25 Black Vegan Healthcare Professionals

Representation matters, especially in health and wellness. Studies show that Black patients are more likely to trust healthcare advice from Black medical doctors and healthcare professionals – largely because of the ongoing risks we face from systemic white supremacy and patriarchy in the medical industry.

But what about representation when you’re also a vegan?

Did you know that most medical professionals are not properly trained in nutrition? Although 11 million global deaths are attributed to dietary factors, reports found that, in general, graduating medical students are not supported with enough nutrition education during their studies to provide adequate care to patients. In fact, in medical school, of the thousands of hours of study, students only average about 19 hours of nutrition education – and that rarely includes plant-based nutrition.

That’s why having a Black vegan healthcare professional can give you the best of both worlds. Ideally, you can trust that they have your best interest at heart, and they have practical knowledge and expertise in plant-based nutrition.

Not sure where to find a practitioner? We got you covered! Here are 25 Black vegan healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, and more, who are committed to providing holistic healthcare to their patients and communities:

Alicia C. Simpson, MS, RD, LD, is a dietitian with a focus on maternal and pediatric health in the state of Georgia.

Audrey R. Powell, MD, is an internal medicine and pediatric physician. Powell also strongly supports nutrition as means of healing and takes virtual appointments.

Banji Awosika, MD, specializes in nephrology, hypertension, and kidney dialysis, with an emphasis on preventive care through proper nutrition.

Baxter Montgomery, MD, is the founder of Montgomery Heart and Wellness in Houston, TX, a state-of-the-art facility that provides patients with a holistic approach and scientifically-backed research in all matters of heart care.

Celeste Palmer, MD, FAAP, is a physician who specializes in teaching families about the healing properties of food and how to make lifestyle modifications around plant-based eating.

Columbus Batiste, MD, also known as the “Healthy Heart Doc” supports a holistic healthcare approach, prioritizing plant-based nutrition. Batiste is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee.

Deitra Dennis, RN, NBC-HWC, is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee. A registered nurse and board certified health and wellness coach in the state of Georgia, Dennis is the founder of Full Circle Health Coaching LLC and specializes in heart disease prevention specifically in women of color.

Edwin K. McDonald IV, MD, specializes in gastroenterology, nutrition, and weight management – and he also is a trained chef!

Harriet N. Davis, MD, is a board-certified family medicine and sports medicine physician, who also happens to be a IFBB bikini athlete.

Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, is board certified in dermatology and lifestyle medicine. An internationally recognized dermatologist and skincare expert, Woolery-Lloyd also uses plant-based nutrition as the center of care.

Judy Brangman, MD, is committed to helping people transition to plant-based diets. Brangman is candid about her own journey and uses her personal experience to encourage overall wellness through plant-based eating.

Kim Williams, MD, is a cardiologist, and former president of the American College of Cardiology, focused on helping people refine the ways in which good nutrition can prevent illness and promote heart health.

Kirt Tyson, NMD, CPBN, FAAOPM, is a board-certified naturopathic physician who specializes in diabetes, cancer, as well as heart disease prevention and reversal. Tyson is also author of The Raw Truth: A Recipe for Reversing Diabetes.

Lynette Moore, MD, is a board certified physician who facilitates restoration of health through plant-based nutrition and holistic lifestyle management.

Mary A. Washington, MD, FACP, is a Houston-based board-certified internal medicine doctor, nephrologist, and certified plant-based nutritionist. Washington wholeheartedly believes that “a healthy diet makes a healthy body.”

Milton Mills, MD, is a member of the 10MBVW Advisory Committee. An internal medicine specialist and founder of Plant-Based Nation, Mills has been featured on several leading documentaries and podcasts discussing the importance of plant-based eating.

Natalie P. Santiago, MD, is a vegan pediatrician and advocate for holistic family care that is centered in whole foods, plant-based nutrition.

Pamela Atkins, MD, and Floyd Atkins, MD, both believe that education is the epicenter of lifestyle improvement. The Center for Wellness and Healing is a Houston-based clinic focused on educating patients on whole-food nutrition, supplementation, rest, and exercise.

Rosa Kincaid, MD, is a physician and raw-food workshop facilitator who encourages disease prevention and management with plant-based eating.

Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD, is a board-certified, Philadelphia-based OB/GYN and founder of Today’s Woman. Abdul-Rahman’s practice focuses on preventative care, education, and using the latest technology to understand issues that particularly pertain to women.

Shayla Toombs-Withers, MD, founded the Essence of Health Wellness Clinic in Chattanooga, TN, and uses her knowledge of medicine, athletics, and plant-based nutrition as a primary care model for her patients.

Shayna Smith, MD, is a family doctor and owner of Flourish Pediatrics, who prioritizes plant-based nutrition for all members of the family.

Tinka Barnes, MD, is a board-certified family medicine practitioner who also owns a company, Veginar PLLC, which focuses on workshops and speaking engagements that promote whole foods, plant-based nutrition and movement (check out her Instagram for the latest moves!) as a means of medicine.

Terry Mason, MD, is a former urologist and Chicago-based lecturer known for “spreading the plant-based gospel” for more than 40 years. Mason advocates for holistic lifestyle benefits and plant-based eating – and has been seen on several documentaries including Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers.

Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, DO, MPH, MS, FAAP, is a pediatrician and health and wellness coach. Lancaster is also the host of the Veggie Doctor Radio podcast, where she explores many topics surrounding healthy diets and nutrition.

From advocating for better nutrition to modeling their own lived experiences as vegans, these healthcare professionals are doing essential and life-changing work!

You can search for more providers on sites like Plant-based Docs or Lifestyle Medicine. If you’d like to recommend a Black vegan medical professional in your own backyard, tag them in our Instagram comments at @10millionbvw.

Getting the Nutrients You Need

How vegans (and everyone else) can get vitamins and minerals from food, fortification, and fun in the sun.

By Tonya Abari, adapted from an article in the African American Vegan Starter Guide.

Eating plant-based is a fantastic way to improve your overall health. But you might be wondering how vegans get all the vitamins and minerals needed to thrive. Even with a diet composed of mostly whole foods – fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains – deficiencies can leave you feeling tired and incomplete. 

Common nutrients of concern, especially for new vegans, are protein, B12, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Here’s more info about these nutrients and how you can seamlessly include them in your diet:


One of the most common questions for new vegans is, “How do I get enough protein?” According to a study in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans actually get 70% more protein than the recommended daily allowance. On average, most people need between 50-70 grams of protein daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends calculating protein intake based on multiplying your weight by 0.36 grams. So, if you’re 160 pounds, you need about 57 grams of protein each day. Or if you’re very physically active, you’ll need about 70 grams of protein per day. 

Some vegan sources that are high in protein include, but are not limited to: tempeh, tofu, lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chickpeas, and quinoa. For more recommendations, read the “The Protein Question” in Ageless Vegan

Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 originates from bacteria, not plants or animals. It comes from tiny one-celled organisms or microbes that are in the air, earth, and water. In our bacteria-phobic, super hygienic world, neither meat-eaters or vegans typically get enough reliable vitamin B12 in their diets unless they’re eating ample B12-fortified food, such as plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast – or taking B12 supplements. 

That said, animals can harbor the bacteria, which can be ingested by meat-eaters. This is not the case with vegans. Based on the latest research findings for those eating plant-based foods, in Dr. Michael Greger’s How Not to Die, he recommends a B12 supplement (cyanocobalamin) of 2,500 mcg a week or 250 mcg a day for people under age 65. For people over age 65, the amount should be increased up to 1,000 mcg a day. 


We need about 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Just one cup of cooked collard greens or black-eyed peas has 350 mg each. The key is to eat a variety of plant-based food throughout the day and you’ll easily meet your daily calcium needs. 


Plant-based sources of iron include beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, dried fruits and dark leafy greens. Eating them with fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C (such as strawberries and broccoli) will ensure that enough iron is obtained to meet the recommended daily allowance for women (18 mg for ages 19-50; 8 mg for ages 51 and older) and for men (8 mg for ages 19 and older). 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is made in skin that’s exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. To meet your daily vitamin D needs, you typically want to get at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight on your face, hands, arms or back two to three times a week. However, it does depend on where you live. Check out this infographic which displays the latest recommendations for vitamin D according to location.

