"Lifestyle Medicine is the first field to truly empower people to live a better life.”
Corey Howard, MD, FACP
Double-board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Dr. Howard brings multiple dimensions to his philosophy and practice of Lifestyle Medicine. Founder and Director of Physician's Life Centers in Naples, Florida, he brings this multi-dimensional expertise to his patients, offering programs designed to help people live a better life.
He asserts that “Most physicians today are reactive, focusing solely on disease management”, and argues the need for a more proactive approach - comprehensive programs focused on overall health, the prevention of disease, and the attainment of optimal health and wellness.
His focus has shifted over the years. Concentrating in his early career on gastroenterology, he has performed an estimated ten thousand gastro-endoscopic procedures. As his practice evolved toward general medicine, he found himself increasingly compelled to prevent disease and to help people find a better way of living. While atop a mountain in Utah, he committed himself to change; deciding then and there to reshape his practice and transform his life. Describing himself as out of shape at the time, he began training for a triathlon and without knowing how to swim, dove into the sport as a personal challenge. This mission led him to Ironman, taught him a great deal about nutrition and sports medicine, and strengthened his commitment to help others discover the transformative power of lifestyle.
“My mission is to improve the health of Americans. Obesity is our number one cause of death. In my practice, I see a lack of individual responsibility. Patients have the sense that medicine is going to deliver health, that medicine will do it for them.” He points to the need to empower patients to take responsibility for their health. While his practice is built upon a foundation of general medicine with the majority of his patients viewing him as their primary care provider, he envisions Lifestyle Medicine moving toward a specialty model. “I would encourage Lifestyle Medicine practitioners to view this as a specialty; that of helping people get better and allowing them to live a better life.”
Physician’s Life Centers offer an array of services including a comprehensive medical review, personalized nutrition and fitness programs, and physician-directed and designed weight loss programs. The practice model includes assessments such as VO2 testing, body fat analysis, and antioxidant scanning (measuring carotenoid levels in tissues) along with conventional lab work and screenings. The practice is primarily insurance-based, featuring multiple revenue streams including those services offered on a cash basis. The practice system (e-clinical) facilitates efficiency in generating and sending letters to patients and in managing billing and coding and allows Dr. Howard to communicate with patients as questions and needs arise. The primary means of marketing is word-of-mouth, with local triathletes and runners now well-aware of Dr. Howard and his practice. In addition to one-on-one consultations, Dr. Howard offers seminars such as What to Eat and Empowered to Live a Better Life, programs that outline the science of better health – the WHAT - along with the HOW - how to make it fun and how to make it fit into your life. His cooking demos and other programs are conducted on-site at the Physician’s Life Centers.
In a stunning example of living life to its fullest, Corey Howard makes the time for Ironman training and competition, plays music (he’s a jazz saxophonist), has written a (yet unpublished) full-length fiction novel, and enjoys cooking for his family. And he’s actively involved with the Collier County Medical Society and holds several leadership roles within the Florida Medical Association, serving as Vice Speaker and Chair of the Florida Medical Association Delegation to the American Medical Association, and as a member of the ad hoc committee of the Board of Trustees of the AMA on alternative membership models.
A master of time management, he enjoys helping patients – most of whom have their own busy lives – find time for fitness and health.
Dr. Howard sees Lifestyle Medicine shifting away from simply managing disease and toward helping people build better health, ultimately reducing their dependence on medications. His lifestyle-based visits focus primarily on nutrition, fitness, and the process of behavior change. “Within my practice I apply Lifestyle Medicine in the initial consultation, letting patients decide how they want to change. From there, I take them from where they are to where they want to be.” In an effort to help strengthen physician skills in Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Howard has developed a tool for physicians to talk with patients about lifestyle change, a tool structured around the Transtheoretical Model, or TTM.
His advice for Lifestyle Medicine practitioners:
- 1) Be clear on your goal in life. If your goal is truly to empower people to live a better life, then Lifestyle Medicine is right for you.
- 2) Live the life. You must show people what it is like. I changed my entire life. We have to show rather than tell.
- 3) Find out what is important to your patients. Listen to what they tell you. Then show them how they can move toward their goals. Lifestyle Medicine must uphold people helping themselves.
“We need to listen to what patients are saying. They are telling us that they want a better way of life. As Lifestyle Medicine practitioners, our job is to live a better life so that we can offer an example and guide patients toward their best health. We need to understand the alternatives of treatment and bridge the gap between traditional medicine and Lifestyle Medicine. We are the pioneers; we are on the frontier and the Lifestyle Medicine frontier is wide-open. This is the first field to truly empower people to live a better life. It is extremely important that we have a mission, and we need to have a singular voice…THIS is who we are.”
Article by Kathleen Jones, MA
American College of Lifestyle Medicine
ACLM Disclaimer: Our Practice Spotlights are intended to provide examples of Lifestyle Medicine in practice.
We recognize that Lifestyle Medicine practices vary widely, and inclusion in Practice Spotlight is not intended
to imply official endorsement of individuals or practices.