Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative

ACLM’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative, led by Drs. Terri Stone and Marsha-Gail Davis exists to promote health equity using lifestyle medicine.

Our mission is to “HEAL” our communities by delivering health equity through lifestyle medicine strategies.

  • Community Building: To build a community that educates, empowers and encourages its members to obtain and sustain health equity within the underprivileged communities they serve.
  • Community Engagement and Empowerment: To empower our communities to achieve true health through strategic and evidence-based community engaged lifestyle medicine.
  • Community Partnership: To engage key stakeholders in partnership and collective work to further efforts to impact our communities through lifestyle medicine.

In 2020 ACLM held the inaugural Health Disparities Solutions Summit as an extension of the HEAL Initiative work.

The summit was born out of the vision of ACLM President Dexter Shurney, with generous support from the Ardmore Institute of Health, to address dietary lifestyle and stress in economically challenged and diverse communities. This virtual convening brought together approximately two dozen of our nation’s foremost thought leaders: physicians, researchers, faith-based leaders, academics, community organizers, and others whom the HDSS Leadership Team identified as key voices in regard to one of the most pressing issues of our time.

The objective of the HDSS was to spark discussion, leading to expert consensus recommended action steps addressing the lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities that are ravaging our underserved communities. Interdisciplinary solutions created from the collective knowledge and experiences of practitioners and experts from across multiple sectors are urgently needed. We know the power of diversity in minds and voices in developing effective solutions, and this summit seeks to harness this collective power.

A paper will be published with recommendations from this summit in 2021.

Click here to support the HEAL Initiative

HEAL Education Scholarship Program

ACLM’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine Initiative (HEAL) is delighted to announce a new scholarship program, the HEAL Education Scholarship Program. As part of HEAL’s mission to address health disparities through lifestyle medicine (LM), and in recognition that achieving a diverse LM workforce is essential to that mission, the HEAL Education Scholarship Program will award underrepresented in medicine (URM) clinicians with need-based scholarships to assist applicants in meeting costs associated with attaining education and certification in lifestyle medicine. This opportunity is open to applicants practicing in the United States.

ACLM’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine Initiative (HEAL) Education Scholarship Program

In 2020 and 2021, ACLM has increased emphasis on efforts to reduce health disparities through lifestyle medicine (LM). ACLM’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative has identified several strategies to address the inequities across racial and ethnic groups laid bare by COVID-19; among them is cultivating a representative LM workforce. Today’s health professional workforce, and the LM workforce within it, do not reflect the rich diversity of our nation’s population. The underrepresentation of BIPOC in health professions has implications for health disparities. Diversity in health professions supports health care access and quality for underserved communities, research regarding neglected areas of societal need, and responsive policymaking. The HEAL Education Scholarship Program will meaningfully serve ACLM’s imperative to advance health equity by increasing access to lifestyle medicine training and certification for underrepresented groups in health professions.

It is well established that underrepresented in medicine (URM) clinicians across health professions and specialties are more likely than their non-URM counterparts to practice in underserved communities. URM clinicians are more likely to work with populations who bear disproportionate rates of lifestyle-related disease. Supporting a diverse health care workforce and delivering particular support to those providing care to marginalized populations is the mission of this scholarship program, made possible in large part by grant support from Ardmore Institute of Health and generous ACLM member donations.

The HEAL Education Scholarship Program is comprised of two separate, distinct professional development scholarships:

ABLM/ACLM Board Certification Exam and Preparation

In 2021, the Program will support partial (50%) and full (100%) scholarships to cover certification expenses, where certification expenses include:

Lifestyle Medicine Course Bundle

Those working toward becoming a Lifestyle Medicine Board Certified Physician, Professional, or Practitioner who have interest in ACLM’s latest CME/CE course offerings and would benefit from coverage of course enrollment costs.

While applicants have the opportunity to apply for one or both need-based scholarships with a single application, award recipients may receive a maximum of one HEAL scholarship per year. 

Candidates will be supported for participation who are members of underrepresented groups in medicine as defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC): Underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.

