Meet Dr. Pinckney


Dr. Pinckney Neal Pinckney is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Oxford University, where he received his Ph.D. in clinical and educational psychology. He has done post-doctoral work at Stanford University and the University of Vienna. He is Professor Emeritus and former chair of Behavioral Sciences at California State University, Sacramento and taught at the University of California, Davis Medical School. He held a private practice in family and individual therapy and psychoanalysis for nearly 30 years. He was psychologist and in-service trainer for the California Highway Patrol for 13 years. He is founder and director of the Healing Heart Foundation.

In 1993, at the age of 58, Pinckney was diagnosed with severe coronary heart disease. His right main artery, the "widow-maker", was 100% blocked and his two major left coronary arteries were 90% and 85% blocked. He was told he needed immediate by-pass surgery or he would soon die, but he didn't have that surgery.

Instead, searching the internet for information, he found many scientific articles by Dean Ornish, M.D. and read his best-selling Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Following that program and the writings of John McDougall,M.D., his condition quickly reversed. When he started the program he couldn't even slowly walk around the block without suffering severe chest pain, but only seven months later he finished in the middle of a group of thousands of runners in the 8.2 mile Great Aloha Run.

Dr. Ornish's research indicated that people who participated in support groups showed greater improvement, but Pinckney found there were no groups available. After requesting local hospitals to establish one, two centers agreed to start groups, if he would lead them. More than 750 people have now gone through his ten-week free groups, which lead to his best-selling book, the Healing Heart Handbook. In 1997, Dr. Pinckney was invited to be part of the professional staff at Dr. Ornish's residential retreats.

Dr. Pinckney walks four miles up and down a steep hill every day before breakfast. He also practices yoga and meditation daily, lifts weights and sometimes bicycles 25 miles. His cholesterol dropped from 372 to 126 and his blood pressure, which was alarmingly high, is now normal. He lost nearly 40 pounds and seven inches from his waistline. He travels around the world, leading support groups, giving talks and cooking demonstrations. He often travels to offbeat places, going on adventure treks where he is 30 or 40 years older than the others in the group. He is living proof that reversing heart disease can be accomplished through lifestyle changes and without surgery.

Biography © 1996 Health Communications, Inc.

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