In the American College of Lifestyle Medicine I've Found My Tribe

by: Susan Benigas, ACLM Executive Director (pinch hitting this month for ACLM President George Guthrie, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACLM)

November 2017

What a privilege it is to be part of an organization that represents a galvanized force for change in regard to one of the most important issues of our time: the urgent need to usher in sustainable health and a sustainable healthcare system—here in the United States and in countries around the world.

The stakes are high, but my faith in our united effort is far higher. There is rarely a week that goes by that I don’t hear from a new ACLM member saying,“I just discovered ACLM and know that I’ve found my tribe.”I’m astounded that it’s this exact phrase that’s used time and again.

Our ACLM tribe is rapidly expanding, as we inch toward breaking through the 2,000 mark in our membership, with nearly 50% growth in the past year alone. With a vision of every physician and allied health professional becoming proficient in the field, integrating it into their own lives and into their clinical practices, we’ve only just begun!

In addition to the dramatic growth we’re experiencing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a number of exciting developments:

    • On Monday, November 27,ACLM launched its online learning management system (LMS), found With Lee Health in Ft. Myers, FL as our CME accreditation provider, we’re delighted to debut two courses: the documentary Forks Over Knives (1.5 CMEs) and How to Be an Evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine Clinician (2.25 CMEs) by Michael Greger, MD, FACLM. Additional courses will be added on an ongoing basis, so stay tuned for details.ACLM members receive a 25% discount on all published pricing.
    • Thanks to generous support by the Ardmore Institute of Health, ACLM hosted the inauguralComprehensive Board Review Course (CBRC), which included an in-depth manual, during the weeks leading up to the inaugural American Board of Lifestyle Medicine exam, which was held in Tucson, AZ just a few short weeks ago. This course, developed by Drs. John Kelly and Jeni Shull, in association with members of the Editorial Review Panel, is undergoing revision and updating, with version 2 of the CBRC set to go live on ACLM’s new LMS on or before June 1, 2018.
    • ACLM Board Member Beth Frates, MD, joined with ACLM in publishing an in-depth, 48-pageLifestyle Medicine Course Syllabus, as a fee educational resource.Click herefor details. Dr. Frates and former ACLM Board Member Jon Bonnet, MD, working in partnership with ACLM, will soon debut theACLM Lifestyle Medicine Handbook(spring 2018).
    • With education as a top priority, ACLM’s Professionals in Training (PiTs) launched the PiTResidency Curriculum Working Groupduring LM2015. Flash forward, and this partnership has grown to include Loma Linda Health and LMed, joining forces to bring to life the vision of aLifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum. It’s anticipated that the curriculum will be piloted in summer 2018. Those interested in pilot participation are asked to complete the formfound hereon the ACLM website.
    • Having debuted in June 2016, theLifestyle Medicine Core Competencies Program (LMCC)online course has been engaged by hundreds of clinicians who have taken advantage of the 30-hour CME accredited course and optional electives. Developed in partnership between ACLM and ACPM, details about this course can be foundhere.
    • Lifestyle Medicine 2017, ACLM’s annual conference,attended by more than 800, representing 30 plus countries, was held last month in Tucson, AZ at the beautiful Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa—please see Spotlight article below for details of what many consider to be the medical conference of the year!
    • TheAmerican Board of Lifestyle Medicine(ABLM)hosted its inaugural certification exam on the heels of Lifestyle Medicine 2017, with nearly 300 physicians and allied health professionals as part of the first-ever cohort. With certification in the field having been recognized—since ACLM’s inception in 2004—as essential to firmly establishing the field, what’s even more exciting is that the same ABLM exam hosted here in the U.S. will be hosted by theInternational Board of Lifestyle Medicine(IBLM)in many other countries over the coming months. This represents the standardization of the field around the globe in association with ACLM’s sister organizations.
    • Speaking of our sister organizations, it’s inspiring to see the field of Lifestyle Medicine emerging on every continent, with theLifestyle Medicine Global Alliance(LMGA)formed last year to serve as the organization uniting the LM medical professional organizations around the world. With more than a dozen already in operation, nearly a dozen more are in various stages of development. Thanks to LMGA Director Margarete Ezinwa, MD, and a strong volunteer team, we have big plans for LMGA serving as a vehicle to promote and support the field in ever part of the world.
