Should you get a degree in lifestyle medicine? yes

Fellow doctors often ask me what the future holds for lifestyle medicine and whether they should pursue a board certification. My short answer to the second question is, “Absolutely yes!” But first I share why I am confident that lifestyle medicine will become the foundation of all health and healthcare and that physicians must prepare for it.



Kate Collings, MD

There is growing recognition among policy makers and health leaders of the unsustainable costs — in human suffering and the $4.1 trillion spent on health care in the United States in 2020 — of lifestyle and diet-related chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetesAnd the obesity, and heart disease. COVID-19 and worse outcomes associated with underlying chronic conditions have contributed to awareness of just how sick Americans are. The pandemic has also highlighted health disparities related to the prevalence of lifestyle-related chronic diseases and inadequate healthcare resources in many societies. Lifestyle Medicine Offers promising road To narrow the health inequality gap.

Notably, for the first time in 50 years, the White House hosted a Hunger, Nutrition and Health Conference In September, with the aim of “[e]hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans will suffer from diet-related diseases.”

This growing realization of the imperative to reduce lifestyle diseases and prepare future clinicians and practitioners to address the root causes of those diseases will ideally accelerate the United States’ transition to high-value care. Lifestyle medicine makes use of behavioral changes in nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress management, social bonding, and the use of hazardous substances as the first and primary method of treating many conditions, with medications and procedures as an adjunct therapy. It supports the five-year goal of improving outcomes, reducing costs, improving patient satisfaction, improving provider satisfaction, and has the potential to address health equity.

there strong argument This value is exactly what lifestyle medicine can offer, and this paves the way for a paradigm shift.

Health systems are increasingly recognizing this value. The Health Systems Councila collaborative community of health systems interested in integrating the lifestyle medicine he founded American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in May 2021, it already has more than 70 members in the health system. Responsible Care Organizations With a focus on lifestyle medicine Created to help service providers implement lifestyle behavior interventions sustainably. Even the US Army Integrating lifestyle medicine In her medical care for service members.

Momentum is growing to integrate lifestyle medicine into undergraduate medical education and build a new workforce of physicians tailored for current and future times. In November 2021, Representative James McGovern introduced Parliament Resolution No. 784a resolution passed by the House of Representatives to support activities to ensure that health professional training programs, including medical schools, residency programs, and fellowships, include substantive training in nutrition and diet.

The University of South Carolina Greenville School of Medicine is the first school to incorporate lifestyle medicine into all four years of its curriculum. The Collaborative Lifestyle Medicine EducationIt is a collection of open lifestyle medicine curriculum resources developed there, and provides a curriculum that other medical programs can integrate. Medical students have a big appetite for lifestyle medicine, and Lifestyle Medicine Interest Groups (LMIGs) for students of medical and other health professions has exploded from a single campus in 2009 to 95 LMIGs today.

As of September 1, ACLM Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum (LMRC), a comprehensive curriculum piloted in 2018 that prepares residents for evidence-based behavioral interventions, is implemented in 200 residency programs across 96 locations, with 1,190 faculty members and 4,185 residents.

Education in lifestyle medicine for clinicians who have trained for 10 or more years may consist of only a few hours of learning about severe nutrient deficiencies and general suggestions for inspiring patients to “do more” and “eat better.” That is why I strongly urge practicing physicians to continue Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine. Education and certification will modernize their practices to meet the needs of the current healthcare system.

As health systems or practices embrace lifestyle medicine and operate within value-based contracts or population health goals, clinicians equipped with lifestyle medicine tools and knowledge will be evaluated and researched. More and more doctors and other physicians are pursuing board certification. Since 2017, 2004 US physicians and 778 other health professionals have been certified.

Doctors are certified by American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM). There are two pathways for physicians to qualify for the exam. The first is the pilot track for physicians who are already board certified by a board of medical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association. These physicians must be basic board certified and have practiced medicine for at least two years before qualifying to take the ABLM exam.

The other emerging path is educational. Doctors who complete LMRC Through the residency site are eligible to sit for the certification exam, although the certification will not be issued until the physician has successfully passed the Basic Board Examination.

To prepare for the board exam, ACLM provides index From online CME courses as well as Lifestyle Medicine Board review course. In addition, ACLM has recently become a content provider for Ed HubThe online learning platform of the American Medical Association. The annual ACLM conspiracy It is an event for learning and networking on the journey towards becoming a board certified.

The healthcare landscape is changing rapidly. Transformative changes are occurring, and I am confident that lifestyle medicine will be at the forefront of addressing our troubling course of chronic disease, its associated misery and financial impact.

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