and the co-founder of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois, the first such facility in North America. He has been the Center's Medical and Scientific Director since 1980.

Dr. Block is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Cancer Therapies (ICT), the first medical journal devoted to exploring the research and science behind integrative oncology. Additionally, he is Director of Integrative Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, and the Scientific Director of the Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education, where he has collaborated with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Bar Ilan University in Israel. Dr. Block also serves as faculty at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. In 2005, he was appointed to the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ) Cancer CAM Editorial Board, on which he continues to serve today. Dr. Block has published more than 75 scientific papers and numerous articles relevant to nutritional and integrative oncology. His model of individualized integrative oncology continues to set the standard for the practice of this comprehensive approach to cancer treatment in the U.S.

Jed Emerson

Jed Emerson is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Social Investing at Heidelberg University (Germany); a Senior Advisor to The Sterling Group (a multi-family office based in Hong Kong pursuing a sustainable/impact investing strategy for its clients); and is Executive Vice-President of ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm creating impact investing products to bridge the asset owner/impact fund market. He has held faculty appointments at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford business schools. As an internationally recognized thought leader, Emerson originated the concept of Blended Value and has presented his work at the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative and other events around the world. He is has produced books on social entrepreneurship and his latest book, entitled Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference will be released in September 2011. His various papers/research may be found at

James S. Gordon, MD

James S. Gordon, MD, is a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. He is the Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), Dean of the College of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybook University, a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School, and recently served as Chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Through CMBM Dr. Gordon helped found Food as Medicine and Cancer Guides, providing cutting edge training in nutrition and integrative/alternative therapies.

Dr. Gordon has created ground-breaking programs of comprehensive mind-body healing for physicians, medical students, and other health professionals; for people with cancer, depression and other chronic illnesses; and for traumatized children and families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel and Gaza, and Haiti, as well as in post-9/11 New York and post-Katrina southern Louisiana and with U.S. military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Gordon and his CMBM colleagues have supervised and trained local leadership teams to match the CMBM model-a fully integrated and sustainable part of the local healthcare system.

Dr. Gordon's most recent book is Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression (Penguin). He's also the author of Comprehensive Cancer Care: Integrating Alternative, Complementary and Conventional Therapies (with Sharon Curtin) and Manifesto for a New Medicine: Your Guide to Healing Partnerships and the Wise Use of Alternative Therapies.

Rebecca Katz

"Rebecca's ability to motivate, encourage and teach clients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals is reflective of her passion for nutritional healing."

Phyllis Cox, Senior Manager,
4myheart Program, Berkeley HeartLab, Inc.

A nationally-recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health during cancer treatment, Rebecca has a Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education, and received her culinary training from New York's Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. As a consultant, speaker, teacher and chef, Rebecca works closely with patients, physicians, nurses, and wellness professionals to include the powerful tool of nutrition in their medical arsenal. She is the author of the cookbooks Cancer Fighting Kitchen and One Bite at a Time. Rebecca is the Executive Chef for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine's Food As Medicine and CancerGuides® Professional Training Programs, which attracts the country's top cancer wellness physicians, nurses, social workers, and researchers. She is also visiting chef and nutrition educator at Commonweal's Cancer Help Program in Bolinas, California, which offers intensive self-care programs for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Michael Lerner

Michael Lerner is president and co-founder of Commonweal, a nonprofit center engaged in health, environmental and educational initiatives ( He is co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program and co-founder of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, D.C., which offers the Cancer Help Program on the East Coast. He is the founder of the New School at Commonweal, and co-founder of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment ( Michael authored Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer [MIT Press] and was awarded a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1983 for contributions to public health.

Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN

Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, is board certified in Clinical Nutrition & Holistic Nutrition. She is the Director of Doctoral Studies and the Educational Director at Hawthorn University. Liz is also on faculty at Saybrook University, the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and the Autism Research Institute. She is the author of Digestive Wellness and Digestive Wellness for Children. She is an alumni member of the Nutrition Advisory Board for the Institute for IFM. Liz offers mentoring groups for health professionals on Clinical and Functional Nutrition. She's in private practice providing on-site and telephone consultations.

Michael Pollan

For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001). A young readers edition called The Omnivore's Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat was published in 2009. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment. Pollan was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University, from which he received a Master's in English.

Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the world's 100 most influential people. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 "New Thought Leaders." A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards: the 2000 Reuters-I.U.C.N. Global Award for Environmental Journalism for his reporting on genetically modified crops; the 2003 Humane Society of the United States' Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture; the 2008 Truth in Agricultural Journalism Award from the American Corngrowers Association; the 2009 President's Citation Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the 2009 Voices of Nature Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire as well as in the documentary, Food Inc., which received an Academy Award nomination.

Barbara Sattler, RN, DrPH, FAAN

Dr. Sattler is a Professor at the University of San Francisco in the graduate program for Public Health. She has focused on the relationship between chemical exposures and human health—in homes, schools, workplaces and communities—through a lens of social justice.   Barbara helped to create a national network of nurses (Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments) that addresses environmental health from a policy, practice, research, and advocacy perspective. Prior to moving to California, she directed the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland for 23 years that included a successful statewide initiative to bring local, sustainable foods to Maryland’s hospitals.

Barbara owns and lives on an organic farm in Sonoma County, CA, that is part of a commercial enterprise including a winery (Russian River Vineyards) and restaurant (Corks). She shares this with her husband, two dogs, and a flock of chickens. Their property is host to the community’s USDA Certified Farmers’ Market and a wide array of other community activities. Barbara is a Registered Nurse with a Masters and Doctorate in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.


Brian Thomas Swimme, PhD

Brian Thomas Swimme, PhD, is on the faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies, in San Francisco, where he teaches evolutionary cosmology to graduate students in the humanities. He received his PhD (1978) from the department of mathematics at the University of Oregon for work in singularity theory. Swimme brings the context of story to our understanding of the 13.7-billion-year trajectory of cosmogenesis. His published work includes The Universe is a Green Dragon (Bear and Company, 1984), The Universe Story (Harper San Francisco, 1992), written with Thomas Berry, and The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos (Orbis, 1996). Swimme is the producer of three DVD series: Canticle to the Cosmos, The Earth's Imagination, and The Powers of the Universe. In 2011, Swimme teamed with Mary Evelyn Tucker, historian of religions at Yale University, to produce Journey of the Universe, an HD film drawing together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology and biology, with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.




Teaching teenagers the crucial relationship between food and health is a gift that will go on giving for the rest of their lives and hopefully impact positively on their health as well as their families and friends. Sharing healthy meals cooked in the program with cancer patients provides so much more than calories and nutrients!

Donald I. Abrams, MD

The Ceres Project has created the perfect recipe to help chronically ill patients and their families find nourishment and healing through nourishing food and a supportive community. Every town and city needs a program like The Ceres Project.

Rebecca Katz, award winning author of The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

I have been inspired by the work of Ceres Community Project and the vision of Cathryn Couch, its founder, since I first heard of their work. Ceres Project offers a win-win-win-win solution to a prevalent problem: How do we support people with excellent nourishment while they are experiencing serious disease? The Ceres Project answer – bring in a multi-generational team of volunteers to cook and provide for them, and engage local farmers and food suppliers to donate the food! And ultimately the process builds community and sense of service. I hope that this concept catches like wild-fire.

Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN

One of the deepest desires of every human being is to find work that is enhancing for the life communities in which we live. The true geniuses of our time are those individuals like Cathryn Couch who help create opportunities for such deep fulfillment. The Ceres Community Project she founded is life-nourishing for everyone who participates – the workers and cooks and food transporters as well as the recipients and the local farmers and the plant and soil communities of Sonoma County. To become involved in the Ceres Project is to find oneself in a flow of energy that gives rise to health and happiness. The Ceres Community Project is a microcosm of what our whole planet will one day become, a festival of joy and celebration.

Brian Swimme, PhD, is a professor of cosmology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the co-author, with Thomas Berry, of The Universe Story.

Ceres helps bring connection, hope and healing to people who need and value it. And it gives the kids, who are its messengers, an opportunity for heartfelt and honorable service.

James S Gordon MD, Psychiatrist, Founder and Director of the Center for Mind Body Medicine, Dean of Saybrook University's College of Mind Body Medicine and author of Comprehensive Cancer Care