    • This June marked the first anniversary of theLifestyle Medicine Corporate Roundtable, which debuted last year with Sharecare and Kashi as our first Founding Members. Now nearly two dozen members strong, this body represents synergistic collaboration between those with a shared passion for advancing the field of Lifestyle Medicine. Our June 2017 CRT meeting, hosted by Kashi at its fabulous corporate office, was capped off with ourHealthcare Transformation Summit, showcasing Lifestyle Medicine in the Workplace: Lower costs. Improved outcomes. Enhanced wellbeing.
    • Bringing to life one of the components of our communications and awareness strategy, ACLM is set to debut in early 2018 theLifestyle Medicine Speakers’ Bureau, made possible by a generous grant from the Greenbaum Foundation. Unlike a traditional speakers’ bureau that responds to incoming requests, this bureau will be focused on an outbound marketing campaign, soliciting speaking opportunities for ACLM spokespersons at hospital grand rounds, medical schools and select conferences. We often say that Lifestyle Medicine is the ‘good news’ that too few medical professionals have heard about. We’re on a mission to change this!
    • Another key component of ACLM’s communications strategy focuses on the power of the story with the debut during our Tucson conference of the first installment ofThe Lifestyle Medicine Story Project. Through this effort, ACLM will produce video vignettes that educate, inform and inspire viewers through visual story telling—of clinicians’ lives and professional practices transformed, patients’ health restored, and health systems and worksites that have been positively impacted by the power of Lifestyle Medicine.Click hereto view the Lifestyle Medicine story of Texas’ Midland Health.
    • Earlier this month, the inaugural meeting of the newLifestyle Medicine Economic Research Consortium (LMERC)was held, made possible by a multi-year seed funding contribution by the Lifestyle Medicine Institute. Bringing together an actuary, health economists, physician researchers, a data mathematician, and other individuals with strategically identified skill sets, the LMERC is charged with curating research—and identifying gaps in research that must be filled—in order to build the solid business case of Lifestyle Medicine implementation in clinical practice and in worksite settings.
    • Shortly after his induction as president in the fall of 2016, ACLM President George Guthrie, MD expressed the need for ACLM to establish a new methodology, process, procedure and/or ranking system for evaluating scientific evidence as related to the field of Lifestyle Medicine, knowing that research related to our field, oftentimes, cannot be controlled, randomized or blinded. While RCTs have their place, they are by no means the end-all in light of long-term epidemiological studies—often tied to Lifestyle Medicine. To this end, ACLM Past-president David Katz, MD, was asked to spearhead a task force calledHierarchies of Evidence applied with Lifestyle Medicine Task Force (HEaLM). Dr. Katz convened an impressive group of task force members, with the mission to examine whether there may be assemblies of evidence from various methodologies (quantitative, qualitative, or both) that can result in the highest grade rating through a new method: Evidence Threshold Pathway Mapping (ETPM). The project team is conducting a methodological systematic review of current Strength-of-Evidence (SOE) grading systems to lay the foundation for proposing a new tool specific to the field of lifestyle medicine. The net result will inform recommendations for effective, evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine practice.
    • The newExpert Lifestyle Medicine Panel (ELMP), chaired by ACLM Founding President John Kelly, MD, was recently formed, convening some of the foremost experts in the field. Recommendations made by the HEaLM Task Force will be utilized by the ELMP to evaluate what is and is not evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine.
    • Coming in early 2018, ACLM, in partnership with Wellcoaches, will unveil the newLifestyle Medicine Coach Training certificate course. This course will be available to all who have earned their core coach certification through any of the ICHWC member organizations.
    • ACLM’s committees, working groups and task forces are going strong!Click hereto review the complete (for now!) list of opportunities for involvement available to ACLM members.
    • ACLM’s staff is growing and dedicated to serving our ACLM members and doing all in our power to advance the cause of Lifestyle Medicine!

President George Guthrie emphasized in his recent address at ACLM’s annual meeting, “The state of the College is strong.” Indeed, it is, and it’s getting stronger by the day because our tribe is growing in number, in energy, in passion, in commitment and in dedication.

Margarete Mead is often quoted for her profound edict: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Members of ACLM are exactly what Margarete Mead had in mind: committed citizens united in their desire to transform health and redefine healthcare—what the world needs now.

Are you part of the ACLM tribe?If you are, please invite your colleagues to join you. If not, now’s the time!Click herefor details.

Wishing you and yours a blessing-filled holiday season.