If you’re indoors most of the time, some alternatives to sunlight include food fortified with vitamin D, like whole grain cereals and plant-based milks, including nut milks (almond, coconut, or macadamia), and  oat, rice or soy milks.

So that’s how vegans get those common vitamins and minerals — from food, fortification and fun in the sun.

Tonya Abari is a multigenre storyteller, editor, and reviewer. Her words have been published in USA Today, Publishers Weekly, ZORA, For the Culture, The Kitchn, Good Housekeeping, and many more! She enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants, collecting healing crystals, and unschooling with her inquisitive children. You can catch Tonya hanging out on Instagram @iamtabari.

Socializing While Vegan

By Tonya Abari, adapted from an article by Demetrius Bagley in the African American Vegan Starter Guide

When I first went vegan, socializing was a challenge. Attending family gatherings or going out to eat with omnivore friends and having little to no vegan options was stressful. And then there were the work events full of smoked meats and cheese platters. Not to mention the quizzical looks, barrage of questions, and the infamous “They have a salad.”

One too many of these instances made me question how I could ever make socializing while vegan sustainable. So what was a new vegan to do?

Well, I finally realized that it’s up to me to make sure I have vegan food available – and to be comfortable taking care of my needs in social situations with ease and grace. And once I changed my mindset, a lot of the stress went away. The reality is that some of your friends and family will understand your choice to go vegan – and some will not. But that certainly doesn’t mean you should stop socializing. It’s up to you to feel confident with your new vegan lifestyle and know that you can manage social situations just fine with some practice and consistency. So here are some practical ways to get the most out of socializing as a vegan:

  • Expand your network. If the village ain’t vegan, you’re going to have to build one. Get to know other vegans and vegan happenings through sites like Grazer and Meetup. It’s a great way to meet a variety of vegans—whether activists or foodies, newbies or veterans. Another added bonus of finding your people: eating vegan free from explanations and being on the defensive is so much more enjoyable and relaxing! Part of being vegan, after all, is living with a greater sense of peace.

  • Explore locally. A great place to meet other vegans and find vegan foods are at your community’s green or farmer’s markets. Along with buying fresh produce directly from the famers, you’ll often find small businesses selling a variety of vegan goodies. Also, think about attending vegan-friendly festivals. A few popular national festivals include Black Vegfest in Brooklyn, Vegan Soulfest in Baltimore and Vegan Street Fair in Los Angeles.

  • Suggest vegan establishments. Recommend vegan restaurants for your meetup or gathering. It’s an inclusive option because almost everyone eats plant-based foods, whether they’re vegans or omnivores. You can search for vegan restaurants in your area using HappyCow.

  • Eat before you go! Sure, breaking bread is part of the ultimate social experience. But if vegan options are questionable, it’s best to eat before you go. Showing up with a content belly makes it easier to turn down non-vegan offerings. And just remember, there can be many reasons why people choose not to eat at gatherings, so be comfortable with your choice.

  • BYOVF (Bring your own vegan foods). There’s no shame in bringing your own food to an event. Some might consider it rude, but remember, we’re all at different places when it comes to food, so be confident about meeting your own needs. If you know the event won’t have vegan options, pack a bag lunch (breakfast or dinner) full of your own vegan treats. Also, you can also bring vegan food to share with others. The key is to know your host and audience. Providing something sweet, like a fruit salad or a pan of homemade vegan brownies, is an easy and crowd-pleasing choice. Healthy drinks, like fresh smoothies, juices or lemonade, can also be refreshing to share.

Attending picnics, potlucks, cookouts or any other food-focused events with omnivores can feel tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your social life as a new vegan even more.

Tonya Abari is a multigenre storyteller, editor, and reviewer. Her words have been published in USA Today, Publishers Weekly, ZORA, For the Culture, The Kitchn, Good Housekeeping, and many more! She enjoys discovering new vegan restaurants, collecting healing crystals, and unschooling with her inquisitive children. You can catch Tonya hanging out on Instagram @iamtabari.
Demetrius Bagley is an award-winning producer of the documentary Vegucated. He’s also produced the public TV cooking show Vegan Mashup, and has been vegan since 1994.