Our Vision

A world in which human activity supports the health of the planet on which human health depends.

Through research and education in Lifestyle Medicine, Environmental Nutrition, and Transition to Resiliency the Institute of Human and Planetary Health is working to change the paradigm of a chronically ill human populous and planet to a culture of health for both the Earth and its inhabitants. The Institute of Human and Planetary Health seeks to promote a dietary pattern focused on whole plant foods, less focused on animal and highly processed foods, in order to

  • prevent and treat chronic diseases,
  • help shift the health care delivery focus away from pills and procedures to disease prevention and reversal through lifestyle behavior changes,
  • reduce agricultural related greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation,
  • preserve and protect surface and ground fresh water sources,
  • help mitigate climate change through restorative agricultural practices that increase organic matter in the soil, sequestering carbon and preventing soil erosion,​
  • help create resilient, healthy communities

​ ​Our Mission

Improving Human and Planetary Health.

Our mission is to present the evidence that the dietary pattern that best preserves both human and planetary health is based on minimally processed, whole plant foods grown using sustainable and restorative agricultural practices. The IHPH also seeks to provide educational opportunities for those who want to restore human and planetary health, create resilient, healthy communities and help transform current policy that favors high cost medical care, industrial agricultural and food production systems over people and the environment. ​


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Amanda McKinney, M.D.

Founder and Executive Director

Amanda McKinney is a physician with a passion for Lifestyle Medicine and environmental issues who recognizes the intimate relationship between our food and the health of both humans and the planet. She is both a Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and is a Certified Physician Executive. She founded the Institute of Human and Planetary Health to improve human health by transforming medical education and healthcare delivery and creating healthy, resilient communities. Creating a culture of healthy food, grown sustainably, will have a positive impact human and planetary health.



 David Dudley, MS

 Student Programs Manager

 As an undergraduate, David Dudley studied biology, ecology and the romance languages before receiving his MS in Sustainble Systems in Pennsylvania. He then worked for an international environmental consulting firm studying the effects of contaminants on riparian systems. Dudley later conducted studies for the government on the effects of built environments on natural ecosystems. He went on teach Biology, Spanish and Japanese before co-founding a company that focuses on converting wastes into alternative fuels. Dudley gained insight into environmental issues through various travel experiences and completed a Permaculture Certification in Australia under David Holmgren. He appeared on a TV series on environmental education and continues to teach publicly.

A Message from the Doane University President, Jacque Carter

Jacque Carter

Thomas Jefferson once said, "an enlightened well educated citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic". We believe the same is true to have healthy people in our society and a healthy planet upon which our livelihoods depend. Education is the key and is why the Institute for Human and Planetary Health (IHPH) is committed to providing the highest quality of coursework educating people on the science of reversing lifestyle diseases through plant-based diets and lifestyle medicine.

We also seek to bring together researchers and policymakers from different fields of study to address major issues facing us today and take action to reverse the damage inflicted upon the earth’s ecosystems and in doing so improve human health at home and abroad. We have long recognized that human health depends on ensuring the health of our planet—from the land where we grow our food, to the air we breathe and to the water drink. We seek to educate people about the importance of living sustainably on the land and sea as Native American Indians have done for thousands of years, in contrast to the last 200 years where Americans have lived unsustainably off the land and sea.

Certainly advances in technology, science and engineering will help improve the integrity and sustainability of earth’s ecosystem. But the prescription for good human health may be as simple as asking, What would our ancestors do? Sometimes the only way to go forward is to go back. For thousands of years the world’s civilizations were based on similar sustainable agricultural practices. And in just a few centuries the enormous amounts of energy produced by oil and other carbon based fossil fuels has literally transformed much of the world into an industrial civilization that is responsible for much of the climate change and global warming underway, habitat degradation and attendant loss of biodiversity. Now it is time for the next step—to transform from a linear consumer-driven industrial civilization to a circular sustainable ecological civilization. Doing so will restore damaged ecosystems, protect and conserve the earth's biodiversity and significantly improve global human health. Doane University's Institute for Human and Planetary Health is excited to play an important leadership role in this transformation locally, nationally and globally.



Advisory Board Members

​Liz VanWormer​

Liz VanWormer​ is an assistant professor of practice in the School of Natural Resources and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In the US and East Africa, Liz focuses on health at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment. She uses the One Health approach, bringing together diverse stakeholders, disciplines and perspectives to address complex health challenges facing people, animals and ecosystems. 


Jane Kleeb                        

Jane Kleeb is an experienced grassroots organizer, manager, political strategist and nonprofit entrepreneur. Jane is a leader who deeply understands the need to connect issues that rural and urban communities are facing to politics. Leading the statewide healthcare reform project called Change That Works, Jane brought together grassroots advocates in an effort that was successful in helping ensure pre-esxiting conditions are a thing of the past and that all Nebraskans have access to heath care. In 2010, Kleeb founded the grassroots group Bold Nebraska leading farmers, ranchers and Native allies in an effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. She now serves as the Nebraska Democratic Party Chair. ​​

Alan Kolok                        

Alan Kolok is the Director of the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Idaho. Kolok just recently finished a 19 year career in the state of Nebraska (at Nebraska Omaha and the Nebraska Medical Center) in which he conducted research and lead outreach and community engagement campaigns focused on water issues. In addition, he founded and directed the Nebraska Watershed Network. The mission of the Nebraska Watershed Network was to involve students, working in conjunction with local stakeholders, in projects that focus on the environmental stewardship of freshwater resources and the biota that those waterways support. Kolok is also the author of: Modern Poisons – A Brief Introduction to Contemporary Toxicology a book that focuses on modern toxicological issues in language that a non-scientist can understand.

Brian Depew                        

Brian Depew is the Executive Director at the Center for Rural Affairs, a nationally recognized advocacy and development organization headquartered in Lyons, Nebraska. In college, he immersed himself in environmental and agricultural ethics, and wrote a master’s thesis on the moral obligation to save the family farm. Today, he makes good on that obligation, and a larger obligation to all rural residents, by advocating for policies that support rural communities. ​

Gus Von Roenn                        

Gus Von Roenn is an advocate for permaculture and sustainable practices throughout Nebraska. He works through many organizations like the Sierra Club, Nebraskans for Solar, Nebraska Sustainability Agricultural Society, the Metro Omaha Food Policy Council and Omaha Permaculture to elevate the discussion of issues surrounding healthy food accessibility, land stewardship and entrepreneurship in low-income communities. Gus is a certified permaculture designer and is the founder of a nonprofit called Omaha Permaculture that accepts degraded, vacant land for restoration while providing space to incubate agriculture-related entrepreneurial opportunities. As an advocate for everything Permaculture and sustainability in Nebraska, he likes to help many organizations teach their constituents the limitless opportunities that create abundance in all of our communities. ​

Steve Kiene                        

Steve Kiene is an experienced entrepreneur, leader, senior executive, and strategist with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Steve founded eSellerate and MindVision Software and while serving as CEO at MindVision, he developed two highly successful software products for other companies. He currently serves on the board of advisors and volunteers as an adjunct instructor at the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, helping lead the Design Studio learning experience. He established and serves as director of The Kiene Family Foundation which is dedicated to improving lives of all Nebraskans through support of non-profit organizations. The foundation recently announced a gift of $1,000,000 to NET for their Inspire Nebraska campaign.