Eligibility: Individuals eligible to apply will be a) a physician, professional, or practitioner who is eligible to become a certified diplomate (Become Certified - ABLM & ACLM ), who b) self-identifies as a member of a racial or ethnic group historically underrepresented in medicine—Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian or Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

Preferred experience: Eligible applicants will be evaluated through the scholarship program's funding priorities. We seek to recruit providers who demonstrate a strong commitment to an evidence-based lifestyle medicine-first approach to their practice. The spirit of the scholarship program is to address inequities in health care, which we understand as important contributors to health disparities. Accordingly, the Program also prioritizes bringing the benefits of LM-trained and certified clinicians to patient populations most burdened by health disparities. While location/population-specific practice does not determine eligibility, particular attention will be paid by the Selection Committee to candidates who demonstrate commitment to health equity.

Funding will be allocated according to financial need and the strength of applicant statements about the ways in which scholarship support will help them in their lifestyle medicine-related missions. In their Personal Statements, applicants should detail how scholarship support will help them as individual clinicians, and any and all ways they plan to amplify their LM training through patient-centered, value based, outcome driven care.

*Please note, ACLM does not reimburse for prior certification exam fees, course enrollment fees, or any associated expenses.
Application Opens: March 17, 2021
Deadline: April 30, 2021
Results Notification: June 2021
Terms of Use: Recipients of the 2021 ABLM/ACLM Board Certification Exam and Preparation scholarship must test in the same year it is awarded. Scholarships provided for certification in 2021 must be utilized in 2021.

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The inaugural Health Disparities Solutions Summit (HDSS) | presented by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM).  


This summit was born out of the vision of ACLM President Dexter Shurney, with generous support from the Ardmore Institute of Health, to address dietary lifestyle and stress in economically challenged and diverse communities. This virtual convening brought together approximately two dozen of our nation’s foremost thought leaders: physicians, researchers, faith-based leaders, academics, community organizers, and others whom the HDSS Leadership Team identified as key voices in regard to one of the most pressing issues of our time. 
 
The objective of the HDSS is to spark discussion, leading to expert consensus recommended action steps addressing the lifestyle-related chronic disease health disparities that are ravaging our underserved communities. Interdisciplinary solutions created from the collective knowledge and experiences of practitioners and experts from across multiple sectors are urgently needed. We know the power of diversity in minds and voices in developing effective solutions, and this summit seeks to harness this collective power. 

ACLM’s definition of lifestyle medicine is the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease. This definition unites us, through our dedication to a first-treatment approach focused on identifying and eradicating the root cause of disease. 
 
This last year has shown a bright light on how lifestyle-related chronic disease has exacerbated vulnerability in regard to the Covid-19 virus, with communities of color being disproportionately impacted. Addressing these alarming health disparities is the purpose of this HDSS and an extension of the work of ACLM’s Health Equity Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Member Interest Group, led by Drs. Terri Stone and Marsha-Gail Davis.
 
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine represents the future of health care. As an organization, ACLM stands firmly against any form of racism, while recognizing the vital need to proactively reach our underserved communities with the health, hope and healing that lifestyle medicine can deliver. 
 
To learn more about ACLM’s Health Disparities Achieved through Lifestyle Medicine (HEAL) Initiative, please contact HEAL@lifestylemedicine.org.

The visions discussed at the Health Disparities Solutions Summit

  • VISION/DISCUSSION TOPIC: Lifestyle Medicine healthcare providers trained and equipped to partner with and serve their patients in underserved communities to minimize stress for improved health outcomes. 
  • VISION/DISCUSSION TOPIC: A high level of food and nutrition literacy among patients and providers in underserved communities. 
  • VISION/DISCUSSION TOPIC: Food as medicine fully integrated into communities, their cultures and values—implemented in underserved communities in a culturally appropriate way to achieve health equity.

Summit Leadership Team 

Dexter Shurney, MD, MPH, MBA, FACLM, DipABLM, ACLM President and Chief Medical Officer and Senior VP of Clinical Affairs for Foodsmart by Zipongo. Theresa Stone, MD, Director on ACLM Board and Fresh & Savory Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Program Director at Medstar Health at Lafayette Centre.Marsha-Gail Davis, MD, Young Director on ACLM Board, Yale-trained Primary Care Internist and Chief Resident at UCSD Preventive Medicine Residency Program.

Jasmol Sardana, DO, FACLM, DipABLM, Primary Care Internist at Barnard Medical Center.
Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH, Board of Directors Member at the Clarkston Community Health Center, Georgia.Susan Benigas, ACLM Executive Director.  Claire Wade-Hak, RDN, DipACLM, ACLM Director of Membership.  Monica Black Robinson, HDSS Project Manager, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Professional at Washington University. 

Brought to you in part by the generous support of:
     

Find out more about joining ACLM's HEAL Initiative